HOUSTON (AP) After dropping two straight at the SheBelieves tournament, the U.S. women’s national team rebounded with two dominant performances.
Crystal Dunn had two goals for the second straight game, helping the U.S. cruise to a 5-1 win over Russia in an international friendly Sunday.
“It’s important for us to regroup,” Dunn said. “We were all disappointed with SheBelieves results, but it’s all about the journey into World Cup, so 2018 is what we are setting out for.”
Dunn scored in the 38th minute off a pass from Meghan Klingenberg before opening the second half with her fourth goal in the two Russian friendlies off a pass from Mallory Pugh.
“She’s been fantastic,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said of Dunn. “I committed to going into these games playing her central and high. … We can play into her feet, we can play her into space. She’s scoring goals, so I think she’s in a really good spot leaving here.”
Carli Lloyd and Rose Lavelle also scored in the United States’ dominant performance. The Americans had a 21-2 advantage in shots and attempted 15 corner kicks to one by Russia.
“Things I liked, I thought the mobility of our front group and interplay was good,” Ellis said. “I think today it took a while to get going, but once it did, I was pleased with that.”
Lloyd, who plays in Houston for the NWSL’s Dash, opened the scoring in the 20th minute with her 97th career national team goal, converting a penalty kick inside the near post. Dunn set up the PK after being taken down in the box going for a loose ball.
Lavelle followed with her first career national team goal in fourth cap in the 37th minute, taking a cross-field forward pass from Pugh on the far side for a short breakaway and scoring inside the near post. Pugh’s two assists were her first multi-assist game as a member of the women’s national team.
“We wanted to redeem ourselves,” Lavelle said. “SheBelieves didn’t go the way we would have liked to. We were hungry to get back on the field and prove ourselves and get some in the back of the net.”
The U.S., ranked second in the world behind Germany and playing its last friendly until traveling to Sweden on June 8, also beat Russia 4-0 on Thursday at the home of MLS’ FC Dallas in suburban Dallas.
Overall, Ellis said she was pleased with the camp and the response from the team following the two straight losses.
“Anytime you lose, the next game you’re looking for a response and to see where people are at,” Ellis said. “This team doesn’t lose very much so people are like `Oh.’ Yes, the results are there and they make you feel good, but what answers do you get and how do you get tested? Those are important pieces for me.”
Russia cut the lead to 3-1 with a Nadesha Karpova penalty kick in the 42nd minute, but the Americans regained the three-goal advantage when Lloyd’s header off Lavelle’s corner kick went off Ksenia Kovalenko’s leg for an own goal.