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USWNT Beat Nigeria 4-0 In Kansas City

In its return to action for the first time since qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2024 Paris Olympics, the USWNT earned a 4-0 victory over Nigeria in front of a  boisterous crowd of 14,502 at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City.

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In the first of two friendlies between the USA and the Super Falcons, U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski started the same XI that defeated Canada 1-0 in the title game of the Concacaf W Championship title in mid-July.

The USA, which outshot Nigeria 14-8, put their opponents under pressure from the opening whistle and by the time the first water break arrived midway through the opening half, the Americans had a 2-0 lead thanks to forward Sophia Smith scoring on a breakaway and midfielder Lindsey Horan converting off a Smith feed in the right side of the penalty area. Smith would tack on a second strike in first half stoppage time, giving the USA a commanding 3-0 advantage going into the break.

Emily Fox (19) crosses the ball against Nigeria defender Michelle Alozie (12) during the second half. Photo: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Second Half

Soon after the teams began the second half, forward Mallory Pugh raced into the Super Falcons’ penalty box on the left side where she was fouled by Nicole Payne. Forward Alex Morgan dispatched the resulting penalty with aplomb in the 52nd minute to provide what would be the final margin of victory. It was Morgan’s fourth career goal from the penalty spot for the USA.

Andonovski then turned to his bench to keep the players fresh in the KC heat. In the 64th minute, forward Midge Purce came on for Smith, forward Megan Rapinoe replaced Pugh and midfielder Ashley Sanchez came on for Horan. A second set of subs entered in the 70th minute as midfielder Ashley Hatch entered in place of Morgan, midfielder Kristie Mewis subbed on for Rose Lavelle and defender Hailie Mace, she of the local NWSL side Kansas City Current, took over for Emily Fox. It was Mace’s fourth career cap and first since 2018.

The strong display from the USA earned the team its ninth consecutive clean sheet which ties the third-longest shutout streak in program history and sets up the teams’ rematch at Audi Field in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Sept. 6 (6 p.m. ET; ESPN2). A capacity crowd is expected for that match, the USWNT’s first-ever at Washington, D.C.’s soccer-specific stadium.

Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe (15) leaps for the ball as Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie (16) defends. Photo: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 8-Sofia Huerta, 3-Alana Cook, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 19-Emily Fox (5-Hailie Mace, 70); 17-Andi Sullivan, 10-Lindsey Horan (2-Ashley Sanchez, 64), 16-Rose Lavelle (22-Kristie Mewis, 70); 9-Mallory Pugh (15-Megan Rapinoe, 64), 13-Alex Morgan (7-Ashley Hatch, 70), 11-Sophia Smith (23-Midge Purce, 65)

Substitutes not used: 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Aubrey Kingsbury, 6-Savannah DeMelo, 12-Naomi Girma, 14-Sam Coffey, 20-Taylor Kornieck

Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski

NGA: 16-Chiamaka Nnadozie; 12-Michelle Alozie, 3-Osinachi Ohale (11-Akudo Ogbonna, 76), 4-Glory Ogbonna (5-Blessing Demehin, 56), 7-Toni Payne; 6-Uchenna Kanu (8-Rofiat Adenike Imuran, 46), 19-Deborah Abiodun (17-Nicole Payne, 46), 13-Christy Ucheibe, 2-Gift Monday (10-Amanda Mbadi, 46); 15-Rasheedat Ajibade (Capt.), 9-Ifeoma Onumonu (14-Vivian Ikechukwu, 65)

Substitutes not used: 1-Christy Ohiaeriaku, 18-Onyi Echegini, 20-Esther Onyenezide

Head coach: Randy Waldrum

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