United States show their class with 4-0 win against Ferns before record crowd

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World champions United States coasted to a 4-0 win against the Football Ferns before a record crowd at Wellington’s Sky Stadium.

The Ferns battled well to keep the visitors goalless at half-time but the second-half changes off the bench added impetus to the United States effort, while the New Zealand team were vulnerable as players adapted to the changes.

The game set up a new attendance record for a home game by the Ferns, with 12,508 heading to Sky Stadium, eclipsing the previous record of 7,236 for the 2018 game against Japan at the same venue.

New Zealand started the match with their most experienced players, apart from debutant Grace Neville.

Despite this, they still had a considerably less experienced line-up when compared to their opponents.

Stuff football writer Phillip Rollo tweets the stats that show the differing levels of experience.

From the start, it was obvious that the United States would dominate possession but the Ferns set up 4-4-2 and with a clear determination to press as high up the pitch as possible, and to disrupt their opponents’ passing.

The heat also helped slow the play, probably to New Zealand’s advantage.

New Zealand’s first attempt on goal came after 16 minutes when Betsy Hassett hit a hopeful shot from 18 metres but it was easily blocked by US captain Becky Sauerbrunn who cleared it.

Two minutes later, the world champions created their first real goalscoring chance when Lindsey Horan was left unmarked and in front of goal with only ‘keeper Erin Nayler to beat.

Horan’s shot was denied by Nayler who, spreadeagled and on the ground, just managed to make contact with her boot, steering the shot wide.

In the 28th minute, Midge Purce struck a cross towards the far post, with Nayler caught off her line. The ball rattled off the far post.

A minute later, Nayler easily gathered a weak shot from Mallory Swanson.

Three minutes before the break, a Swanson free kick from 25 metres curled across the New Zealand goal, getting the faintest of touches from Horan. The ball bounces inside the post and until the offside flag went up, the visitors and the crowd thought the deadlock had been broken.

The teams headed for the changing rooms, goalless at half-time, and with the crowd of more than 10,000 showing their appreciation of the Ferns’ efforts.

In the 71st minute, Grace Wisnewski made her international debut, replaying Daisy Cleverley in midfield.

The United States made it 4-0 with another headed goal in the 75th minute, when Lynn Williams strongly headed another Rodman cross into the net.

Half-time stats (New Zealand / United States)

Shots: 1 / 4

Shots on target: 0 / 1

Possession: 21% / 79%

Time in opposition half: 46% / 54%

Passes: 122 / 326

Pass accuracy: 55% / 83%

Balls in penalty area: 2 / 17

Fouls: 3 / 2

Offsides: 0 / 3

Corners: 0 / 2

Saves: 2 / 0

The United States started the second half strongly, bringing on four subs and changing up the pace of the game.

Substitute Trinity Rodman headed wide at the far post, with Nayler out of position.

Three minutes into the half, Rose Lavelle shot wide.

In the 52nd minute, with the Ferns clearly under the pump, the United States broke through.

Rodman swung a cross in from the right and Swanson powerfully headed the ball into the New Zealand net from 12 metres.

Goalscorer Mallory Swanson rushes to acknowledge the assist by Trinity Rodman.

On the hour, the United States scored their second with the neatest of interplays between Lavelle and superstar striker Alex Morgan.

Lavelle back-heeled a ball into Morgan’s path and she calmly lined up her shot from an angle, clearing post and ‘keeper to claim her 120th goal for her country, registered in game number 201.

Main photo: Alex Morgan celebrates her goal with team mates.

Two minutes later, Swanson stretched the lead to 3-0, getting on the end of a through ball from substitute Ashley Sanchez before whipping past Nayler and belting the ball into an empty net.

The crowd was stunned into relative silence as it became clear that the Ferns could be on the end of a thrashing.

New Zealand managed to stem the potential onslaught, as their subs and changes settled in, and the United States were content to manage the game’s concluding stages in the late afternoon heat.

Full-time stats (New Zealand / United States)

Shots: 2 / 14

Shots on target: 1 / 7

Possession: 25% / 75%

Passes: 247 / 694

Pass accuracy: 59% / 85%

Fouls: 6 / 3

Offsides: 0 / 6

Corners: 1 / 3

Yellow cards: 1 / 0

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Result

Game played on Wednesday January 18, 2023

New Zealand 0
United States 4 (Mallory Swanson 52′, 63′, Alex Morgan 60′, Lynn Williams 74′)

Line-ups

New Zealand

Erin Nayler, Ali Riley (captain) (Liz Anton 61′), Ashleigh Ward (Ally Green 77′), Anna Green, Grace Neville (Mackenzie Barry 77′), Olivia Chance, Betsy Hassett, Daisy Cleverley (Grace Wisnewski 71′), Gabi Rennie, Ava Collins (Indiah-Paige Riley 46′), Grace Jale (Paige Satchell 61′).

Subs not used: Murphy Sheaff, Brianna Edwards, Rebecca Lake, Jana Radosavljevic, Aniela Jensen, Emma Rolston, Tayla O’Brien, Deven Jackson.

United States

Ayssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn (captain), Mallory Swanson (Lynn Williams 67′), Lindsey Horan, Midge Purce (Trinity Rodman 46′), Naomi Girma (Alana Cook 46′), Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle (Ashley Sanchez 61′), Crystal Dunn (Sofia Huerta 46′), Taylor Kornieck (Andi Sullivan 46′), Emily Fox.

Subs not used: Adrianna Franch, Casey Murphy, Hailie Mace, Emily Sonnett, Sam Coffey, Kristie Mewis.

Card

New Zealand: Indiah-Paige Riley 84′

Match highlights

Fixture

Game to be played on Saturday January 21, 2023

New Zealand v United States
Eden Park, Auckland, 4pm (NZT)

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