The United States Women’s National Team again made light work of Russia as they completed their two match series in Texas. The USA won 5-1 in a strong performance across the board after a tight start to the match.
“Whenever you lose a game,” said USA head coach Jill Ellis referring to the She Believes Cup, “you want to get back on track, and reality is this team doesn’t lose very often. The results make you feel good but what do you get from that and where are the pieces? Those are the really important questions for me and where we are. I was happy with the players, and it was good to get so many players in these games… then we can decide on the next squad.”
A penalty gave the United States their first chance of the match as forward Carli Lloyd ran through on goal and was clipped. That allowed her to dust herself of and dispatch the penalty, which the keeper got a hand to, but not enough as the USA took the lead in the 20th minute.
In the 36th minute the United States finally hit their stride and a beautiful through ball gave them their second goal of the match. The ball fell perfectly to midfielder Rose Lavelle who took a touch and calmly sent it home, for her first international goal.
“I was pleased to see Rose’s role,” said Ellis after the match, “it was the first time playing her behind the double nines, and she did well.”
Just one minute later the United States made it three as defender Megan Klingenberg made a run up the left side. That allowed her to square it perfectly for forward Crystal Dunn who easily buried the chance on a volley.
The frantic scoring continued in the 43rd minute when a foul in the box allowed Russia to pull a goal back in to the match. Forward Nadesha Karpova stepped up and sent the penalty right down the middle to make it 3-1.
In first half stoppage time the United States made it four as a corner allowed the USA to swing the ball in. That caught out the Russian defense with Ksenia Kovalenko sending it past her own goalkeeper.
The United States came out from the blocks determined and right after the break they had their fifth goal of the match. Again it was Dunn who scored continuing her phenomenal run of form with
For the Russians the star was undoubtedly their goalkeeper Iuliia Grichenko who saved chance after chance that came her way in the first 15 minutes. That coupled with a strong offside trap kept Russia on level terms, but that did not last long as the United States quickly took charge and Russia threw away goals in batches.
In the closing stages of the match there was a highlight for the Houston public as Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell made her debut. She was eager to get on to the pitch and ran on before the fourth official had given her rights to come off. She laughed it off “I was a little excited,” said Campbell, “I forgot about that rule where the other player had to come off first.”
All Photos in photo album by Eric Guzman