Portland Thorns’ Crystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn started for the United States Women’s National Team in their 9-0 win over Paraguay at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday. Sophia Smith was introduced in the 58th minute.
Vlatko Andonovski stated prior to the match that Lindsey Horan would not be available for selection in either of the USWNT games in Ohio. The Portland midfielder picked up a knock in the Thorns’ 1-0 win over the North Carolina Courage.
The U.S. were playing a team in Paraguay that had only played one prior match in 2021. Las Guaranies took on Japan in April and lost 7-0.
This period of matches was branded as the Carli Lloyd farewell tour after she announced that she would retire at the end of the season from both the USWNT and her club. Lloyd quickly gave the fans what they came for.
The USWNT took a quick free kick. Dunn sprinted onto it down the left flank. She fired a shot toward goal but it deflected into the side netting. Mallory Pugh delivered the ensuing corner kick to the forehead of Lloyd, who thumped the U.S. into the lead within three minutes.
Dunn was involved again as Lloyd made it 2-0 three minutes later. The left back sprinted into space down the left flank. She cut a pass back across the box. Lavelle couldn’t get on the end of it but Lloyd could.
In the 25th minute, Kristie Mewis swung in a corner. Lynn Williams nodded it back across goal and Andi Sullivan arrived at the back post to make it 3-0. Five minutes later, Williams was the benefactor of a wicked deflection. Williams struck from distance and her shot ricocheted off a Paraguayan defender and looped into the back of the net.
Lloyd would complete her hat trick in the 34th minute and scored her fourth in the 38th minute to send the USWNT into halftime with a 6-0 lead.
All six (‼️) first half goals in 60 seconds. Feast your eyes pic.twitter.com/5djChHQ9oj— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) September 17, 2021
The U.S. promptly made it 7-0 at the start of the second half. Pugh lofted a free kick into the box and Sullivan arrived and flicked her header across the goal and into the bottom corner.
Sophia Smith came on in the 58th minute for Pugh in what would be Smith’s longest cameo for the USWNT to date. Lloyd scored her fifth goal of the night off a Catarina Macario corner kick in the 61st minute, making it 8-0.
In the 64th minute, Dunn was replaced by Emily Sonnett. One minute later, Smith was fed in behind by Williams. Smith cut inside and shot. The shot was saved by the keeper and then hit the post but stayed out.
Sauerbrunn was substituted in the 72nd minute for Abby Dahlkemper. Tobin Heath scored the final goal of the night. Substitute Tierna Davidson played a cross-field diagonal to Heath, who made a run behind the Paraguayan back line. Heath took it down well and finished the USWNT’s ninth goal of the night calmly.
The USWNT will take on Paraguay again on Tuesday, Sep. 21. The match will kick off in FC Cincinnati’s TQL stadium at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be broadcast on FS1 and TUDN.