The USWNT beat Vietnam 3-0 in their 2023 Women’s World Cup opener at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand as goals from Sophia Smith and Lindsey Horan put the USA team within three points.
Smith opened the scoring for the USWNT in the 14th minute, connecting on a shot from Alex Morgan just outside the box before heading left and sending the ball into the bottom right corner.
Vietnam did well to hold off the American team for so long, but the goal only gave coach Vlatko Andonovski momentum. The team continued to push forward with chances from Julie Ertz, Horan and Morgan but to no avail as Vietnam goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh stopped every shot.
Morgan then had a chance to double the lead, after a foul on Trinity Rodman inside the box awarded the USWNT a penalty in the closing minutes of the first half. But the veteran failed to capitalize on the opportunity and sent the shot straight into Thanh’s hands.
The striker redeemed himself a minute later and gave Smith another ball to hit straight into the net. Despite a moment of thought from the referee about a potential foul, it was deemed good to give the USWNT a 2-0 lead.
After several shots, Horan finally got his goal in the second half with a right-footed volley into the center of the goal as Thanh stepped off the post to make the save.
While the American side dominated and showed boundless individual talent, the team as a whole needs more time to adjust to each other. It felt like 11 talented men on the field instead of one team pushing forward. There were definite moments of unity, especially between Morgan and Smith, but it still doesn’t seem like the iconic USWNT on the field.
Sophia Smith scored two goals on her World Cup debut. / Carmen Mandato/USSF/GettyImages
GK: Alyssa Naeher – 10/10 – Must have had a great time watching from the goal, great view. But was not actually needed as a goalkeeper.
RB: Emily Fox – 8/10 – Great defensive assist, but also did well to press up to get those chances in the final third. A useful asset on the pitch.
CB: Julie Ertz – 6/10 – Still a bit rusty with the ball, a couple of defensive mistakes that Girma cleaned up and a header that went wide.
CB: Naomi Girma – 8/10 – So calm and steady on the ball in times of pressure, an essential figure to have at the back.
LB: Crystal Dunn – 7/10 – She’s a classic. We have seen her attacking more in previous matches, but assisted on the left.
CM: Savannah DeMelo – 8/10 – Like Girma in the back line, DeMelo provides stability in the middle but also pushes forward.
DM: Andi Sullivan – 8/10 – Steady form, a few chances to push forward and instigate a goal chance but simple basics.
CM: Lindsey Horan (c) – 9.5/10 – After several attempts, she finally found the net in the second half. Horan was everywhere on the court to perform as one of the most dynamic players in the game.
RW: Trinity Rodman – 7/10 – Disappointing on his World Cup debut, but that could be nerves. She wasn’t as sharp with the ball and let many opportunities pass her by that she otherwise wouldn’t have done with her spirit.
ST: Alex Morgan – 7.5/10 – Provided two assists to Sophia Smith, but missed the penalty.
LW: Sophia Smith – 10/10 – Two goals and an assist in her World Cup debut. Nothing left to say.
Megan Rapinoe (61′ for Morgan) – 7.5/10 – A few tries, but otherwise silenced by Vietnam.
Rose Lavelle (61′ for DeMelo) – 8/10 – Immediate impact from the creative player. Just small movements on the ball that can change the dynamics of the game. If he is healthy, you should definitely make the next start 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 – Started with a strong starting 11, gave some young players a chance and made the necessary changes when the time came.
Player of the Match – Sophia Smith