In the final match of the first round of the group stage at the FIFA Women’s World Cup the defending champion United States Women’s National Team finally got their chance to take the pitch in their attempt to etch their names into the history books and earn the coveted fourth star above the crest. In a statement 13-0 victory the Stars and Stripes made history on four separate occasions on their way to defending their world title.
Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara got the nod to start the match at rightback and she was quick to make an impact for the Stars and Stripes, providing an assist for Alex Morgan in the first goal of the match. Fellow Royals FC teammate Becky Sauerbunn was kept out of the starting XI on a precautionary basis as she is coming back from a minor quad injury. As a result Head Coach Jill Ellis chose to preserve her health and transitioned her to a substitute role for the match. FW Christen Press started the match on the bench and came on as a substitute in the 57th minute.
The United States came out guns blazing and almost notched their first goal in the sixth minute when Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan connected in the box to divert the ball into net. The goal was ultimately called back on account of Morgan being ruled offside.
Five minutes later Morgan found redemption when O’Hara made a run down the right side and sent a perfect cross that landed directly on Morgan’s head, netting the first goal of the match and the first of the tournament for the United States.
In the 20th minute Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle double the lead, connecting on a pass from Morgan.
The Red, White and Blue continued their offensive success in the 32nd minute when Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan took advantage of a slight deflection and hammered the ball in for the third goal of the match to go into halftime with a 3-0 lead.
At the start of the second half North Carolina Courage midfielder Sam Mewis scored her fifth goal in five games with an assist from Megan Rapinoe to take a 4-0 lead in the 50th minute.
Minutes later Morgan slipped in her second of the night on a free kick from Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath.
In the 54th minute Mewis became the second player to record a brace, connecting on a deflection from a Thailand defender. Just several moments later Lavelle got in on the action and bagged herself a brace with an assist from Mewis.
Coming on as a substitute Press helped make history providing the assist for Morgan, who earned herself a hat-trick and set a record for the most goals ever scored in a World Cup match for the United States in the 74th minute, making the match 7-0.
Rapinoe continued the scoring in the 79th minute, etching her name into the score book for the defending World Champions.
And one minute and 47 seconds later Morgan proved that she was not done, smashing yet another goal in for the United States, her fourth of the match.
In her World Cup debut Mallory Pugh matched tournament history, scoring the 11th goal of the match in the 85th minute, tying Germany for the most scored in a single match.
History again in the 86th minute when Alex Morgan beat several Thailand defenders to record her fifth goal, giving her the tied record with former United States forward Michelle Akers for the most scored in a single game in a Women’s World Cup match.
The Red, White and Blue capped off their commanding win with a goal from Sky Blue FC forward Carli Lloyd to finish the night 13-0, the largest margin of victory in the Women's World Cup history.
The United States will continue their quest for back-to-back championships on June 16 when they face Chile in their second of three group stage matches.