USWNT beats Australia 3-0 as Ashley Hatch scores first international goal
SYDNEY – Forward Ashley Hatch scored just 24 seconds into the match with her first international goal, midfielder Rose Lavelle scored early in the second half and Lindsey Horan converted a penalty kick to propel a new-look U.S. Women’s National Team past Australia 3-0 in the USA’s penultimate match of 2021.
Goalkeeper Casey Murphy made an impressive international debut, becoming just the seventh goalkeeper to record a clean sheet in her first cap while making eight saves, several of the spectacular sort.
A record crowd of 36,109 fans turned out to Stadium Australia, site of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, marking the largest crowd ever to watch the Matildas on home soil.
The teams will meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle (4:05 a.m. ET on ESPN) as the USWNT completes its 2021 schedule.
Hatch’s goal was the third-fastest in team history and kicked off an entertaining, wide-open match that featured the USWNT’s youngest starting line-up since April 2018 and the first time since April of 2013 that all eleven U.S. starters were under the age of 30.
Hatch, the 2021 Golden Boot winner in the National Women’s Soccer League for the champion Washington Spirit, was making just her third appearance for the U.S. and first since 2018.
The U.S. held strong against a talented Australia side that pushed hard for an equalizer in the latter stages of the first half before the Americans extended their lead in the second half, backstopped by Murphy’s Woman of the Match performance. The 25-year-old from New Jersey weathered a flurry of chances from the Matildas at the end of the first half before Lavelle’s 18th career tally gave the U.S. a cushion in the 49th. Horan earned the penalty kick herself and then converted the 68th-minute spot kick to put the game on ice.
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski made five late substitutes to see things out down the stretch, giving forwards Bethany Balcer and Morgan Weaver as well as midfielder Ashley Sanchez their international debuts while inserting veteran Becky Sauerbrunn to solidify the back line. The four debuts in tonight’s match were the most for the USWNT since October 2016 vs. Switzerland.
Lavelle nearly doubled the lead early with a pair of dangerous attempts, first stripping an Australia center back deep in the USA’s attacking half in the fifth minute before ripping her shot just wide. She also threatened with another dangerous shot in the ninth minute. Defender Emily Sonnett also hit a close-range effort just wide of the right post in the 22nd after defender Emily Fox sent a nice ball into the box down the left side and forward Lynn Williams played it across the goal.
Despite conceding early, the Matildas grew into the game as the half wore on. Murphy was called upon to make a number of saves just after the half-hour mark, including tipping a long-range effort from Ballon d’Or nominee Sam Kerr over the bar. Australia’s most menacing chance of the first half came in the 38th when Ford danced along the end line and drove towards goal before dishing to Kyah Simon, but the forward skied her chance over the bar from point blank range to the despair of the large crowd.
The Matildas kept the pressure on until the halftime whistle, forcing Murphy into further action. In the 45th minute, a slashing run gave Kerr a dangerous look behind the U.S. defense, but Murphy made a lovely kick-save with her left foot to deflect it away. In the aftermath of a free kick seconds later, Caitlin Foord had time to line up a shot from just inside the 18 but Murphy tipped her attempt straight up and over the crossbar.
After weathering the storm to end the opening 45 minutes, halftime substitute Sofia Huerta helped spark the game’s second goal. Winning a header in midfield, she played to a hard-charging Margaret Purce on the right wing. Purce beat her defender to the end line and cut it back for Lavelle just outside the six-yard box. Lavelle’s stuffed her shot under Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah for her fifth goal of 2021, setting a career best for a calendar year.
Murphy made a few more saves down the stretch, and Horan, serving as the USWNT’s captain for just the second time, put the game out of reach midway through the second half. After she was fouled by Australia’s Ellie Carpenter, Horan coolly finished her penalty try for her 25th international goal making her the 24th player in USWNT history to reach that mark.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA – Ashley Hatch (Lynn Williams), 1st minute: While Australia took the opening kick off, Emily Sonnett won it on a header shortly thereafter to play the ball forward. While the Matildas tried clear, Margaret Purce kept pushing forward and another header from Williams set up Hatch behind the Australia back line. She took a touch before hitting it with her left foot on the half-volley past diving Australia goalkeeper Teagan Micah. USA 1, AUS 0
USA – Rose Lavelle (Margaret Purce), 49th minute: Making her first USWNT appearance since 2018, halftime substitute Sofia Huerta played a header past the half line for Purce on the run down the right wing. She held strong on the flank as her defender tried to body her away from the ball, sprinting past mark before cutting it back to Lavelle at the six-yard line. Lavelle one-timed it with her right foot just inside the the right post, bouncing the shot past Micah for the game’s second goal. USA 2, AUS 0
USA – Lindsay Horan (penalty), 68th minute: Ellie Carpenter brought Horan down as she received the ball and drove into the box and the veteran midfielder stepped to the spot for the ensuing penalty kick. She sent a hard-hit attempt to the left side of the net and while Micah guessed correctly, she couldn’t get a hand on the ball. USA 3, AUS 0
• The USA improves to 28-1-4 vs. Australia all-time. After six straight matches between the teams were decided by two goals or less, this marks the USWNT’s biggest win vs. the Matildas since a 4-0 win in October 2013.
• With the result, head coach Vlatko Andonovski improves to 28-2-4, a record for the best start in USWNT history.
• Nine players have now earned their first cap under Andonovski with tonight’s debutants joining Alana Cook, Margaret Purce, Sophia Smith, Jaelin Howell and Catarina Macario.
• Ashley Hatch’s goal was the team’s third-fastest all-time behind Alex Morgan (12 seconds vs. Costa Rica in 2016) and Carli Lloyd (24 seconds in vs. Jamaica in 2021).
• Hatch is the 15th different player to score for the USWNT this year.
• Defender Sofia Huerta’s appearance marked her first since June 12, 2018.
• Purce’s assist on Lavelle’s goal was the first of her career.
• In addition to her career-best five goals this year, Lavelle’s appearance tonight marked a career-best 21 international matches played in a calendar year.
• Murphy is the 25th goalkeeper to earn a cap with the USWNT and the first goalkeeper since Alyssa Naeher to record a shutout in her first cap. Naeher did so in December 2014 vs. Argentina.
• Forward Bethany Balcer is the first player from an NAIA school (Spring Arbor University) to appear for the USWNT.
• Tonight’s crowd of 36,109 was the second-largest to watch the USWNT outside of the United States in a friendly, trailing only a 2003 match at China in Wuhan that saw 40,000 in attendance.
• Midfielder Catarina Macario was unavailable for the match due to a minor groin strain. Forward Sophia Smith was unavailable due to concussion protocol.
-U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Australia
Date: Nov. 27, 2021
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Stadium Australia; Sydney, Australia
Kickoff: 3:02 p.m. local (11:02 p.m. ET/Nov. 26, 2021)
Weather: 64 degrees, Cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
AUS 0 0 0
USA–Ashley Hatch (Lynn Williams) 1st minute
USA–Rose Lavelle (Margaret Purce) 49
USA–Lindsey Horan (Penalty Kick) 68
USA: 18-Casey Murphy; 14-Emily Sonnett, 5-Alana Cook, 12-Tierna Davidson, 23-Emily Fox (3-Sofia Huerta, 46); 17-Andi Sullivan (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 84), 16-Rose Lavelle (22-Kristie Mewis, 84), 10-Lindsey Horan (Capt.); 11-Margaret Purce (15-Bethany Balcer, 78), 7-Ashley Hatch (13-Morgan Weaver, 74), 6-Lynn Williams (8-Ashley Sanchez, 84)
Substitutes not used: 1-Jane Campbell
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
AUS: 12-Teagan Micah; 21-Ellie Carpenter, 24-Jessika Nash (8-Charlotte Grant, 46), 3-Courtney Nevin, 7-Steph Catley (2-Angela Beard, 81); 10-Emily van Egmond; 17-Kyah Simon (16-Hayley Raso, 46), 13-Tameka Yallop (Capt.), 11-Mary Fowler (6-Clare Wheeler, 81), 9-Caitlin Foord (23-Remy Siemsen, 81); 20-Sam Kerr (19-Kyra Cooney-Cross, 63)
Substitutes not used: 1-Lydia Williams, 5-Karly Roestbakken, 25-Charlize Rule
Head coach: Tony Gustavsson
Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 14 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 8
Saves: 8 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 10 / 11
Offside: 3 / 0
USA — Ashley Hatch (Caution) 74th minute
Referee: Hyeon Jeong Oh (KOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Renae Coghill (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Laura Moya (AUS)
4th Official: Seijin Park (KOR)
Budweiser Woman of the Match: Casey Murphy