Boyds, MD (Sept. 20, 2017) – Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh recorded her sixth career international goal and 11th assist for the U.S. Women’s National Team in a 5-0 rout of New Zealand on Tuesday night in front of 30,596 fans at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati.
Pugh earned a spot in Jill Ellis‘ starting lineup once again and played 71 minutes as the U.S. completed a two-game sweep of New Zealand, which started on Friday night with a 3-1 win in Colorado.
After the U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute, Pugh pushed the advantage to 2-0 just before halftime with a short range, right-footed strike inside the near post following a full-speed run up the right wing and into the box. She received a pass from Lindsey Horan in stride on her way into the box and buried the shot for her second score of 2017.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Pugh set up Alex Morgan‘s first of two goals on the night, sending a short cross into the box from the left wing, which deflected off a New Zealand defender and to the feet of Morgan, who beat New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler with a quick shot just inside the left post.
The first feed to Morgan was not an official assist for Pugh due to the ball hitting a New Zealand player in between touches, but 13 minutes later, Pugh connected with Morgan cleanly on a strikingly similar play. After a long run through the attacking third up the left wing, Pugh sent a cross over to Morgan who had found space inside the top left corner of the box, and promptly struck a one-time shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net. The 69th minute goal pushed the lead to 5-0, which proved to be the final score. [+Full Match Recap]
Pugh and the Spirit will return home to the Maryland SoccerPlex for their final two games of the 2017 NWSL season on September 23 against the Boston Breakers, and on September 30 against Seattle Reign FC. Tickets to both games are available for one price, starting as low as $40 with the Spirit’s September Ticket Package. [TICKETS]