USWNT bounces back after shocking loss to dominate New Zealand at Tokyo Olympics

·2 min read

TOKYO — That’s much more like it.

The powerhouse U.S. women’s soccer team scored off a corner kick in the 45th minute of the first half Saturday night to power a 6-1 win against New Zealand at Saitama Stadium.

The Americans rebounded from a shocking 3-0 loss to Sweden on Wednesday, evening their Olympic record at 1-1 going into their group play finale Tuesday against Australia (1-1), a 4-2 loser Saturday to Sweden.

With a win over Australia, the U.S. would advance to the quarterfinals July 30.

Team USA celebrates a goal by midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) during the first half against New Zealand in group G play during the Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA celebrates a goal by midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) during the first half against New Zealand in group G play during the Tokyo Olympics.

“Sweden was a very good team and we didn’t play our best, and when you do that up against a top opponent, they’re going to punish you. So that wasn’t our best performance,” Crystal Dunn said. “I think we came into Game 2 knowing that we don’t go from being a really great team two days ago to not being a great team anymore.”

Rose Lavelle scored first for the U.S. in the ninth minute off a run inside the box and assist from Tobin Heath. But it was the goal late in the first half that alleviated pressure of losing for the first time in 45 Olympic games, particularly after four U.S. goals were disallowed due to offsides.

New Zealand (0-2) nearly scored on a Hannah Wilkinson header in the 42nd minute.

Instead, the U.S. went up 2-0 in the 45th, converting off a Megan Rapinoe corner kick to the far post that Julie Ertz headed back to Lindsey Horan, who put a header past goalie Alyssa Naeher.

The Americans made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute when New Zealand’s Abby Erceg, trying to defend a Carli Lloyd header, scored an own goal.

New Zealand took advantage of some defensive lapses to score in the 72nd minute then the U.S. went back up by three goals in the 80th when Christen Press, a second-half substitute, converted on a pass from Ertz, her second assist.

Press set up Alex Morgan for a final U.S. goal in the 87th minute. New Zealand had another own goal in stoppage time off a Press shot.

“I think we were a little bit more composed, a little bit more patient on the ball this game, and we know it’s going to be challenging chasing that gold medal,” Dunn said. “So we’re not taking anything for granted.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: USWNT crushes New Zealand at Tokyo Olympics after opening loss

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