Sophia Smith’s Brace Leads US to 3-0 Win Against Vietnam in Women’s World Cup Opener.
The United States women’s national team kicked off their pursuit of a third consecutive World Cup title with a dominant victory.
On Saturday, July 22, 2023, at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, during the Women’s World Cup Group E soccer match between the United States and Vietnam, Sophia Smith of the United States celebrated with teammate Crystal Dunn.
New Zealand’s AUCKLAND (AP) — At the Women’s World Cup on Saturday, Sophia Smith stood out for the United States, scoring twice in the first half to help the two-time defending champions defeat tournament newcomers Vietnam 3-0.
The fancied American side, who have already won the World Cup four times, added to the score with a goal from Lindsey Horan. The Americans are aiming for an unprecedented three straight World Cup victories.
Vietnam was compared to Thailand, a team the Americans had thrashed 13-0 in the opening round of the 2019 World Cup. But Vietnam surprised everyone by displaying surprising tenacity and keeping the game tighter than anticipated. Alex Morgan’s first-half penalty shot was stopped thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh. After attempting the rebound following her missed penalty, Alex Morgan was knocked to the field while clutching her calf. However, she displayed resilience and quickly returned to continue playing. This marked only her second penalty miss for the United States, highlighting her proficiency from the spot in the past.
Sophia Smith, one of the 14 Americans making their World Cup debut, demonstrated her tremendous talent and demonstrated why she was chosen both the National Women’s Soccer League MVP and U.S. Soccer’s Player of the Year in the previous year. Smith’s skill was obvious as she scored two significant goals in the first half.
In the 14th minute, she scored her maiden goal, expertly converting a ball from captain Lindsey Horan. Following a carefully rehearsed handshake, the two players celebrated the goal. The United States had a dominating 2-0 lead into halftime as Smith scored once again in first-half stoppage time. A video review proved the goal, which had initially been marked for offside.
After capturing a bronze medal at the Olympics in Tokyo, the U.S. team was strengthened by the addition of young athletes like Smith and Trinity Rodman. Megan Rapinoe, a 38-year-old veteran player, participated in her 200th international game against Vietnam.
Rapinoe did not begin the game, but her outstanding contributions were obvious throughout her career despite the fact that she scored in the World Cup final in France and was awarded the best player of the competition. Before the squad left for New Zealand, she declared that this would be her last World Cup and that she would leave her professional team at the end of the current campaign.
Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, who had been hindered by ailments prior to the competition, came on as replacements in the 63rd minute of the game. Rapinoe drew notice to herself in the game with her strikingly blue hair.
Alyssa Thompson, the team’s youngest player at 18 years old, also entered the game as a substitute in the second half.
Because of a well placed assist from Sophia Smith, Lindsey Horan was able to increase the lead by scoring into an empty net. Before providing the assist, Smith evaded the goalkeeper’s rush with skill. The recently engaged Horan celebrated her accomplishment by giving her ring a kiss.
Trinity Rodman, a young player on the squad and the daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, appeared hurt after falling hard on her back following a tackle by defender Tran Thi Thu, which caused some tension. A stretcher was brought onto the field as Rapinoe warmed up, but Rodman displayed resiliency by rejoining the game shortly after.
The United States and Vietnam met for the first time in the game versus Vietnam. Prior to the competition, Vietnam dropped two exhibition games and was defeated by Spain 9-0 in an exhibition game in Auckland.
The Netherlands and Portugal are also in Group E, and they will play each other on Sunday in Dunedin. Portugal is also launching its apeaeance in the womens world cup.
Group E, which includes the United States, plays all of its matches in New Zealand as the country co-hosts the tournament with Australia. The United States is set to face the Netherlands in a highly anticipated rematch of the 2019 World Cup final on Thursday in Wellington.
If the United States finishes at the top of their group, the team will progress to the round of 16, with the next match taking place in Sydney, Australia.
Back in the United States, a supportive sign was proudly displayed on the North Lawn of the White House, sending a message of encouragement to Team USA with the words, “Go Team USA! We are all behind you.”