Becky Sauerbrunn and Sophia Smith started and played 45 minutes in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 5-0 win over New Zealand in their second match of the SheBelieves Cup. Sauerbrunn captained the side in her 201st appearance for the USWNT. The center back is now tied with current USWNT General Manager and former center back Kate Markgraf for 11th of the all-time U.S. cap list. Smith earned her 12th cap and made her second consecutive start for the USWNT.
Smith got things started quickly for the U.S. After two quick restarts, Smith received the ball on the left and curled a dangerous cross into the box. It deflected off Meikayla Moore and into the back of her own net, giving the U.S. an early lead.
One minute later, Sofia Huerta bombed down the right and sent a whipped ball into the area intended for Catarina Macario. New Zealand’s Moore got a touch to it again and put it in the back of her own goal for the second time in two minutes.
The U.S. turned up the pressure after the two own goals, pinning the Ferns in their own final third. Smith continued to wreak havoc down the left and Kristie Mewis had the ball in the back of the net but it was waved off for offside.
In the 24th minute, Smith swung another delightful cross into the box. Purce challenged for it and it fell to Macario, who hammered it off the post. Smith also had a forceful shot parried wide.
Alana Cook misplaced a pass in the 32nd minute which the Ferns turned into their first chance of the game but it was hit just wide of the post.
Moore completed her own goal hat trick four minutes later. Purce drove down the right and into the box. She tried to square the ball to Smith, who made an intelligent run. Moore made the intervention and sliced it into her own net.
Sauerbrunn and Smith were both replaced at the start of the second half. The U.S. made it 4-0 in the 51st minute. Huerta played a pinpoint cross to the head of substitute Ashley Hatch. The forward thumped her header into the back of the net.
Mallory Pugh added a fifth and final goal in second half stoppage time and the U.S. were able to see out the 5-0 result and currently sit in first place in the SheBelieves Cup standings with four points. Iceland has a chance to reclaim the top position if they are able to get the three points against the Czech Republic this afternoon.
Almost to full-time and Mallory Pugh makes it FIVE!— The Equalizer (@EqualizerSoccer) February 20, 2022
Ashley Hatch with the headed assist to set Pugh off on a deadly run that she finishes clinically #USAvNZL | 5 - 0 | #SheBelievesCup pic.twitter.com/89VY5e9KcQ
The USWNT will close out the SheBelieves Cup vs. Iceland on Wednesday, Feb. 23 in what could be the title decider. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT in Toyota Stadium. The match will be broadcast on ESPN and PrendeTV.