The United States, thanks to a double and an assist from Sophia Smith, defeated Vietnam 3-0 on Saturday in Group E of the Women’s World Cupbut she needs to improve her aim if she wants to win her third consecutive world crown, something no team – men’s or women’s – has achieved in history.
More superior than the Vietnamese from the opening whistle, the Americans left some shadows and points to improve such as the penalty missed by one of their great stars, forward Alex Morgan, or their limited success in general -an in front of the goal.
For example, the US took a total of 27 shots (24 inside the area) but only eight of them were on goal and only three of them went into the net.
Vietnam, very happy with its qualification for the first World Cup, also had a moment of unforgettable joy when its goalkeeper Thi Kim Thanh Tran saved Morgan’s penalty.
Smith, one of the youngsters called to shine at this World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, scored his two goals in the first half.
In addition, the Portland Thorns attacker provided the pass in the second half for Lindsey Horan to complete the victory for the four-time world champions (1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019).
The match started with fear for the Stars and Stripes team as Trinity Rodman fell to the ground in the first minute but finally recovered and continued the match.
The first goal for the USA came in the 14th minute with a nice triangulation. Horan, with a deep pass that broke the lines, found Morgan, who produced a perfect spur assist and into the gap for Smith to score his first World Cup goal.
From the beginning it was clear that the US created a lot of attack against a Vietnamese team equipped in 5-4-1, but could not find a way to realize countless opportunities.
It looked like the Americans would be able to unblock this mess on the brink of half-time, when Thi Loan Hoang brought down Rodman inside the area.
However, Morgan missed from eleven metres, with a poor penalty shot straight to the body of Thi Kim Thanh Tran, and the Vietnamese celebrated in style with a pineapple around their goalkeeper.
Smith sent the ball into the net in stoppage time in the first half and, despite the fact that it appeared to be offside, VAR finally awarded the goal which made the game 2-0 at halftime.
The game did not change after the start, still there were many mistakes and problems for the US to convert their chances into goals.
Megan Rapinoe, who recently announced that she will leave professional soccer at the end of this season, took Morgan’s place in the second half.
Once again it was Smith who shook the American attack by taking advantage of a mistake in the back of Vietnam and serving the ball on a plate for Horan’s goal.
The USA has, within Group E, a priori more complicated commitment on the second day when it will face the Netherlands, the team it defeated in the 2019 World Cup final (2-0).