As they look to win their third consecutive World Cup, the USA ladies got their campaign underway in fine fashion as they beat newcomers to the big stage, Vietnam by a trio of goals. Sophia Smith found the back of the net twice in her World Cup debut, while Lindsey Horan scored for the 28th time in her American shirt with Smith providing the assist.
Many thought that the Americans would annihilate the team ranked 32nd in the world, but it was not to be as the USA failed to capitalize on their dominance as they out-shot their opponents 28 to 0, but with only seven on target. It was a far cry from their humiliation of Thailand at the World Cup opener in France in 2019 where they came out winners by a score of 13-0.
It took the Americans only 14 minutes to take the lead. The chance started as Horan played the ball forward to Alex Morgan, who put it into the path of Smith with a sweet flick-on and the 22-year-old slotted it just inside the far post from about seven yards out.
Morgan was given the opportunity to score her 122nd American goal from the penalty spot after Trinity Rodman was brought down in the box. The USWNT’s most prolific goal-getter made a poor effort that the Vietnamese keeper, Tran Thi Kim Thanh, jumped past but managed to save with her feet. Morgan tried to take advantage of the rebound but this time was denied by Tran Thi Thu.
The miss was soon forgotten when Smith completed her brace minutes later in stoppage time. This time the Colorado native reaped the poor punched clearance by Tran Thi Kim Thanh never left the 18-yard box and ended up at the feet of Smith, who again tucked the ball inside the far post.
In the 77th minute, Horan put the game to bed, scoring for the 28th time in the red, white and blue. Julie Ertz played Smith up the right wing and just inside the box, the Portland Thorn played it back to the number 10, who had time to take a touch, pick her spot and send it into the back of the net.
The American women will next take to the field next on Thursday for a rematch against the Netherlands, who they beat in the 2019 Final to lift their fourth Cup.