Mor­gan, U.S. rout Thai­land

Ties record with 5 goals

The News-Times - - SPORTS -

REIMS, France — Alex Mor­gan tied a tour­na­ment record with five goals and the de­fend­ing cham­pion

U.S. na­tional team opened the Women’s

World Cup with a his­toric 13-0 rout of Thai­land on Tues­day night.

Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle each added a pair of goals for the United States, which broke the record for goals and mar­gin of vic­tory in a World Cup game. Lind­sey Ho­ran, Me­gan Rapi­noe, Mal­lory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also scored. The pre­vi­ous record mar­gin was Ger­many’s 11-0 vic­tory over Ar­gentina in

2007.

Mor­gan tied Michelle Ak­ers’ record for World Cup goals, set in the quar­ter­fi­nals against Tai­wan in

1991.

“We re­ally just came into the game re­ally want­ing to show­case our­selves,” Mor­gan said. “Ev­ery goal mat­ters in this tour­na­ment and that’s what we were work­ing on.”

Asked re­peat­edly about the lop­sided score, U.S. coach El­lis won­dered if a

10-0 vic­tory in a men’s

World Cup would elicit the same ques­tions.

“Get­ting off on the right foot is im­por­tant,” El­lis said. “But we also feel like we’ve got more to do. So were go­ing to stay hum­ble and go back to work.”

The two teams were the last to kick­off in the group stage for the month­long tour­na­ment. Host France opened the World Cup be­fore a sell­out crowd in Paris on Friday night with a 4-0 vic­tory over South Korea.

Ranked No. 1 in the world, the Amer­i­cans had dropped only one match in their pre­vi­ous 38, a loss to France in Le Havre in Jan­uary. The team is 7-1-2 over­all this year, with six straight wins go­ing into the World Cup and its seven

dif­fer­ent scor­ers against Thai­land set a record for most in a Women’s World Cup game.

The last time the Amer­i­cans played on the world’s big­gest stage, Lloyd had a hat trick in the first 16 min­utes and the United States beat Ja­pan 5-2 in Canada for the tro­phy.

The U.S. pounced early against Thai­land, too, on Mor­gan’s header in the 13th minute off Kel­ley O’Hara’s pre­cisely placed cross. Mewis, Lavelle and Ho­ran were all mak­ing their World Cup de­buts.

“When you get a del­uge of goals like that, it’s a good feel­ing. It builds con­fi­dence,” said El­lis.

Thai­land, ranked No. 34 in the world, was clearly out­matched even though the team has shown progress on the world stage. Mak­ing its World Cup de­but in 2015 four years ago,

Thai­land fin­ished third in its group but earned its first win, a 3-2 vic­tory over Ivory Coast.

At the fi­nal whis­tle, Lloyd and Christen Press were seen con­sol­ing the Thai­land goal­keeper. Mor­gan put her arm around Thai­land’s Mi­randa Nild, who was wip­ing away tears on the pitch. Nild and Mor­gan both played col­lege soc­cer for the Cal­i­for­nia Golden Bears.

“They were dis­ap­pointed of course, they in­tended to make an im­pres­sion in this first match and they were dis­ap­pointed,” coach Nuen­gru­tai Srathong­vian said. “Yes they are ath­letes and they will be re­silient.”

The World Cup comes at a time that fe­male play­ers across the globe are seek­ing bet­ter treat­ment and pay. The U.S. na­tional team has long cham­pi­oned equal rights, and play­ers col­lec­tively filed a law­suit ear­lier this year that al­leges dis­crim­i­na­tion by the U.S. Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion and are seek­ing pay equitable with that of the men’s na­tional team.

The play­ers say the law­suit is on hold while they’re in France.

El­lis made some lineup moves for the match in the ab­sence of de­fender Becky Sauer­brunn, who the team said was held out as a pre­cau­tion with a mi­nor quad in­jury.

Julie Ertz was moved to the back­line for Tues­day night’s game and Mewis got the start in the mid­field.

Sauer­brunn, at her third World Cup, was a steady­ing force for the U.S. de­fense in Canada when the U.S. went

540 min­utes with­out con­ced­ing a goal.

Mor­gan, U.S. Soc­cer’s

2018 Player of the Year has

106 in­ter­na­tional goals.

Fran­cois Mori / As­so­ci­ated Press

The United States’ Me­gan Rapi­noe, right, con­grat­u­lates team­mate Alex Mor­gan af­ter Mor­gan scored her fifth goal dur­ing a World Cup match against Thai­land on Tues­day in Reims, France.

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