The U.S. Women’s National Team enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Australia despite a slow start in the first half.

USWNT Steamrolls Past Australia

Entering the opening round, the Women’s Nation Team were looking to extend their dominance in pool play while also search for that elusive third World Cup championship.

As for the former, many expected the U.S. to skate past group play; they are 16-1-2 in the opening rounds of the World Cup and are also 23-0-2 against Australia, according to ESPN. And next, the group favorite has Nigeria and Sweden, which they are projected to win.

Still, the USWNT struggled in the opening half of their World Cup debut, as Australia proceeded to control the game despite being down 1-0 because of a Megan Rapinoe goal. The Aussies would later even it up with a Lisa De Vanna goal; the defense showed poor discipline on the play, as they converged on Michelle Heyman, who easily passed it to a wide open De Vanna.

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However, it is important to mention Hope Solo’s brilliant saves, which saved the U.S. consistently in the first half: she made two big time saves early, which showed even with the off-the-field controversies, she is still one of the best goaltenders in the world.

Now, the USWNT has always been the best at one thing and that is their conditioning. And simply, U.S. outlasted Australia in the second half, as the Aussies were clearly gassed and less aggressive: they had overall less opportunities and strikes on net in the second half.

Yet, at the same time, the United States’ offense did not look sensational either. Despite controlling the ball, the scoring was stuck at a stalemate until the 61st minute, when Christen Press opened up the floodgates off a gorgeous Sydney Leroux assist.

And the game was finally put away in the 78th minute, when Megan Rapinoe became the first woman since Abby Wambach in 2007 to score two goals in a World Cup match.

The U.S., which has been riddled with injuries, displayed why they are clear contenders for the World Cup: with a healthy Rapinoe in the line up and an injured Alex Morgan making a late-game appearance, the team can only get better with time.

The USWNT next faces Sweden on June 12.

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