Women’s World Cup 2023: USA opens search for third straight title with win over Vietnam

Unsurprisingly, it was all USA on Friday night (or Saturday afternoon if you were at the game).

The scoreline didn’t look like it, but there’s a reason sportsbooks wouldn’t even allow punters to place bets on the USWNT in their first Women’s World Cup game.

The United States defeated Vietnam, 3-0, on Friday night in Auckland, New Zealand, as they began their quest for a treble.

Sophia Smith found the back of the net in the 14th minute with her left foot to open the scoring, and it would take the US a while to score again: Alex Morgan’s 44th-minute penalty was even saved to keep the game one-goal, but Smith scored again just before half to put the US up two.

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Sophia Smith #11 of the United States celebrates scoring with Crystal Dunn #19 and Savannah DeMelo #9 during the first half of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group E match between the USA and Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images)

Although it was not a rush on the scoreboard at the beginning, the United States narrowly missed goals several times in the first half, and they were still clearly the better team. Vietnam had possession just 34% of the time completing 53% of their passes – USA finished 82% of their plates in the first half.

USWNT celebrates the goal

USA midfielder Lindsey Horan (10) celebrates with forward Megan Rapinoe (15) and midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) after scoring a goal in the second half of a 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage match at Eden Park. (Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports)

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It was also more of the same in the second half. It was far from their fairest game on the field, but luckily for them, it was a bit of a tune-up: Georgia vs. The Citadel, if you will.

After captain Lindsay Horan scored the team’s third goal of the day in the 77th minute, she walked up to a nearby camera and flashed the US Soccer logo on her jersey.

The United States recorded 28 shots, seven of them on target; Vietnam had none.

In all, the USWNT maintained possession 66% of the time and completed 79% of their passes; Vietnam pass accuracy was only 49%. The United States bested Vietnam, 9-0.

Realistically the scoreline could and should have looked a bit different, but a win is a win and it’s a good start.

Sophia Smith and Lindsey Horan

Sophia Smith #11 of the United States celebrates scoring with Lindsey Horan #10 during the first half of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group E match between the USA and Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images)

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The USWNT returns to action on Wednesday when they take on the Netherlands at 9 pm (they will finish the group stage on August 1 against Portugal). Set alarms for 3am start