(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: Before our TEAM USA’s Match #1 of the Women’s 2023 FIFA World Cup Tournament shortly begins, we bring Saludos and Greetings to all of our Soccer/Fútbol families who have young ladies at all age-levels competing in this #1 world-wide sport. We know you are in the thousands as our soccer appreciation environment here in Los Angeles and Southern California has dramatically changed due to many factors. And it goes without saying that it will be a dream come true for other young players to earn a spot someday on our Women’s National Soccer Team, so at this time we bring it to your attention that the TEAM’s slogan during this World Cup is: “Always Possible/!Todo Es Posible!” And in harmony with that slogan, as our Familias have always believed, !Sí se puede!
We begin our story with one of the most important facts in local Girls and Women’s soccer fandom. That due to the addition of our National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team, the Angel City Football Club (ACFC), to the roster of Professional teams representing our City of the Angels, the fan interest has sky-rocketed like no other.
Now, as we bring you our coverage of last week’s Women’s World Cup, first match between TEAM USA and its opponent, Vietnam, we are glad to report that Head Coach, Vlatko Andonovski, got his squad off to a much-awaited, yet much-expected victory over their Group “E” member by a robust score of (3-0) before 41,000 exuberant fans in New Zealand. They are now (1-0-0) going into Wednesday’s “Clash of the Titans” in facing the Netherlands.
Keep in mind that the following two players from Angel City FC are members of Team USA. First and foremost, there’s the 3 x World Cup veteran, #8/Julie Ertz, followed by the youngest member at 18 years of age, and recent Harvard-Westlake High School graduate, #7/Alyssa Thompson.
Both saw opening match action and will take the victory in stride as they move forward on their path to defending their World Cup Title. Just as her resumé indicated, Ertz, the veteran defender, played the full match, with a solid all-around performance encompassing leadership, big-match skills, as well as contributing several good additions in her match-stat categories. Thompson, was obviously nervous, yet very thrilled to be called upon at the 75th minute. Although it came with the big lead, it was a great opportunity for Coach Andonovski to offer her another experience to step onto the international stage as an 18 year-older looking to perform her best for her country in the extraordinary FIFA World Cup Tournament. She will undoubtedly be one of the most-watched players on TEAM USA.
And to uniformly coincide with that type of player profiling, just apply it specifically to all of the other 22 members of our National Team, who have made their way onto this particular team at this particular time in the history of the Women’s FIFA Soccer World Cup play.
[STARTING LINE-UP WITH SUBSITUTIONS]:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 23-Emily Fox (3-Sofia Huerta, 84), 4-Naomi Girma, 8-Julie Ertz, 19-Crystal Dunn (5-Kelley O’Hara, 84); 17-Andi Sullivan, 10-Lindsey Horan (Capt.), 9-Savannah DeMelo (16-Rose Lavelle, 63); 11-Sophia Smith, 13-Alex Morgan (15-Megan Rapinoe, 63), 20-Trinity Rodman (7-Alyssa Thompson, 75)
[MATCH #1 RECAP]
[1st HALF]: Both teams broke from the start pretty even, but in a strong attack mode initiated by the Americans, at the (14:30) mark, Forward, #11/Sophia Smith found the ball right in her path after a great behind a back-shoulder and scintillating “heel” pass from #13/Alex Morgan. Smith then took a dribble to find her footing, balance, and the right angle for a torqued left-footed shot on goal. And to the crowd’s great satisfaction, she blasted it through the legs and past the Vietnamese goalie, #14/Tran Thị Kim Thanh, for a (1-0) lead by Team USA.
Play returned to even for the rest of the period until once more, and during late stoppage time in the period, Smith was in the right place at the right time for another shot on goal. There was instant jubilation by a sizable crowd of U.S. supporters, but they had to return to normalcy rather quickly because referee, Bouchra Karboubi (MAR), had to double-check with her Video Assisted Referee (VAR) crew to officially decide whether there may have been an “off-side” infraction by TEAM USA to negate the score. Play continued on to finish the half and it wasn’t till the official scorer was informed by the Referee that after her review, the unassisted goal by Smith would stand. The score came in minute (8:00) of the (9:00) minutes allowed for the period’s “Stoppage Time.”
[HALF-TIME SCORE]: USA 2 VIETNAM 0
[2nd HALF]: Vietnam, the overwhelming underdog, and making its first-ever appearance in the FIFA World Cup Tournament, continued to play aggressively on defense, while basically giving up on trying to set-up an offense to contend with, or establish an attacking rhythm against the bigger and faster American squad. But, in the 77th minute, it was Team Captain, Lindsey Horan’s turn to officially get into the scoring column, when she took a perfect right-flank lateral pass from Smith, directly in the middle of the 18 yard box. Horan then took her time, measured the parameters, and then struck it hard and into the back of the netting for the close-out, and third goal of the match for TEAM USA.
Coach Andonovski subsequently took huge advantage of his match situational awareness and subbed in five players to soak up the much-deserved World Cup experience till the final whistle was sounded by Referee Karboubi.
[FULL-TIME SCORE]: USA 3 VIETNAM 0
[NEXT GROUP “E” MATCH]: Netherlands, Wednesday, July 26th, 6:00 pm. To watch, go to FOX, Telemundo, Universe, and Peacock.
[SIGNIFICANT MATCH NOTES]
- SOPHIA SMITH becomes second youngest USWNT player to score multiple goals in a World Cup match;
- LINDSEY HORAN scores her third career World Cup goal;
- MEGAN RAPINOE becomes the 14th USWNT player to reach 200 Caps;
- SOFIA HUERTA made her World Cup debut when she entered the match and earned her 31st team appearance in competition;
- (8) USA players made their World Cup debuts – Savannah DeMelo (who also made her first USWNT start), Naomi Girma, Emily Fox, Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, Alyssa Thompson and Sofia Huerta.