MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The United States Women’s National Team made history and headlines across the world with a 13-0 drubbing of Thailand.
The United States 13-goal win over Thailand is the largest margin of victory in a women’s or men’s World Cup match.
Forward Alex Morgan stole the show with five goals and three assists. She becomes just the second player in WWC history to net five. Her three assists were the most since 2011.
The ‘Total Football’ style of play that manager Jill Ellis implemented was evident. A total of seven USWNT contributed to the 13-goal score line.
No surprise to USWNT fans, Morgan broke through, for the initial goal of the tournament.
Full-back Kelley O’Hara cut inside on the right and played a feathered cross, off he back foot, to the far-post. Morgan rose up and effortlessly headed O’Hara’s cross past Thailand goalkeeper, Sukanya Chor Charoenying.
The United States were hungry for a second and eight minutes later they broke through again. Morgan demonstrated her hold-up striker play and drew two Thailand defenders. The move opened up space and Morgan dinked in a pass to midfielder Rose Lavelle. The midfielder connected with her left foot and sent the ball flying into the left corner of the net.
They scored the final goal of the first half 12 minutes following Lavelle’s long-range strike. Right-winger Tobin Heath fired in a driven pass, from a free-kick position, on the edge of the box. Her pass took a deflection off Samantha Mewis and Lindsey Horan scored with a powerful close-range strike.
The USWNT went into the half with 100 percent of the momentum and their quality of play only increased in the second half.
Rapinoe found space in the midfield and found Mewis with room to work on the edge of the box. Mewis unleashed a shot and the ball deflected off a Thailand defender and into the net.
Over the course of the next six minutes the USWNT demonstrated the blue print on how to overwhelm and break apart an opponent.
In the 53rd minute, Heath displayed her ability to cross from a free-kick position. She whipped in a free-kick from 40 yards out and the cross deflected into a dangerous area. The poacher, Morgan was waiting at the back post and scored her second of the match to increase the score to 5-0.
A mere 70 seconds later, the U.S. scored a sixth goal. Left-back Crystal Dunn curled in a cross from the left flank and Lavelle attempted a volley. Her shot was deflected and Mewis finished the play with a goal at the back post.
Dunn once again showed her effectiveness with a run from the back to draw the Thailand back-line out of position. She beat two defenders and slotted a pass into the box. Mewis made a quick first-time pass to the center of the box and Lavelle scored a low driven shot to increase the lead to 7-0.
The pace of the match somewhat slowed for the next 15 minutes. Ellis made a change of tactics and subbed on Carli Lloyd, Christen Press and Mallory Pugh.
The U.S. scored the eighth goal of the match thanks to the inspired play of substitute Press. The 30-year-old forward drew two defenders 28 yards from goal which created space in the box. Morgan took advantage of the space and Press connected with her run. Morgan quickly turned in order switch the ball onto her strong foot and smashed her shot into the opposite bottom-corner.
Most teams up teams up 8-0, with 15 minutes to play, would pull off of the accelerator and see out the remainder of the match.
The USWNT is not one of these teams, they have a predator mentality and Thailand were the prey.
Rapinoe finally opened her 2019 WWC account with a goal under two minutes after Morgan scored a hat-trick.
Substitute, Mallory Pugh, in her first WWC match, slotted in a grounded cross from the right flank. Her pass tricked all the way through to the other side of the box and Rapinoe finished off the play with a first-time strike at the back post. The sheer relief and delight was evident on the forwards face as she celebrated with teammates on the sideline.
Pugh continued to impress after her assist and netted a goal of her own three minutes later. The WWC debutant received a pass from Morgan, took a touch past the goalkeeper and slotted a shot into the open net.
Up 11-0, the USWNT continued to play as if they were competing in the World Cup Final.
Morgan finished off her five-goal performance three minutes before stoppage time. She flicked the ball around a Thailand defender and scored with her subsequent touch.
Minutes later, in the second minute of stoppage time, Lloyd scored the 13th goal in this historic match.
Once again, Morgan provided the assist through her hold-up play. She slotted a pass into the run of Lloyd whose shot sailed into the bottom-right corner.
The USNWT get to relish on this historic victory for a few days before their second match of group play.
The team is back in action Sunday, June 16 against Chile.
Written by: Caleb Hilliard