The United States Women’s National Team took full advantage of an opportunity to make an opening statement at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, rolling through minnows Thailand 13-0 on Tuesday.
The blowout was the USWNT’s largest win ever at the tournament, eclipsing the 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals of the 1991 World Cup, and the largest victory ever at the competition.
Alex Morgan led the US onslaught with four goals, a triumphant return to the World Cup after being hampered with injuries during the 2015 competition. She had three career World Cup goals entering Tuesday evening.
She joins American Michelle Akers as the only player in Women’s World Cup history to score at least four goals in a single match. Akers pulled off the feat in that rout of Chinese Taipei 28 years ago.
The California native received plenty of support with braces (two goals) from Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis while Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh, and Carli Lloyd added on to the American dominance.
Morgan — who is healthy at a World Cup after being limited in 2015 — got the US on the board in the 12th minute when she headed in a perfect cross by Kelley O’Hara. It was Morgan’s fourth goal in her World Cup career.
It came just moments after Morgan initially had a goal wiped away in the fifth minute due to an offsides call following a brilliant long-range cross from center back Abby Dahlkemper. Had Morgan not touched it, the initial header from Lindsey Horan likely would have rolled in.
The midfield magician Lavelle doubled the Americans’ lead in the 20th minute with a cannon of a left-footed shot from 25 yards out, the low chance fizzing through the fingertips of Thailand keeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying.
It was a moment of firsts for the Cincinnati, OH native, as she scored her first World Cup goal in her first World Cup game.
Lindsey Horan closed out the United States’ scoring in the first half, cleaning up a deflection in front of the Thai goal off a driven ball sent in by a Tobin Heath free kick from just outside in the 32nd minute.
The US didn’t take its foot off the pedal in the second half, grabbing a fourth in the 50th minute when Mewis’ deflected shot snuck inside the left post. Not only was it Mewis’ first-ever World Cup goal, but it was also the 800th goal ever scored at the Women’s World Cup.
Her goal sparked a raucous four-goal explosion that took all of six minutes to make the game an embarrassment for Thailand.
It was all repeat scorers as Morgan, Mewis, and Lavelle got on the scoresheet to make it 7-0 by the 56th minute.
Morgan would complete her hat trick in the 74th minute, opening up enough space with a rollback cut to get the ball on her right foot at the top of the box for a clean finish into the bottom left corner.
She would add two more in the 81st and 87th minutes to complete her historic night while capping off another explosive run that saw five goals in total scored in that 13-minute span.
The 10 goals in the second half were the most scored during that span in World Cup history.
While a lopsided score may seem harsh — forcing some to implore the US to take their foot off the pedal — every goal counts. With goal-differential being the main tie-breaker in group play, a plus-nine mark puts the United States well atop Sweden in Group F play.
The USWNT is next in action on Sunday against Chile while Thailand meets Sweden.