Carli Lloyd, United States Top New Zealand in Friendly Ahead of 2019 World Cup

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United States' Tobin Heath, left, is congratulated by teammate Megan Rapinoe after scoring during the first half of an international friendly soccer match against New Zealand Thursday, May 16, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The United States women’s national team continues to build momentum heading toward the World Cup, earning a 5-0 win over New Zealand in an international friendly.

Carli Lloyd scored two second-half goals for the U.S. in Thursday’s victory at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the second of three matches in the Send-Off Series. Tobin Heath also had a big impact with a goal and an assist while Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis scored as well.

With five wins in a row dating back to March, the Americans appear to be peaking at the right time.

There was a bit of a slow start on a hot day, with New Zealand gaining the only shot for either team in the first 20 minutes of action. However, it was one of the only times the U.S. looked vulnerable during the match.

In fact, it ended up being the only shot from New Zealand all game compared to 22 from the United States, per ESPN.

The Americans showed increased urgency from there, gaining more scoring chances with an aggressive approach. They finally broke the tie in the 35th minute when Heath scored on a tap-in:

Of course, most of the credit went to Megan Rapinoe for the incredible pass:

A few minutes later, another great cross from Lindsey Horan led to Lavelle’s goal:

Although it was a tougher finish for Lavelle, the result was the same as the hosts were able to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.

The second half featured several substitutes looking for eventual spots in the starting XI, including Lloyd, Sam Mewis and Ali Krieger. 

Lloyd took advantage with an easy goal in the 61st minute on her first touch of the game just 44 seconds after coming onto the field. Keeping with the theme, it came off a pretty assist from Heath.

With another score in the final few minutes, she now has five goals in her last three games, showing why she needs to get as much playing time as possible in France.

Even with a lead, the Americans remained the aggressor as the match progressed and ensured that the Football Ferns had few opportunities in the final third. The incredible depth was also on display during what became a rout:

There were certainly times, especially in the first half, where the U.S. didn’t look as clean as it could. The team is preparing for the biggest international competition in the sport and the opponents will only get better next month, so every play is under a microscope.

Still, the squad kept the pedal down and appeared dominant against a team that is also headed to France next month.

With this type of performance on a consistent level, the team has a good chance of defending its World Cup title from 2015.

What’s Next?

The United States will face Mexico on May 26 in its final friendly before the World Cup in June. New Zealand will play three more friendlies before heading to France: Mexico on May 22, England on June 1 and Wales on June 4.

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