They’ve doubled the lead on a sweet drive from Rose Lavelle in the 20th minute. The U.S. is very in charge in every facet of the game. They’ve attempted eight shots, completed 119 passes and have controlled the ball 75 percent of the game, according to FIFA match stats.
The Americans have dominated since the opening kickoff, and it didn’t take them long to get on the board. In the 12th minute, Kelley O’Hara pushed a ball out in front of her into the Thailand 18-yard box, then chipped a soft cross in front of the goal mouth. Alex Morgan was waiting there unmarked, and her header was unchallenged.
And we’re off
The United States will start with the ball to begin the defense of its third World Cup title.
American lineup announced
The Americans will be diminished at the back line. Center back Becky Sauerbrunn is out with a mild quadriceps injury the team said is “totally precautionary.” Up-and-coming midfielder Samantha Mewis joins Tuesday’s starting lineup in midfield, and Julie Ertz shifts to center back.
The question is, will it matter against a Thailand side ranked 34th in the world?
The Outlaws have arrived
American fans have made the trip to France, and are ready for the Yankees to finally get on the pitch.
The top-ranked U.S. women’s national soccer team has won the World Cup three times and Olympic gold four times. But its earliest exit in major competition, during the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals against Sweden, has helped motivate a squad with enough depth and experience to field two quality teams.
And yet the eager Americans were forced to wait through the early days of this tournament. The United States will take on Thailand on Tuesday in Reims, France; they’re the last teams to play a group match.
“We’re feeling left out,” forward Alex Morgan joked Monday.
Thailand is back on the world stage after debuting in Canada four years ago; it’s ranked No. 34 in the world. The U.S. is expected to easily handle both this game and Sunday’s against No. 39 Chile before its Group F finale next week against Sweden.
If the Americans have a vulnerability, it’s in the back. In the run-up to the tournament, the Americans conceded a dangerous number of opportunities — they almost dare opponents to commit players forward and leave themselves exposed to a U.S. counter. The goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, has never played in a World Cup or the Olympics.
But any perceived weaknesses are overshadowed by the power of a program that has raised more trophies than anyone in women’s soccer annals. The Americans are not heavy favorites, as they have been in the past, before much of the rest of the world started to embrace the women’s game. But they remain front-runners nonetheless.
When: Tuesday, 3 p.m. Eastern.
Where: Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France.
TV: Fox, Telemundo.
Streaming: Fox Sports.
Next: The U.S. plays Chile in Paris on Sunday. Thailand faces Sweden in Nice on Sunday. Sweden and Chile will meet Tuesday at noon Eastern in Rennes.
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Rather than wait until after the global quadrennial, the defending World Cup champions chose the run-up to the tournament to pick up a megaphone and shout, via a 25-page legal complaint, that they are being treated unfairly because of their gender. Despite doing essentially the same job as the U.S. men’s national team, the suit states, they are receiving inferior wages, working conditions and investment in their game from U.S. Soccer. And it isn’t fair to them, isn’t fair to the women who preceded them on the U.S. national team and isn’t fair to the girls who will follow them. (Read more)
Despite the absence of great fanfare in Paris, the Women’s World Cup does seem poised for a breakout moment. Globally, the sport has gained greater acceptance, as seen in attendance figures and general interest. Last month, about 5 million people in France (7.5 percent of the population) watched the roster announcement. And yet this tournament comes at a rebellious time. The defending champion Americans are suing their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming gender discrimination. The Australian players’ union, among others, is calling for increases to the prize money, which is dwarfed by the payout given to men’s teams. The world’s best player, Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, is boycotting the tournament over what she says is mistreatment of the women’s program by the country’s soccer leaders. (Read more)
No doubt, the best female soccer players in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Ghana, the United States and other nations will inspire — if that’s what “shine” means. And they will do so wholeheartedly. But inspiring little girls isn’t all the women in the 2019 World Cup will do. They are athletes first. A slogan that reduces the 2019 Women’s World Cup to a Hallmark greeting card sends a message both tired and tin-eared. (Read more)