CloseGraham Hays covers school sports activities for espnW, together with softball and soccer. Hays started with ESPN in 1999.
PARIS — America cannot formally clinch a spot as one of the best crew in its World Cup group till later this week, however it used Sunday’s recreation in opposition to Chile to point out that even its second crew is among the many finest on the earth.
Regardless of wholesale adjustments to the beginning lineup that routed Thailand, the U.S. beat Chile Three-Zero to stay on high of Group F and advance to the knockout spherical. Each the U.S. and Sweden enter the ultimate spherical of group play with six factors from two wins, however the People possess a vastly superior purpose differential.
On a day when the American presence in Paris made the crimson, white and blue of Parc des Princes, usually house to Paris Saint-Germain, an acceptable house away from house with a crowd of 45,594, the U.S. checked out ease from the outset.
In her first begin this World Cup, Carli Lloyd wanted simply over 10 minutes to set a document by scoring in her sixth consecutive World Cup recreation. She then set one other document when she grew to become the oldest participant to attain two targets in a World Cup recreation.
Solely a missed penalty, awarded after VAR intervention, slowed Lloyd.
Julie Ertz offered the opposite American purpose within the opening half, the primary World Cup purpose for a participant who starred as a defender within the 2015 match.
And if the U.S. did not pile on the targets within the second half this time, it was extra due to Christiane Endler’s heroics in purpose than as a result of the U.S. took its foot off the fuel, however the efficiency was hardly much less complete.
The U.S. and Sweden, which beat Thailand earlier within the day, will renew their very frequent rivalry in Le Havre on Thursday. Takeaways from Sunday’s match:
Carli Lloyd’s first purpose in opposition to Chile made historical past as she grew to become the primary participant to attain a purpose in six straight World Cup matches. Alex Grimm/Getty Photographs
Carli Lloyd cannot cease scoring targets
In once more defending her crew’s celebrations in its opening win in opposition to Thailand, Jill Ellis talked the day earlier than the sport in opposition to Chile about contemplating the person context behind every purpose. She used Lloyd for instance, saying she knew precisely how a lot work Lloyd had put in to be on the sector as a goal-scoring menace at 36 years outdated. That effort warranted celebration.
Effectively, regardless of the U.S. breaking out a golf-clap celebration on Lloyd’s opening purpose in opposition to Chile, poking enjoyable on the controversy over their celebrations within the opening recreation, the captain once more earned the correct to have fun Sunday. Lloyd has insisted that she needs to begin, believes she will begin and continues to be totally able to influencing video games for 90 minutes. That simply is not her position regularly for the time being.
This wasn’t a World Cup ultimate in opposition to Japan, and he or she did not fairly full the hat trick. However Sunday made her level decisively. She’s not performed.
Julie Ertz headed house the second purpose for the USWNT, then rested for the second half. Molly Darlington/AMA/Getty Photographs
The second-best crew in France?
The U.S. made seven adjustments to the beginning lineup from its opening recreation, a nod each to its personal depth and the truth that Chile is a weaker facet than any the U.S. is more likely to face from right here on out within the match. There wasn’t a lot to criticize within the opening recreation in opposition to Thailand, so it is secure to imagine the adjustments that took your entire entrance line, Crystal Dunn, Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis and Kelley O’Hara, out of the lineup weren’t punitive for poor efficiency.
This was about managing the roster with a watch towards taking part in seven video games. Actually, if the U.S. makes it to the ultimate, it would play six video games in 22 days, starting Sunday. That is a hefty workload for the oldest crew within the match. Resting gamers over 30 like Tobin Heath, O’Hara and Megan Rapinoe is smart, as does seizing the chance to get minutes for gamers like Morgan Brian, a World Cup veteran however a shock inclusion on this roster.
Ellis did the identical factor within the second recreation of World Cup qualifying final fall, then reverted again to her unique beginning 11 for the rest of that match.
But when the aim of the adjustments was boringly tactical, the message was once more loud and clear. The U.S. has extra depth than any crew on this match. That is most evident within the entrance line, the place Lloyd, Christen Press and Mallory Pugh would begin for many groups on the earth. As Heath, Alex Morgan and Rapinoe did within the first recreation, the entrance line on this recreation set the tone by urgent Chile from the outset to interrupt up that crew’s bunker mentality.
A star in defeat
Whereas American followers dominated the stands in Paris, Chilean followers made themselves heard with a rousing rendition of their nationwide anthem, persevering with to sing even after the recording within the stadium reduce off. As soon as the sport started, Christiane Endler gave them one thing to cheer, too.
Chile’s goalkeeper, who performs professionally for PSG, did all she may to maintain the rating from ballooning into one thing just like the U.S. win in opposition to Thailand.
A a lot better organized and aggressive crew than Thailand, Chile continues to be years away from contending for world titles in ladies’s soccer — even when it will get the mandatory help from the home soccer infrastructure lengthy dominated by the boys’s recreation. However the era to return already has a really world-class participant of their very own to look as much as throughout that journey.
Tierna Davidson, who’s 20, on Sunday grew to become the youngest U.S. World Cup starter since Tiffany Roberts in 1995. AP Picture/Alessandra Tarantino
Tierna Davidson spectacular in debut
For a stretch of time final yr, Tierna Davidson seemed like she had the within monitor on a beginning position subsequent to Becky Sauerbrunn in the course of the U.S. again line. Davidson’s personal harm woes, harm early in her junior season at Stanford, and Abby Dahlhemper’s continued high quality modified that. However in changing into the youngest U.S. World Cup starter since Tiffany Roberts in 1995, Davidson each confirmed off her versatility as an outdoor again in opposition to Chile and took a starring position in U.S. set piece success. It was Davidson, whose supply completely teed up Ertz for the near-post header on one nook kick and gave Lloyd the supply to run onto for the opposite nook kick purpose.
The one factor she did flawed was take a free kick from the tip line too early. And he or she could be forgiven a bit overzealousness. It was, in any case, her first World Cup recreation.
Lindsey Horan’s aggressive play has made her a possible star, but additionally earned her a yellow card in opposition to Chile. FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Photographs
Lindsey Horan in card jeopardy
Simply concerning the first little bit of unhealthy information incurred by the U.S. within the match got here when Lindsey Horan picked up a yellow card halfway by means of the primary half. The midfielder once more seemed the a part of one of many match’s potential breakout stars in what was principally a composed, aggressive efficiency — save for the cardboard. Now Ellis, who substituted Allie Lengthy for Horan early within the second half will face a selection as as to if to danger her selecting up a second yellow within the group finale in opposition to Sweden and being suspended for the primary elimination spherical recreation.
The U.S. had hassle with that within the final World Cup, dropping Lauren Vacation and Rapinoe for the quarterfinal due to accrued yellows. Then once more, with each Sam Mewis and Lavelle saved on the bench at first of Sunday’s recreation, Ellis has rested choices.