Connect with us


Sophia Smith unlocks USWNT offense in 3-0 win over Colombia

By Laken Litman
FOX Sports Writer

COMMERCE CITY, Colorado – In their first tuneup match forward of the CONCACAF W Championship, which serves as qualifying for each the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Olympics, the U.S. Women’s National Team on Saturday beat Colombia 3-0.

This was the primary of two friendlies towards Colombia with the second coming Tuesday night time in Salt Lake City (10 p.m. ET on ESPN).

While the U.S. assault was unable to make the most of scoring alternatives in the primary half, in traditional type, they finally wore down Colombia and scored three objectives in the second. Sophia Smith had a brace and Taylor Kornieck added one in her senior nationwide staff debut. 

“The major focus for us can be remaining third mixtures, creating area and executing the alternatives that we create,” coach Vlatko Andonovski mentioned in the postgame relating to what he desires the staff to work on forward of its subsequent sport in three days. 

Here are three takeaways from the match.

First cap, first aim

Midfielder Taylor Kornieck scored in her first senior USWNT cap. The 23-year-old entered the match in the 73rd minute and acquired her head on a Megan Rapinoe free kick to clinch the 3-0 win for the U.S. in stoppage time.

“I used to be so excited, so excited,” Kornieck mentioned after the sport. “I believe the very first thing I mentioned was I can’t really feel my legs. But no, it simply means every little thing to me. It’s been my dream ever since I used to be slightly lady. And scoring wasn’t part of the plan, but it surely’s a superb perk.”

At 6-foot-1, Kornieck is the tallest area participant to ever seem in a USWNT sport, beating out Sam Mewis by one inch. Naturally, this makes her the proper goal in set items. It additionally makes her an ideal type of teammate for Rapinoe to maul in celebration, which is strictly what she did.

“Obviously having a goal like that’s ridiculous,” mentioned Rapinoe, who made her first USWNT look since final October. “I used to be like, no f—ing manner that is gonna occur. Like, first cap? This is ideal. And clearly it was my first sport again in some time, so it was a really particular second for her and a particular second for me as effectively to be part of it.”

Kornieck knew forward of time she would earn her first cap — Andonovski had been completely satisfied together with her coaching this previous week and needed to ensure she performed a couple of minutes in a sport like this forward of qualifying. That did not cease pre-game jitters and nerves from setting in, though Kornieck mentioned a pep discuss from San Diego Wave teammate Alex Morgan helped calm her nerves.

“We needed to offer her minutes to get by some stress, nerves and anxiousness of a primary cap,” Andonovski mentioned. “Because we imagine that we’ll want her after we’re in the event and what we noticed from her is just about what we hope to see from Taylor. Little touches to hurry up the play and dominate in the field and aerial challenges as effectively.”

Attack will get going in second half

It took some time for the U.S. assault to construct chemistry and discover its rhythm. Colombia’s backline sat in, and goalkeeper Catalina Perez performed lights out regardless of harmful scoring alternatives from Smith, Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle.

“It’s irritating, however generally these video games simply take time,” Rapinoe mentioned. “I believe that’s the important thing, particularly in a few of these early [upcoming] CONCACAF video games, to not get pissed off and type of stick with the method, work out the place the area is. It’s not transitional in any respect, so you’ll be able to’t actually get out and run the play. 

“But I nonetheless suppose we have to do quite a bit higher job understanding the place the area is and transferring in teams to unlock that area. Against groups like that, you need to do it as a gaggle.”

When Smith, a Colorado native, scored her first aim in the 54th minute, she fell to her knees and threw up her arms in celebration. And reduction.

“We wanted that first aim to type of get issues going,” mentioned Smith, who performed a full 90 minutes.

Both of Smith’s objectives had been assisted by Lavelle, who doesn’t get sufficient credit score for profitable balls on protection after which creating performs just like the objectives she arrange for Smith.

“I believe Rose was unbelievable,” Andonovski mentioned. “We noticed that after we discover Rose in the areas the place she will be able to course of the ball fast and switch and go ahead, she’s unbelievable. She can break a line on a dribble, she will be able to open up the sport for us and clearly she’s very artistic and has the flexibility to seek out one of many forwards which might be on the sphere in good scoring alternatives.”

Andonovski not frightened about missed PKs

It was a bodily match, which bodes effectively for the U.S. forward of the CONCACAF W Championship (July 4-18). But the U.S. uncharacteristically missed two penalty kicks, with Perez making large saves on photographs from Lindsey Horan and Lavelle.

Andonovski is not frightened although and mentioned Horan and Lavelle are the USWNT’s high decisions to take PKs.

“Yeah, it’s most likely the most effective scoring alternative you’ll be able to have as a staff,” Andonovski mentioned. “But that’s a part of the sport and provides credit score to the goalkeeper. I assumed she did an important job. Two good saves and we’re undoubtedly going to work on that slightly bit extra and we nonetheless imagine that each Lindsey and Rose are superb penalty kick takers.”

Andonovski referenced Lavelle making a vital penalty kick throughout final summer season’s Tokyo Olympics in a dramatic quarterfinal shootout towards the Netherlands, which helped the U.S. advance to the semifinal match.

“I’ve little question they’ll achieve success in the long run,” Andonovski mentioned.

Laken Litman covers faculty soccer, faculty basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She beforehand lined faculty soccer, faculty basketball, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and the Olympics at Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. Her first e book, written in partnership with Rizzoli and Sports Illustrated and titled “Strong Like a Woman,” was revealed in spring 2022 marking the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX.

Get extra from United States Follow your favorites to get details about video games, information and extra.

Source link