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USWNT 4, Mexico 0: Press scores brace, Heath returns and scores

Brad Smith/ISI Photos

Christen Press scored twice, and Sam Mewis and Tobin Heath added a goal apiece, as the United States women’s national team defeated Mexico, 4-0 on Thursday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., in the Americans’ penultimate preparation match before the Olympics.

The Skinny: U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski rolled out his best-available XI as he juggles some injuries both minor and more concerning. That included starting Kristie Mewis in the No. 10 role. Julie Ertz is still out after spraining her right MCL in May, and Rose Lavelle was recently nursing a minor ankle issue. Heath had not played for the U.S. all year due to injuries, but came off the bench in the second half on Thursday and scored less than one minute into her return.

Sam Mewis and Christen Press scored in the first half to give the United States a 2-0 lead at the break under a steady downpour. Sam Mewis’ 21st-minute goal was assisted by sister, Kristie.

Heath’s goal will draw the buzz. She has been sidelined since January with what started as an ankle injury and then became a knee injury, but her recovery was said to be going well. Thursday was her first opportunity to show that, with only three weeks until the Olympics kick off, and she scored a wonderful goal on her first touches of the game.

Press added a second goal in the final minutes on a cross from Tierna Davidson.

One Key Moment: Goals always get the attention, but Mexico’s best opportunity of the game is worth a deeper look. Maria Sanchez, fresh off another Liga MX title with Tigres and a brief loan with the Houston Dash, bodies Kelley O’Hara off a 50-50 ball to seemingly get in behind the U.S. defense. Abby Dahlkemper, however, was in the perfect position to cover and blocked the shot out for a corner kick. It was a moment which highlighted the importance of Dahlkemper, in a situation which will happen plenty at the Olympics.

Inside the Game: Pardon the borrowing and tweaking of a phrase, but it was Left Side, Strong Side for the Americans on Thursday. Crystal Dunn sat high and Megan Rapinoe checked back on the touchline to find the ball and set play on inside-outside-inside movements. In combination, it created an overload on the left U.S.’ left side, where the majority of the Americans’ opportunities came from.

Mexico held relatively strong defensively and put in one of its better performances against the U.S. in some time. The first-half opportunity from Sanchez was the most notable for the visitors, but they were hardly in a defensive shell. Mexico has shown significant progress under head coach Monica Vergara as they prepare for World Cup qualifying next year.

The Goals:

  1. United States — Sam Mewis (Kristie Mewis), 21′
  2. United States — Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe), 39′
  3. United States — Tobin Heath (Alex Morgan), 74′
  4. United States — Christen Press (Tierna Davidson), 85′

Subscribers: Read in depth about Tobin Heath’s return


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