The US women’s national team triumphed 3-0 against Vietnam in their 2023 Women’s World Cup opener at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand as goals from Sophia Smith and Lindsey Horan propelled the American side to three points.
Smith opened up the scoring for the USWNT in the 14th minute, connecting with a flick from Alex Morgan just outside the box before heading to the left and sending the ball to the lower right corner.
Vietnam did well in holding off the American side for that long, but the goal only gave head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s side momentum. The team continued to push forward with chances from Julie Ertz, Horan and Morgan but to no avail as the Vietnam goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh stopped every shot.
Morgan then had the opportunity to double the score, after a foul on Trinity Rodman inside the box awarded the USWNT a penalty in the final minutes of the first half. But the veteran failed to convert the opportunity, sending the shot straight into Thanh’s hands.
The forward redeemed herself minutes later, supplying Smith with another ball to strike right into the back of the net. Despite moments of deliberation from the referee on a potential offside call, it was deemed good to propel the USWNT to the 2-0 lead.
After several shots, Horan finally got her goal in the second half with a right-footed rocket into the center of the goal as Thanh stepped away from the post for an earlier save.
Though the American side dominated, displaying boundless individual talent, the team as a whole needs more time to adjust to one another. It felt like 11 talented figures on the field, instead of one team pushing forward. There were specific moments of unity, especially between Morgan and Smith, but this still doesn’t seem like the iconic USWNT on the field.
GK: Alyssa Naeher – 10/10 – Must’ve had a phenomenal time watching from the goal, a great view. But wasn’t actually needed as a goalkeeper.
RB: Emily Fox – 8/10 – A great defensive aid, but also did well pressing up to get those opportunities in the final third. A useful asset on the pitch.
CB: Julie Ertz – 6/10 – Still quite rusty with the ball, a few defensive errors that were cleaned up by Girma and a header that went wide.
CB: Naomi Girma – 8/10 – So calm and steady on the ball in times of pressure, a necessary figure to have at the back.
LB: Crystal Dunn – 7/10 – She’s a classic. We’ve seen her attack more in previous matches, but aided on the left.
CM: Savannah DeMelo – 8/10 – Like Girma in the backline, DeMelo provides stability in the midfield while also pushing forward.
DM: Andi Sullivan – 8/10 – A stable figure, a few chances to push forward and inspire a goal-scoring opportunity but a simple staple.
CM: Lindsey Horan (c) – 9.5/10 – After several attempts, she finally got her goal in the second half. Horan was everywhere on the pitch to stand as one of the most dynamic players of the match.
RW: Trinity Rodman – 7/10 – Disappointed in her World Cup debut, but it may be the nerves. She wasn’t as sharp with the ball, and let a lot of opportunities pass by she wouldn’t otherwise with the Spirit.
ST: Alex Morgan – 7.5/10 – Provided Sophia Smith with the two assists, but failed to make the penalty.
LW: Sophia Smith – 10/10 – Two goals and an assist in her World Cup debut. Nothing left to be said.
Megan Rapinoe (61′ for Morgan) – 7.5/10 – A few attempts, but otherwise muted by Vietnam.
Rose Lavelle (61′ for DeMelo) – 8/10 – Immediate impact from the creative player. Just little moves on the ball that can change the dynamic of the play. If fit, should definitely make the next starting 11.
Alyssa Thompson (75′ for Rodman) – N/A
Kelley O’Hara (83′ for Dunn) – N/A
Sofia Huerta (83′ for Fox) – N/A
Vlatko Andonovski- 8/10 – Kicked off with a strong starting 11, giving chances to a couple of young players and made the necessary adjustments when it was time.