USWNT Puts On A Clinic In Second-Half Rout Of Mexico In World Cup Qualifying

The defending World Cup champion put the hurt on Mexico with a 6-0 win in the Concacaf Women’s Championship opener.

The U.S. women’s national team opened World Cup qualifying with a goal in the second minute against Mexico. The USWNT absolutely dominated the rest of the half without finding another goal.

The second half, though, was another story.

The U.S. women scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half and trounced Mexico 6-0 on the opening day of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship, which doubles as World Cup qualifying, on Thursday in Cary, North Carolina. 

The U.S. went to the top of the Group A standings, ahead of Panama on goal differential (more on Panama’s interesting day below). Group A play returns to action on Sunday with the U.S. playing Panama and Mexico taking on Trinidad and Tobago. Group B play begins Friday with Costa Rica vs. Cuba and Canada vs. Jamaica. 

Thursday night, though, was all Team USA. At least, in the second half. Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan scored two goals apiece in a comprehensive victory. 

The U.S. has only lost one game in World Cup qualifying history. That came to Mexico in 2010. But four years ago the U.S. beat Mexico 3-0 in the semifinals of this tournament and Thursday’s match was closer to the 2014 meeting than 2010.

USWNT vs Mexico Highlights

The U.S. meant business from the opening whistle. Megan Rapinoe directed home the match’s opening goal in the third minute, at which point Mexico hadn’t even completed a pass.

It was the perfect start for the reigning World Cup champions, who utterly dominated the first half. But somehow, the USWNT couldn’t find a second goal in the opening 45 minutes.

Rose Lavelle came closest, hitting the post in the 26th minute.

And Mexico keeper Bianca Henninger made a magnificent save on Rapinoe in the 37th minute.

The U.S. led just 1-0 at the break, despite these staggering statistics. 

The second half, however, was a far different story. 

In the 47th minute, Julie Ertz finally added to the USWNT’s lead, emphatically putting a loose ball in the box following a Rapinoe free kick into the back of the net. 

Just as in the first half, the USWNT scored in the opening minutes of the half. Unlike the first half, they kept scoring.

Alex Morgan made it 3-0 in the 57th minute, heading in a corner kick taken by Rapinoe.

Tobin Heath joined in on the scoring five minutes later with a powerful header on a cross from Crystal Dunn. 

In the 70th minute, it was 5-0 when Rapinoe had a second tap-in goal. It was another set-piece goal for the Americans. 

Morgan completed her brace when Becky Sauerbrunn (a center back, by the way), set up an easy finish for a player who now has 92 goals for the U.S.

Coach Jill Ellis will be ecstatic with her team’s performance against Mexico. The defense was rock solid, not allowing any real good looks from El Tri. Lavelle and Lindsey Horan looked stellar in midfield alongside the always-steady Julie Ertz. The starting trio of forwards combined for five goals. What’s not to like?

Oh, and Lavelle had this lovely bit of tekkers. 

Now the U.S. will look ahead to facing a Panama team that will be high on confidence. 

In the earlier match in Group A on Thursday, Panama routed Trinidad and Tobago 3-0, a surprising result. Trinidad and Tobago reached the intercontinental playoff four years ago before losing to Ecuador, but has been dealing with financial issues this year. 

The most interesting note from the first match was Panama using a 13-year-old defender. Sheyla Diaz didn’t make it into the match, but was on the bench. 

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