Sophia Smith scored twice and had an assist as the U.S. women’s national team defeated Vietnam 3-0 on Saturday to open its quest for history at the Women’s World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand.
Just 14 minutes into her World Cup debut, Smith made it 1-0. She got her brace in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time and Lindsey Horan made it 3-0 in the 77th in the Group E match.
The U.S. is seeking to become the first team, men’s or women’s, to win three consecutive World Cups. The next step is Thursday (local time) against Netherlands in Wellington, New Zealand. The Dutch were the 2019 World Cup runners-up to the USWNT.
The U.S. starting lineup had five players who were part of the 2019 championship squad and six players making their World Cup debut.
Despite the score, it was a frustrating match for the Americans. They were favored by six goals and constantly put goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh under siege. The U.S. produced a 28-0 shot advantage, with Thanh making four saves, including a penalty kick.
Vietnam, ranked 32nd in the world, is one of eight countries playing in their first Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. is 7-0-2 in openers but was stymied until Smith and Alex Morgan combined for the first goal.
Morgan drew several Vietnamese before she flicked the ball ahead to Smith on the left side. Smith took it from there with a left-foot shot to the near post.
In the 44th minute, Morgan’s penalty kick was saved by Thanh after Hoang Thi Loan fouled Trinity Rodman. The play was initially ruled no penalty but was overturned upon video review.
Thanh made the stop with her right foot.
Smith bailed out Morgan just before halftime for the 2-0 advantage, blasting a shot from 15 yards. Morgan was ruled offside, but video review again deemed otherwise.
Horan extended the lead with a shot from the center of the box with Smith providing the setup.
Megan Rapinoe entered in the 63rd minute to become the 14th USWNT player to play 200 games.
The U.S. next faces the Netherlands on Thursday in their second Group E game, a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final, while Vietnam next play Portugal.
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