AUCKLAND, New Zealand (July 22, 2023) – The United States Women’s National Team defeated Vietnam 3-0 in the team’s opening match at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Play from forward Sophia Smith and a goal from midfielder and team captain Lindsey Horan led the team to victory in front of a crowd of 41,107, mostly American fans, at historic Eden Park.
The USA improved to 7W-2D-0L all-time in opening games at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and have started each of the last four tournaments with a win. The USWNT has now won 13 consecutive games at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, extending its own record for most consecutive victories in the competition.
The U.S. will now face the Netherlands on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara (1:00 p.m. local / 9:00 p.m. ET on July 26 on FOX, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock) in their second Group E match and will complete group play against Portugal on August 1 again at Eden Park in Auckland/Televox at home, Telemundo, Auckland and Telemundo (7th Peacock).
While Vietnam, one of eight debutants in this year’s tournament and now the 39th nation to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, played tough defense, the United States dominated the game and finished with a 28-0 advantage in shots. Vietnam tackled hard and played in a tight 5-4-1 formation, setting up their defensive third when the USA had the ball.
The game was physical from the jump as a ferocious Vietnam team made itself known with a few fouls. The US got an early scare in just the first minute as striker Trinity Rodman went down hard after a challenge and needed treatment from paramedics before returning to the pitch moments later.
The U.S. created plenty of scoring opportunities and certainly had enough looks on goal to more than double the lead, but never stopped looking for ways to break Vietnam down. With Horan pulling the strings in midfield, the USA created the opening goal in the 14th minute when she received the ball near midfield and played a superb pass to Morgan at the top of the box. Morgan heeled the first pass into Smith’s path as she ran into the left side of the box. Smith then took the touch and fired low with his left foot through the legs of goalkeeper Tran Thị Kim Thanh to score. Her goal was the fastest at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup so far.
After constantly threatening in attack, the U.S. almost doubled their lead in the 44th minute when a VAR review awarded the U.S. a penalty for a foul on Rodman moments earlier. Morgan stepped up to the point, but Tran, who made four saves on the night in an impressive performance, came up with a stop to deny her attempt.
Smith then scored again before the half-time whistle, this time in the seventh of eight minutes of stoppage time in the first half after Vietnam repeatedly tried to waste time. Tran came off the line and punched defender Naomi Girma, but the ball flew straight to Smith just inside the box as the reigning U.S. Women’s Player of the Year once again finished with a left foot through Tran’s legs with Julie Ertz and Morgan interfering in front of the net.
In the 63rd minute, forward and USWNT legend Megan Rapinoe scored her 200th cap after coming on as a substitute for Morgan. Rapinoe, who announced in early July that she would retire at the end of the 2023 NWSL season, will become just the 14th player in US Women’s National Team history to reach that milestone.
The USA ended the game in the 77th minute with a goal from Horan. Horan, captaining the side for the first time at the World Cup, finished with a gentle and powerful shot from the center of the penalty area after a great effort from Smith to take the ball away from a defender on the right side of the penalty area. She then clipped a pass back to Horan who had time to settle and smash her shot past several Vietnam defenders.
At the end of the game, eight US players made their Women’s World Cup debuts – Savannah DeMelo (who also started for the USWNT), Girma, Emily Fox, Andi Sullivan, Smith, Rodman, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson and Sofia Huerta.
USA – Sophia Smith (Alex Morgan) 14 min: Girma controlled the game at the back with a pass to Horan, who played a driving pass from the middle for Morgan at the top of the box. She flicked a back-heel pass to Smith’s first touch as she raced into the left side of the box where she took a touch and finished with a low shot from nine yards. USA 1, VIE 0
USA – Sophia Smith 45+7. min: Goalkeeper Trần ThịKim Thanh came off the line and punched away a cross from defender Naomi Girma but the ball fell straight to Smith just inside the box and she finished with her left foot from 15 yards with her first touch. USA 2, VIE 0
United States – Lindsey Horan (Sophia Smith): Smith did well to fight for the ball on the right wing to win a long pass from Julie Ertz and beat her defender powerfully. Running out of space on the end line, she passed to Horan in the heart of the puck. Horan took a touch and finished with a right-footed strike from 13 yards. USA 3, VIE 0
The USA’s starting lineup to open the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup featured five players who were part of the 2019 USA Women’s World Cup and six players making their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut. The lineup to open the match against Vietnam averaged 27.8 years of age, making it the youngest team to start a World Cup match for the USWNT since 2007. Center Savannah DeMelo made her first career start against Vietnam, becoming the first player in USWNT history to make her World Cup debut – and start a World Cup – in one of her first two caps. Sophia Smith’s goals marked her first career World Cup goals, her 13th and 14th career goals and the first and second goals of 2023. Smith became the 34th USWNT player all-time to score at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The assist was Alex Morgan’s 50th of her career and her fifth all-time at the Women’s World Cup. With Smith’s assist and two goals today, 16 of the USA’s 21 goals in 2023 (76%) have been scored or assisted by a player under the age of 25. At 22 years and 346 days in history, Smith is the youngest player to score in history. in a World Cup match and the youngest since Cat Whitehill in 2003. She is the youngest USWNT player to score multiple goals in her World Cup debut. Smith became the first player to score multiple goals at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. After entering the game in the 75th minute, at 18 years, 257 days old, Alyssa Thompson became the second-youngest player to represent the United States at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the fourth teenager ever to represent the USWNT at the WWC. Lindsey Horan’s goal marked her third career World Cup goal and 28th of her international career. With his assist on Horan, Smith has now recorded assists in back-to-back games, as Rodman set up the opening strike against Wales in the USA’s July 9 telecast. In good news for the USA, midfielder Rose Lavelle came on to earn her first minutes in months and looked sharp, striking the crossbar late on and almost scoring but the ball bounced just in front of the goal line. -U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report-
Game: USA Women’s National Team vs. Vietnam
Date: July 22, 2023
Competitions: 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand; E group
Venue: Eden Park; Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand
Kick-off: 1pm NZT (9pm ET July 21)
Weather: 58 degrees; partly cloudy
Summary of points: 1 2 F
United States 2 1 3
VIE 0 0 0
USA – Sophia Smith (Alex Morgan) 14 min
USA – Sophia Smith 45+7
USA – Lindsey Horan (Sophia Smith) 77
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 23-Emily Fox (3-Sofia Huerta, 84), 4-Naomi Girma, 8-Julie Ertz, 19-Crystal Dunn (5-Kelley O’Hara, 84); 17-Andi Sullivan, 10-Lindsey Horan (Capt.), 9-Savannah DeMelo (16-Rose Lavelle, 63); 11-Sophia Smith, 13-Alex Morgan (15-Megan Rapinoe, 63), 20-Trinity Rodman (7-Alyssa Thompson, 75)
Unused Subs: 2-Ashley Sanchez, 6-Lynn Williams, 12-Alana Cook, 14-Emily Sonnett, 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Aubrey Kingsbury, 22-Kristie Mewis
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
VIE: 14-TRAN Thi Kim Thanh; 17-TRAN Thi Thu Thao, 13-LE Thi Diem My, 2-LUONG Thi Thu Thuong (3-CHUONG Thi Kieu, 61), 4-TRAN Thi Thu, 5-HOANG Thi Loan; 10-TRAN Thi Hai Linh (16-DUONG Thi Van, 90), 23-NGUYEN Thi Bich Thuy (22-NGUYEN Thi My Anh, 62), 11-THAI Thi Thao, 7-NGUYEN Thi Tuyet Dung (21-NGAN Thi Van Su, 46); 9-HUYNH Nhu (cap.) (12-PHAM Hai Yen, 76)
Subs not used: 1-DAO Thi Kieu Oanh, 20-KHONG Thi Hang, 6-TRAN Thi Thuy Nga, 8-TRAN Thi Thuy Trang, 15-NGUYEN Thi Thuy Hang, 18-VU Thi Hoa, 19-NGUYEN Thi Thanh Nha,
Head coach: Duc Chung Mai
Summary statistics: USA / VIE
Shots on goal: 7/0
Summary of Misconduct:
USA – Lindsey Horan (Caution) 56 min
VIA – HUYNH Nhu (Caution) 75
Judge: Bouchra Karboubi (MAR)
Assistant referee 1: Fatiha Jermoumi (MAR)
Assistant referee 2: Soukaina Hamdi (MAR)
Fourth referee: Ivana Martincic (CRO)
VAR: Juan Martinez (ESP)
AVAR 1: Ella De Vries (BEL)
AVAR 2: Michelle O’Neill (IRE)
Visa Player of the Match: Sophia Smith