Different-looking squad, same result.
It wasn’t exactly a 13-0 thumping like last week against Thailand, but the United States Women’s National Team made easy work of Chile with a 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon.
The result clinched their place in the Round of 16 and helped the US reclaim first place in Group F after Sweden temporarily went to the top after their win against Thailand.
Manager Jill Ellis made seven changes from the team that thrashed Thailand last week. She had a completely different starting trio in attack with Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh, and Christen Press in for Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, and Megan Rapinoe.
Lloyd was keen on showing that she can still carry the US attack after being designated as a substitute before the tournament, recording two goals on the day.
She made her presence felt almost immediately, getting the Americans off the mark in the 11th minute.
The 36-year-old New Jersey native cannoned home a left-footed volley from just inside the 18-yard box to put the US ahead. Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler was rooted to her spot and could only watch as Lloyd’s shot nestled into the back of the net.
It was a historic tally for Lloyd, who became the first player to ever score a goal in six-straight games at the Women’s World Cup.
It could have been much more for the US had it not been for Endler. Her numerous dazzling saves served as a reminder that she is one of the best in the world. In total, she turned away six American shots in one of the most impressive displays of goalkeeping at the tournament so far.
Endler, however, couldn’t keep out Julie Ertz’s powerful header off a corner in the 26th minute. With her back toward goal, Ertz was able to direct a well-hit corner by Tierna Davidson inside the near post off Endler’s hands and in.
Eight minutes later, Lloyd picked up her second off another corner from Davidson to put the US in the driver’s seat for good.
The US had its fair share of chances in the second half to turn the affair into a blowout, but Endler robbed Press three times while Lloyd missed a penalty for her hat trick.
Among Ellis’ other changes, Ertz went back into her holding midfield role while bringing the veteran center back Becky Sauerbrunn back into the fold. The defense looked strong yet again as Chile could muster just one single attempt toward the US goal. Zero were on target.
With one remaining match in the group stage, the US will meet Sweden on Thursday to decide the winner of Group F. Due to their superior goal difference, the US will need either a draw or win to get the top spot.
Sweden has a history against the US and will be considered the Americans’ first real test of the World Cup. Ranked ninth in the world, Sweden knocked the US out of the Olympics at the quarterfinal stage back in 2016.