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PHOTO © Howard C. Smith/U.S. Soccer – Carli Lloyd scored for the second consecutive match when she gave the USA a 2-0 advantage against New Zealand.
SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 27, 2013) – In another well-rounded effort for the U.S. Women’s National Team, the No. 1-ranked team in the world scored three first-half goals to earn its seventh straight victory with a 4-1 win against New Zealand in the first-ever women’s sporting event at Candlestick Park.
Carli Lloyd moved into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time U.S. WNT goal scoring list, while Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Heather O’Reilly each contributed a goal to highlight a strong outing against a gritty New Zealand team in front of 16,315 fans.
The U.S. next heads to Columbus, Ohio, to finish the two-game set against New Zealand on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Columbus Crew Stadium (kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET). The game will be streamed live on ussoccer.com. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.
Rapinoe, making her first appearance since the USA’s 5-0 win against the Korea Republic on June 20, was active on the left flank early on, but it was a direct free kick that allowed her to stake the Americans to a lead just seven minutes into the match.
Rapinoe earned the foul herself when she was chopped down about 23 yards out above the left side of the penalty area. She smoothly drove the ball over New Zealand’s four-woman wall and just inside the near left post. The goal was Rapinoe’s fourth of the year and 23rd of her WNT career.
Lloyd doubled the lead in the 12th minute when she intercepted the ball from New Zealand’s defense, powered her dribble into the right side of the penalty area and blasted her shot past New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler at the near post. Lloyd’s third goal of the year was the 46th in her career and she passed Julie Foudy (45 goals) on the all-time scoring list. Lloyd also becomes the all-time leading U.S. WNT goal scorer among players who have played exclusively midfield.
Four minutes before halftime, the U.S. made it 3-0 as Press and O’Reilly played a give-and-go at the top of the penalty area. The ball was poked away from O’Reilly in the box, but it rolled right to press, who hit a well-placed shot to the lower left corner of the goal. It was her eighth score in 11 appearances, all coming this year.
U.S. goalkeepers Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart split time in the net. Solo made two saves in 45 minutes of shutout work, most notably stuffing a Hannah Wilkinson shot at the left post in the 34th minute.
Wilkinson got New Zealand on the score sheet in the 54th minute to end the USA’s shutout streak at 387 minutes and cut the U.S. lead to 3-1. Barnhart stopped Wilkinson’s initial shot with nice kick save, but Wilkinson was on top of the rebound and struck the ball into the left side of the goal from eight yards out.
In the waning moments of the match, O’Reilly scored her first goal of 2013 and the 37th of her career to complete the 4-1 score line. Press found O’Reilly in the right corner the box and she evaded a defender before hitting a beautiful curling left-footed strike that found the inside of the far left post.
With the victory, the USA improved to 12-0-2 in 2013, with the draws coming against European champion Germany and Sweden.