AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP)Rose Lavelle scored a pair of goals and the United States women beat New Zealand 5-0 in an exhibition on Saturday.
Ashley Hatch, Mallory Swanson and Taylor Kornieck also scored for the U.S. at Auckland’s Eden Park stadium. It was the second of two matches between the teams, which are preparing for this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Swanson scored twice in Wednesday’s 4-0 U.S. victory in Wellington. The former Mallory Pugh took Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson’s last name when the pair married in December.
The matches against New Zealand capped the U.S. team’s January training camp. The trip was strategic for the Americans, who will play all their World Cup group stage matches in New Zealand.
”I think this was an amazing test run for us to be able to see what to expect when we come back in six months,” Lavelle said. ”The atmosphere was fun, being able to face an away crowd and see how we handle that. … I’m excited for what’s to come.”
The announced crowd of 12,721 was the biggest ever for a New Zealand women’s match.
Alex Morgan was a late scratch because of lower leg tightness. She was replaced in the starting lineup by Hatch, who scored her fifth international goal in the 22nd minute. Trinity Rodman got the assist.
Lavelle, who wore the captain’s armband, scored in 39th minute. Swanson added a rebound goal in the 53rd minute before Lavelle’s second goal in the 74th. Kornieck scored the final goal on a header.
”It was incredible for us to be out here, just to get acquainted with the country and to be able to visualize us being here six months from now,” defender Crystal Dunn said.
The teams have met 21 times overall, with the U.S. dominating the series 19-1-1.
The U.S. was without 2022 Player of the Year Sophia Smith because of a foot injury. Megan Rapinoe also didn’t travel with the team because of an ankle injury.
Lindsey Horan, who played in the first game against New Zealand, returned to France for a game with her club team, Lyon.
The Americans had an uncharacteristically shaky end to 2022, with losses in three of four games. The team returns to home soil for the SheBelieves Cup next month. Canada, Brazil and Japan are also taking part in the tournament.
The World Cup kicks off July 20. The title match will be played Aug. 20 in Sydney. The United States has won back-to-back World Cups and will vie for a record third straight title.
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