The United States Women’s team beat Ireland 2-0 in their first of two international friendlies ahead of the Women’s World Cup. Texas soccer fans were treated to a home team win at the Q2 stadium witnessed a pretty physical match, with Team USA scoring once in both halves to secure the win.
Team USA’s defender, Emily Fox, scored a stunner from outside the box to give her team the lead in the 36th minute. This was the first international goal for the 24-year-old defender. Lindsey Horan was the other scorer, with a clean penalty conversion in the 80th minute of the game.
The U.S. was the first to ask questions of the opposing team’s defense with a controlled attack from the left side. The opportunity came when defender Crystal Dunn crossed the ball into the box aimed at forward Sophia Smith. However, the attack was not decisive as Smith’s attempt went wide of the goal.
Ireland came close to opening their scoring sheet in the 19th minute with a header from the back post that came off a cross; however, forward Alex Morgan made a goal-line clearance that helped the U.S. keep a clean sheet.
Ireland kept possession of the ball after the initial clearance and launched multiple shots on goal that tested the U.S. defense to the limit. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made a remarkable double-save to deny Ireland the goal.
Team USA made their first goal when Sullivan passed the ball to Fox towards the center. The Irish defense scrambled to close her down but failed, as she took two touches to the right and buried the ball deep into the bottom left corner of the goal from 20 yards out.
Just before the half-time whistle, Mallory Swanson picked up a knee injury off a harsh tackle from an Irish defender. First aid was immediately called by the referee, and much to the shock of U.S. fans, the player for taken off the field on a stretcher. Sadly, the injury was the match’s highlight, as it may seriously impact the USA’s world cup campaign.
The match’s second half saw more action, with both teams trying to keep possession and create chances. Julie Ertz was subbed in for Sullivan in the 67th minute, making it her first appearance in 611 days for the international team.
Lindsey Horan earned a penalty in the 80th minute when she was tackled in the box trying to control the ball. The forward took the penalty herself and converted with a power shot into the bottom left corner. The Irish goalkeeper got a hand on the ball but was beaten by the power, making it USA’s second and the game’s final goal. None of the teams created meaningful chances in the remaining 10 minutes of the game.
Team USA ended the game with significantly more chances created and shots on goals than their opponents. Team USA is the Texas sports bookies favorite as the two teams face off again next week.