The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) continued their World Cup winning streak with a 3-0 win over Chile in front of 45,594 fans at Parc des Princes in Paris on Sunday. Carli Lloyd had another record-setting day, scoring a brace that bookended a Julie Ertz set-piece goal.
With the win, the U.S. remain atop the Group F standings and automatically advance to the Round of 16.
The U.S. entered the game looking much different than in their opening match against Thailand. Head Coach Jill Ellis made seven changes to the lineup, including a completely different front three consisting of the USWNT’s three subs against Thailand: captain Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, and Mallory Pugh. Julie Ertz, who played center back against Thailand, was pushed back up into the midfield which also saw Morgan Brian start in place of Sam Mewis.
Becky Sauerbrunn, out with a quad issue for the Thailand match as a precautionary measure, returned to the U.S. backline, along with Ali Krieger at right back and Tierna Davidson making her World Cup debut at left back. With the start, Davidson is the youngest player to start for the USWNT in a World Cup since Tiffany Roberts in 1995.
Ellis also used her substitutions during the match to rotate in the last of the U.S. field players to take the field, giving Jessica McDonald, Allie Long, and Emily Sonnett their World Cup debuts as well.
Despite the lineup changes, the U.S. were still the dominant side throughout the duration of the match. The reigning World Cup champions entered the match just as eager to score as they were in their tournament opener. In the opening minutes of the match, Davidson took a U.S. set piece, but Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who plays club ball for Paris Saint Germain, punched the ball clear. However, she didn’t get a good touch on the ball, which fell right to Morgan Brian in front of goal, but the midfielder skied her shot.
Moments later, Brian made a run just inside the far side of the box before sending in a low cross intended for Lloyd, but it was disrupted by a Chilean defender’s touch. That touch nearly resulted in an own goal, but Endler was able to make the stop. Lloyd was right there and attempted to knock in the rebound and was successful in sneaking it past Endler, but the keeper was able to turn and jump on the ball before it crossed the goal line.
A pregame shot of Lloyd in the tunnel showed that the veteran midfielder entered the match visibly hungry to score, and it only took her 11 minutes to curb that hunger. Center back Abby Dahlkemper sent a long ball in front of goal, but Chile’s defense got there first. However, the clearance attempt sailed right to Lloyd, who volleyed the ball past Endler for the U.S.’s opening goal.
With the goal, Lloyd set a new Women’s World Cup record for scoring in six consecutive World Cup matches. After her usual jubilant celebration, Lloyd did a quiet golf clap, a not-so-subtle response to the criticism surrounding the USWNT’s goal celebrations in the 13-0 win over Thailand.
Chile looked to have gotten on back because of a goalkeeper blunder in the 23rd minute when they were awarded a free kick within striking distance. Chile sent the ball in, luring Naeher off her line in attempts of collecting the bouncing ball, but she failed to get a hand on the ball, possibly distracted by an impending collision with defender Carla Guerrero. As Naeher and Guerrero both hit the ground, the ball rolled into a wide open goal, seemingly for a Chilean equalizer. Luckily for Naeher and her U.S. teammates, the offside flag went up, preventing Chile from bringing the score back level.
Instead, it was the U.S. that struck next through Julie Ertz, who doubled the U.S.’s lead in the 26th minute off a corner kick sent in by Davidson. With her back to the goal, Ertz headed the ball just inside the near post with a shot that Endler was able to get a hand on but not enough to stop. The goal is the first World Cup goal for Ertz, although the defender-turned-midfielder scored an own goal in the 2015 final against Japan.
Lloyd got her second goal of the day and Davidson her second assist off another U.S. corner kick from the far corner the 36th minute. Davidson used her left foot to send another flawless ball into the box, and Lloyd took to the air to head the ball down, bouncing it past Endler and and into the back of the net to complete the brace. With her 10th career World Cup Goal, the nearly 37-year-old Lloyd set another record by becoming the oldest player to score twice in a Women’s World Cup.
The USWNT entered halftime sitting on a comfortable 3-0 lead. Many fans were expecting another second-half onslaught of goals for the U.S., pointing out that they entered the second half of their match against Thailand with the same scoreline. However, that would not be the case on Sunday.
Although the U.S. seemed to move the ball more effectively in the second half and created a number of solid opportunities on goal, they failed to make it past Endler again as the former University of South Florida goalkeeper made a number of world-class saves to keep the USWNT from extending their lead in the start of the second half.
In the 55th minute, Christen Press made a run down the far side and was hit in stride by a diagonal pass from Brian, only to cut back the pass in front of goal for Horan, but the midfielder’s strike was cleared from the line with a kick save by Endler, who again denied Press in the 66th minute.
The woodwork also played a role in preventing the U.S. from getting on the board in the second half, first denying a curling attempt from second-half substitute Jess McDonald before denying Lloyd of a third goal in the 72nd minute.
A hat trick seemed to be all but a given for Lloyd after the USWNT were controversially awarded a penalty kick in the 80th minute after Allie Long was fouled at the very top of the box. After the official consulted Video Assistant Referee (VAR), she pointed to the spot, and Lloyd stepped up to take the penalty kick. Facing off against Endler one-on-one, Carli attempted to complete another World Cup-hat trick, but she sent her low shot wide of the far post.
Of some concern to the USWNT is that both Lindsey Horan and Allie Long picked up yellow cards in the match. According to World Cup rules, players who pick up two yellow cards will face a one-game suspension. With Sweden looming on the horizon, Horan especially will need to be careful so as to not pick up a second booking just before the elimination round begins.
The USWNT will next close out group play against Sweden on Thursday, June 20 at 3 p.m. ET.