A brace from US soccer’s new superstar Sophia Smith and a late goal from Lindsay Horan were enough to give the reigning champions a dream start as they embark on a historic World Cup campaign.
USWNT is chasing a third straight World Cup and could not have asked for a better start, dominating from the start before Smith opened the scoring 14 minutes into his World Cup debut.
Horan found Alex Morgan through the Vietnam midfield before Morgan’s brilliant flick beat Smith and the 22-year-old’s slotted left-foot finish easily found the back of the net.
Sophia Smith was the player of the match in USWNT’s win.
In the midst of early American dominance, there was a brief prominence for the underdog.
After a VAR review, the USWNT was awarded a penalty after a foul on Trinity Rodman. Morgan advanced, but the Vietnam goalkeeper Kim Thanh made a brilliant save to deny the Trần Thị Trần Thị striker, sparking jubilant celebrations from the Vietnamese side.
In first-half stoppage time, Smith scored again to double the USWNT’s advantage. The Portland Thorns forward squeezed the ball into the net – albeit with a far worse effort than his opener.
As chances came and went for the USWNT, it took more great work from Smith to extend the lead. He got a ball over the Vietnam defense and squared a pass to Horan, who smashed the ball into an open net.
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Lindsay Horan made it 3-0 with an assist from Smith.
“It’s really exciting. Every minute of that game was fun, the crowd was amazing, I think it’s a good place to start this tournament, but I know we have a lot more to achieve,” Smith told reporters.
“We’re going to celebrate this for a second, but let’s focus on the next game,” the man of the match concluded.
For head coach Vladko Antonovski, the USWNT played better than the score line.
“I wouldn’t say I expected more goals, but with the way we played and the chances we created I definitely wanted to see more goals and I thought we deserved to score more goals,” he said.