The U.S. women’s national soccer team defeated Ireland, 3-0, at the Rose Bowl in its first game since winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup last month, with all the goals coming in the first 41 minutes.
Tobin Heath opened the scoring in the 16th minute Saturday night, heading in a cross from Christen Press, a graduate of Chadwick School on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The assist was Press’ eighth in 2019, the most on the team.
The U.S. increased its lead to 2-0 in the 31st minute when UCLA alumna Samantha Mewis sent a pass through the penalty area toward the left post where Lindsey Horan beat her defender to tap the ball into the wide-open net.
Carli Lloyd headed in Kelley O’Hara’s cross in the 41st minute of the 45-minute first half for the final goal.
The U.S. led 29-2 in shots and 9-0 in shots on goal before a boisterous crowd announced at 37,040 that included retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
Alyssa Naeher and Ashlyn Harris did not need to make a save to record the shutout. Naeher played the first half and Harris the second. Irish goalkeeper Marie Hourihan made six saves.
The victory extended the U.S. winning streak to 14 games and improved its record in 2019 to 15-1-2. The U.S. is 13-0-0 against Ireland.
Mewis left the game in the 60th minute after taking an elbow to the face.
The U.S. played without two of its top players.
Megan Rapinoe, who received the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best overall player and Golden Boot as its top scorer, missed the game because of an inflamed Achilles tendon.
Fellow forward Alex Morgan didn’t play because of what U.S. coach Jill Ellis said was a minor undisclosed injury from the World Cup. Morgan is a Diamond Bar High School graduate whose six goals matched Rapinoe and England’s Ellen White for the most in the tournament.
The game marked the start of a five-game Victory Tour, which also consists of exhibitions against Portugal Aug. 29 in Philadelphia and Sept. 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and against South Korea Oct. 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Oct. 6 in Chicago.
Ireland is 33rd in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. It has never qualified for the World Cup. The U.S. is ranked first.
Ireland is preparing for its qualifying campaign for the 2021 European Women’s Championship, which begins in September against Montenegro.
Its roster consists of nine players who play in Ireland, six in England, three in Germany, one in Portugal and forward Heather Payne, a 19-year-old set to begin play for NCAA champion Florida State on Aug. 22. Payne played the first 68 minutes Saturday.
This was the fifth game for the U.S. women’s national team at the Rose Bowl and the first since Nov. 9, 2002, when it defeated Canada, 2-1, in overtime to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Rose Bowl was the site of the U.S. penalty kick shootout victory over China to win the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, before a crowd announced at 90,185, the most for a FIFA Women’s World Cup game.
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