If Thursday’s international soccer expo between the women’s teams of the United States and Mexico – the first of two Send Off Series games between the two in East Hartford – was a final warm-up, a final litmus test before this month’s Tokyo Olympics, the home country has with flies passed colors.
On a rainy Rentschler field, the USA defeated their rivals in the south 4-0 in front of 21,637 fans. The two will play again on Monday at 5 p.m.
Massachusetts-born Samantha Mewis scored the goal for the US in the 21st minute after an assist by her sister Kristie, and Christen Press scored 18 minutes later to give the Red-White-Blue a two-goal lead at halftime .
The Mewis-Mewis connection marked the first time in USWNT history that anyone scored an assist for their sister.
“We all know how good Sam’s shot is,” said Kristie Lewis. “I just gave it to her and I kind of knew that if I passed it on, she would just take a touch and score. She texted me before the game and said, ‘If we have a sister-sister goal, we have to bump our chests afterwards.’ Of course it happened and I had to remind her, ‘Sam, Sam’. It’s hilarious that it happened this way.
“I kind of felt like she was going to achieve that.”
The four-time Olympic champion from the USA kept his lead constant in the second half and expanded it in the 74th minute. Tobin Heath, who had just come on 52 seconds earlier, scored a third goal well outside the box. Heath made an impression so quickly that she wasn’t even on the field long enough for the announcer to introduce her to the game before she scored a goal.
Heath, gold medalist in 2008 and 2012, had not played since December with an ankle injury. It took less than a minute for her to return to make an impact.
“It was huge,” said Heath. “I didn’t know if I was going to go back to this place and it obviously took a lot of work and patience and, frankly, a lot of help. I have many people, whom I can be grateful to, who have helped me on my way. “
The story goes on
Press scored a fourth and final goal in the 74th minute.
There were also missed opportunities for more goals: Megan Rapinoe missed and an outside shot in the 12th minute that went just over the crossbar. In the 50th minute, a wide-open Alex Morgan headed a ball that went just over the goal. Rapinoe bounced a shot off the post in the 71st minute.
The US dominated Mexico in all facets of the game; Mexico shot 29: 5 (7: 1 on goal), overtook Mexico with 59% to 41% and was more precise when passing the ball (83% to 71% percent).
Alyssa Naeher from Stratford started online for the USA and threw a 45-minute shutout before she was substituted for Adrianna French. Naheher, 2015 and 2019 world champion, plays professionally for the Chicago Red Stars.
“Both are very good goalkeepers,” said head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “Alyssa, there is no way we have any problems with her. I think it’s amazing. I’m pretty sure we’ll keep them in goal in the coming games. … we felt that this was a good opportunity to throw [French] in the game.”
The US women, the top team in the FIFA world rankings, will open the Olympic group game against Sweden on July 21 at 4:30 am EDT at Tokyo Stadium. You will play against New Zealand (July 24th) and Australia (July 27th) the following week.
“A dream will come true, to be honest,” said Kristie Mewis, who appeared in her 25th game for the national team on Thursday and has so far played in a World Cup or an Olympic tournament. “These players have won so much, they have achieved so much, they are so successful on and off the field. I really look up to each and every one of them. “
Shawn McFarland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.