Sports

Women’s World Cup 2023: USA opens quest for third straight title with victory over Vietnam


As expected, it was all USA on Friday night (or Saturday afternoon if you were at the game).

The scoreboard didn’t look like it, but there’s a reason why sportsbooks didn’t even allow bettors to place wagers on the USWNT in their first Women’s World Cup game.

The USA took down Vietnam, 3-0, late Friday night in Auckland, New Zealand as they began their quest for a threepeat.

Sophia Smith found the back of the net in the 14th minute with her left foot to open up the scoreboard, and it would take a while for the U.S. to score again – Alex Morgan’s penalty kick in the 44th minute was even saved to keep it a one-goal game, but Smith scored again just before the half to put the United States up two.

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Sophia Smith and Crystal Dunn

Sophia Smith #11 of the United States celebrates scoring with Crystal Dunn #19 and Savannah DeMelo #9 during the first half of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group E match between USA and Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images)

Although it was hardly an onslaught on the scoreboard early, the States narrowly missed goals several times in the first half, and they were still clearly the better squad. Vietnam had possession just 34% of the time completing 53% of their passes – the U.S. finished 82% of its dishes in the first half.

USWNT celebrates goal

USA midfielder Lindsey Horan (10) celebrates with forward Megan Rapinoe (15) and midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) after scoring a goal in the second half of a group stage match in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at Eden Park.  (Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports)

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It was more of the same in the second half, as well. It was far from their cleanest game on the pitch, but thankfully for them, it was a bit of a tuneup – Georgia versus The Citadel, if you will.

After captain Lindsay Horan scored the team’s third goal of the day in the 77th minute, she went up to a nearby camera and showed off the US Soccer logo on her jersey.

The United States recorded 28 shots, seven of them on target – Vietnam didn’t have any.

In all, the USWNT held possession 66% of the time and completed 79% of its passes – Vietnam’s pass accuracy was just 49%. The U.S. outcornered Vietnam, 9-0.

Realistically, the scoreboard could have, and should have, looked a bit different – but a win is a win, and it’s a good start.

Sophia Smith and Lindsey Horan

Sophia Smith #11 of the United States celebrates scoring with Lindsey Horan #10 during the first half of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group E match between USA and Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images)

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The USWNT is back in action on Wednesday when they take on The Netherlands at 9 p.m. – they will end group play on Aug. 1 against Portugal – set your alarms for the 3 a.m. start.


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