Mason Cavalier and Michael Chan-Lok
Boyds, Md. (5/12/19) – Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle earned a start and forward Mallory Pugh appeared as a sub in the United States’ 3-0 win over South Africa in their inaugural “Send-Off Series” game.
The “Send-Off Series” is a set of three friendlies that are the United States Women’s National Team’s final fixtures before the start of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. Lavelle and Pugh were announced as part of head coach Jill Ellis’ 23-player squad on May 2 to represent the Stars and Stripes as the USWNT looks to defend their World Cup title this summer in France.
The crafty midfielder Lavelle started the game for the U.S. and played a strong 60 minutes, picking up an assist in the 37th minute after finding Sam Mewis at the top of the box, who then finished a long-range chance. Lavelle was subbed off for Emily Sonnett after an hour of play. Lavelle has now made 25 appearances for the US since 2017.
Pugh entered the game as a substitute in the 77th minute, replacing Christen Press in the U.S. attacking line. Pugh’s biggest impact came late into the game in stoppage time, as a cross from Megan Rapinoe on the wing found itself to her feet. After taking two quick touches, Pugh passed the ball between a South African defender’s legs and found Carli Lloyd who quickly finished the chance. Pugh has made a total of 51 appearances for the U.S. since her debut in 2016.
The US improves to a 5-1-2 record in 2019 with all but one of those games coming against World Cup-bound teams. The USWNT will travel east to St. Louis, Missouri, for their next match to play New Zealand on May 16 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2).
New Zealand will be a test for the U.S., as they qualified for the 2019 World Cup by claiming the Oceania Women’s Cup, outscoring its opponents 43-0 over a five-game span.