U.S. rebounds from opening loss with 6-1 win over New Zealand

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SAITAMA, Japan — After a stunning nonaccomplishment successful the opener, the U.S. women’s shot squad vowed to beryllium ruthless against New Zealand.

And they rebounded successful a large way.

The Americans cruised to a 6-1 rout of New Zealand successful beforehand of First Lady Jill Biden astatine the Tokyo Olympics connected Saturday.

With the United States starring 2-0 astatine the break, Biden arrived successful clip to ticker the squad enactment the crippled distant successful the 2nd fractional astatine Saitama Stadium.

The United States was blanked by Sweden 3-0 successful the opener. It was the team’s archetypal nonaccomplishment since January 2019 and snapped a 44-game unbeaten streak. The Americans had not been held scoreless since 2017.

But the Americans vowed to regain power of the tournament. Defender Kelley O’Hara said the United States needed to beryllium “ruthless” against New Zealand.

“Sweden was a precise bully squad and we didn’t play our best, and erstwhile you bash that up against a apical opponent, they’re going to punish you. So that wasn’t our champion performance,” Crystal Dunn said. “I deliberation we came into Game 2 knowing that we don’t spell from being a truly large squad 2 days agone to not being a large squad anymore.”

Rose Lavelle scored disconnected a well-placed walk from Tobin Heath successful the ninth infinitesimal to springiness the United States an aboriginal pb — and the team’s archetypal extremity of the Olympics. Despite the deficiency of goals, the Americans dominated the half, dissimilar their out-of-sorts commencement against the Swedes.

Lindsey Horan scored with a header successful the last moments of the fractional to enactment the United States up 2-0 astatine the break. It was Horan’s 23rd planetary extremity and it came connected her milestone 100th quality for the nationalist team.

Horan called it surreal: Her 100th headdress portion the First Lady looked connected successful an different bare stadium.

“I deliberation my attack going into this crippled — evidently it’s successful the backmost of your caput that you’re getting your 100th headdress — but I didn’t privation that to beryllium a origin today, Horan said. “I deliberation we wanted to get the occupation done and my absorption was doing immoderate I perchance could to assistance the squad win. I’m blessed to get a extremity and yeah, it’s bully to person a instrumentality successful the stands, too.”

It could person been worse for New Zealand but the United States had 4 disallowed goals, each for offside, successful the archetypal half.

An own-goal by Abby Erceg extended the U.S. pb to 3-0 successful the 64th minute. New Zealand avoided the shutout with Betsy Hassett’s extremity successful the 72nd.

Christen Press, who came successful arsenic a second-half substitute, scored from the halfway of the container successful the 80th disconnected a provender from Julie Ertz, earlier Alex Morgan scored successful the last minutes of regulation. Another New Zealand own-goal closed retired the crippled successful stoppage time.

“Look, from our position I thought we had a terrific 80 minutes and unluckily the past 10 minutes benignant of fto america down a small spot connected the scoreline,” New Zealand manager Tom Sermanni said. “From an effort perspective, you can’t responsibility the players, they gave humor sweat and tears connected the tract contiguous to travel up against a precise bully team.”

U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski made 5 changes to the starting lineup helium utilized against Sweden, giving Carli Lloyd the commencement implicit Morgan, Megan Rapinoe for Press, Ertz for Sam Mewis, Emily Sonnett for O’Hara, and Tierna Davidson for skipper Becky Sauerbrunn.

The United States, the reigning World Cup champion, has been to each Olympics since women’s shot joined the lawsuit successful 1996. The world’s top-ranked squad has 5 golden medals, much than immoderate different nation.

The U.S. besides mislaid the archetypal lucifer of the 2008 Beijing Games, falling to Norway 2-0, but went connected to triumph the gold.

Their nemesis astatine the Olympics has been Sweden, which booted the Americans from the Rio de Janeiro Games successful the quarterfinals 5 years ago.

“I deliberation we were a small spot much composed, a small spot much diligent connected the shot this game, and we cognize it’s going to beryllium challenging chasing that golden medal,” Dunn said. “So we’re not taking thing for granted.”

New Zealand mislaid to Australia 2-1 successful its opening lucifer and the Ferns’ chances of reaching the knockout circular grew slim with Saturday’s loss.

New Zealand had not played immoderate matches since March 2020 due to the fact that of coronavirus restrictions.

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