The United States Women’s National Team took the field for the first time in 2023 as they faced 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-host New Zealand inside Sky Stadium in Wellington.
Alyssa Naher started in goal as Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerburnn, Naomi Gira, and Emily Fox comprised the back line. Lindsey Horan, Taylor Kornieck, and Rose Lavelle composed the midfield, while Mallory Swanson, Alex Morgan, and Midge Purce provided the attack.
A golden opportunity came for the US in the 18th minute as Purce drove down the right flank and sent a ball to the middle. After pinballing off a few players, the ball fell to the feet of Horan, who found herself one-on-one with the keeper on the left side of the box.
Horan sent the shot right down the middle as New Zealand’s Erin Nayler dove to her right. Nayler’s feet were in the right place as the ball ricocheted off her legs and away from danger as she kept the US off the score sheet.
The US was awarded a golden opportunity in the 42nd as they won a free kick just yards outside the box. Swanson took the free kick as she lobbed a ball inwards as a sea of black and white uniforms swarmed the box. Horan evaded the pressure, leaped into the air, and tapped the free kick into the net to give the US a 1-0 lead. A lead that quickly dissolved as Horan was in an offside position.
Despite numerous chances throughout the first half, the USWNT entered the locker room at half tied in a scoreless bout.
Four changes came at half for the United States as Andi Sullivan, Sofia Huerta, Alana Cook, and Trinity Rodman came on for Kornieck, Dunn, Girma, and Purce.
Rodman nearly made an instant impact in the 48th as she looked to put a header on frame. Unfortunately, the header was a tad off as it went out for a goal kick.
The United States strung together some good offense in the 52nd minute as Lavelle found Rodman on the right flank. Rodman created some space and lobbed a cross to Swanson, who leaped into the air and headed the ball into the back of the net the first goal of 2023 for the US Women’s National Team.
The ball from @trinity_rodman, the finish from @MalPugh— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 18, 2023
@NBCUniverso / @peacock pic.twitter.com/8PXh84LJ3I
The US found themselves back on the scoresheet in the 60th minute as a Lavelle backheel led Alex Morgan into the box as she slotted a shot past the keeper and into the bottom left corner of the goal to give the US a 2-0 lead.
.@roselavelle @alexmorgan13— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 18, 2023
That was Lavelle’s final act as she was replaced by Ashley Sanchez in the 61st minute.
Swanson secured herself a brace in the 63rd minute as she drove into the box and pulled the goalkeeper off her line. Swanson easily evaded the keeper’s pressure and slotted the ball into an empty net to put the US up 3-0.
✌️ for @MalPugh— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 18, 2023
The final US substitution came in the 67th minute as Lynn Williams came on for Swanson.
Rodman secured a second assist in the 74th minute as she lobbed a cross into the box for Williams, who headed the ball past the keeper and into the net to put the US up 4-0.
.@lynnraenie for a fourth!— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 18, 2023
The USWNT returns to action on Friday, January 20th, as they again take on New Zealand at 10:00 PM ET.