The United States women weren’t made to work very hard in their first match of the Olympics soccer tournament. They scored just nine minutes into their match against New Zealand and never looked to be under serious pressure as they coasted to a 2-0 victory.
World Cup and Olympic hero Carli Lloyd scored the opener, getting off to a faster start than she usually does in major tournaments. Instead of saving her best stuff for the gold medal match, she decided to start scoring early, heading in a cross by Tobin Heath.
The Americans were well in control of the game for the rest of the first half, though they couldn’t add to their tally. But just 30 seconds into the second half, they doubled their lead, with Alex Morgan finishing off a pass from Morgan Brian, beating Erin Nayler at her near post.
The goals were just about all of the significant events in the match, with New Zealand struggling to create chances. Even though the USWNT let them have a bit of the ball, the Ferns never turned their possession into dangerous passes into the final third. American goalkeeper Hope Solo only had to make one save on the night. It was a physical match, with New Zealand recording 16 fouls and picking up three yellow cards.
On Saturday, the USWNT faces a much tougher opponent in France. Les Bleus went to the quarterfinals of last summer’s World Cup and recorded a win over the Americans in 2015. The USWNT won the last meeting between the two teams, 1-0.