3 things to learn from USWNT’s consecutive wins against New Zealand

Three days after routing New Zealand 4-0 in the first game of the year, USA The women’s national team passed 2023 Women’s World Cup co-hosted by an even more disparate score on Friday.

The Americans have a goal from Ashley bloomsMallory Swanson, Taylor Kornieck and two words rose – who used to be the captain with the veterans Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan on the bench – to win the second of their two pre-tournament games by a score of 5-0.

Here are three thoughts on by USWNT Latest wins, trip overall and what happens next.

Questions remain despite another big win

As expected, American coach Vlatko Andonovski rotated the starting lineup a lot after Tuesday’s win, making five changes to his supposed first-choice squad. In target, Casey Murphy to Alyssa Naeher. In defense, Chef Alana and Sofia Huerta replacing Sauerbrunn and Emily Fox. midfielder Andi Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez spelled Kornieck and Lindsey Horanwho has returned to his French club Lyon before the rematch, and Hatch replaced Morgan after the striker limped during warm-ups.

Some changes were certainly planned in advance, but Andonovski also rewarded the substitutes for their contributions coming off the bench after a dull, goalless first half in Wellington. Sanchez was excellent in the first game, as well as The Holy Trinity Rodman, who scored two assists from the bench. The pair quickly set up Hatch’s opener for the Americans on Friday, a strike marked by Rodman’s flawless cut:

Interestingly, Sauerbrunn, the 37-year-old captain of the USWNT, was the center back who gave way to the youngster. Naomi Girma stay in coach 11. What does it mean? Six months on from the World Cup, and against – no insult to Football Ferns – the competition is so much worse, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions.

Hatch has made the most of her chances, but that doesn’t mean she’s been locked out of her job as Morgan’s student at the center of the pitch. Rodman and Sanchez both increased their stakes, but the former will likely have to compete for World Cup minutes with the injured Cat Macario trio, Sophia Smith and Megan Rapinoe. Meanwhile, the central midfielder is still behind Horan and Lavelle, who are perhaps the sharpest Americans in both exhibitions.

Let’s not get carried away with performance, though. Friday marked the sixth time in a row the United States beat New Zealand by four goals or more. They are currently leading the all-time 19-1-1 streak. This is a good pre-season exercise for the Americans. It was good to start a hugely important year with two clean sheets, and on Friday the US even overcame a first-half scoring drought in four games. However, as it relates to the World Cup, the truth is that these two games probably don’t reveal as much.

Off the field, a priceless trip for the United States

Of course, this month’s trip isn’t just about preparing Americans for what’s to come on the field later this year. It’s like – or maybe more – about understanding what the environment is like off the pitch during the World Cup.

Friday’s competition was played at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand’s national stadium and the site of the USWNT’s opening match of the 2023 World Cup against Vietnamplus the first round final against Cameroon, Portugal or Thailand. Tuesday’s win over Football Ferns also came at Sky Stadium in Wellington, the site of the Americans’ much-anticipated second group stage game against the US team. Netherlands – a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final.

In addition to the facilities, the United States stayed at the same Auckland hotel and trained on the same training ground they will be using again this summer. Not everything will be the same — Americans haven’t visited Australia this month and the temperature on Friday started just below 80 degrees; in July, winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the peak is in the 50s – but it’s a priceless experience, even if FIFA’s 24th-ranked nation’s resistance leaves much to be desired.

A much tougher test awaits Americans in February

Competition won’t be an issue when the USWNT returns home to host the annual SheBelieves Cup next month. Brazil, Canada and Japan are the competitors of this winter tournament, which takes place February 16-22 in Orlando, Nashville and Dallas.

All three are likely to go deep in Australia/New Zealand 2023, if not win them all: Brazil is a former World Cup runner-up, Canada is the defending Olympic gold medalist, and Japan is 2011 (and lost) champion. final four years later).

All three will test the USA in a way that the Kiwis cannot and all three will have access to their full praises of the players as the competition takes place during FIFA designated times for matches. international match.

Just like at the main event, defenses will be tight and mistakes will be brutally punished next time Andonovski’s team summons. That would be a welcome challenge for a U.S. team that needs it — a team still searching for answers as the World Cup approaches so quickly.

Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Prior to joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was an editor for ESPN and Yahoo Sports, and he covered the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams at various FIFA World Cups. . Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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