Mallory Pugh

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USWNT rides brace from super sub Morgan to big win (video)

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Alex Morgan scored two goals, the second with gusto, as the United States women’s national team hammered New Zealand 5-0 at Nippert Stadium in a Tuesday night friendly.

After Cincinnati native Rose Lavelle made a 30-minute cameo in her return from injury, the USWNT poured forth with goals.

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Coming off the bench, Morgan scored within a minute of her second half introduction.

And then, after an electric dribble from Mallory Pugh, Morgan rang an aesthetically-pleasing rocket off the proverbial woodwork to make it 5-0.

Press gives USWNT 1-0 victory in Norway; Pugh injured

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SANDEFJORD, Norway (AP) Christen Press scored to help the U.S. national team beat Norway 1-0 on Sunday.

Press broke through in the 60th minute. It was her 42nd international goal.

19-year-old Mallory Pugh injured her ankle in warmups, according to U.S. Soccer. She was replaced in the starting lineup by Meghan Klingenberg.

Midfielder Rose Lavelle appeared to injure her hamstring late in the game and gingerly walked off the field. Lavelle was replaced by Carli Lloyd, who did not start against Norway after playing in a 1-0 victory over Sweden on Thursday, the first stop on the two-game European Tour.

Several players did not make the trip because of injury, including Morgan Brian (knee), Tobin Heath (back) Alex Morgan (hamstring) and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (quad).

Norway, ranked No. 11 in the world, has had the most success historically against the Americans with 19 wins. The previous meeting occurred in the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal, when Lloyd scored twice in the second half for a 2-1 U.S. victory.

The U.S. women, the reigning Women’s World Cup champions, have won four straight after a two-game losing streak. Those two losses, in the SheBelieves Cup tournament, were the first consecutive losses in the United States for the team in 17 years.

The second-ranked Americans will next play on home soil in the Tournament of Nations, opening the four-team multi-city event with Brazil on July 27 in Seattle.

USWNT’s Mallory Pugh signs with NWSL’s Washington Spirit

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It’s officially official: Mallory Pugh is a professional soccer player.

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Pugh, the U.S. women’s national team’s 19-year-old budding superstar, announced last month that she was leaving UCLA before having played a single game of college soccer, in favor of going pro.

The next three weeks would be full of speculation over where Pugh would play this season. Her preference was the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, but the Washington Spirit held the no. 1 spot in the NWSL Distribution Ranking Order, meaning they were first in line to acquire Pugh’s services. Paris Saint-Germain was also a possibility, as the French club offered Pugh a contract to head overseas.

In the end, Washington’s big bet paid off — in hopes of this exact scenario playing out, they traded away the majority of their assets during the offseason in order to move into the top spot in the allocation order.

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“This is a monumental moment for our club and the NWSL,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in a press release. “We are extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity to develop such a talented player. We look forward to having Mallory join the Spirit family.”

“I am very excited to begin my career in the NWSL and with the Washington Spirit,” said Pugh. “Being part of a professional team will allow me to grow and develop as a player, and I look forward to helping the Spirit win championships.”

USWNT’s Mallory Pugh leaves UCLA to pursue professional career

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Mallory Pugh never actually played a game at UCLA because the U.S. Women’s National Team forward has bigger sights on her agenda.

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The 18-year-old announced on Tuesday that she will forgo her collegiate career at the Pac-12 school in order to pursue her professional career.

“UCLA is such a special place, and being a Bruin was an incredible thing. UCLA Soccer brought amazing things to my life, and chasing after a national championship with my friends and teammates would’ve been special, but I could not turn down this opportunity,” Pugh said in a statement.

The next step in her career is unknown at the moment, with the NWSL and foreign leagues both sound options at this stage.

The Washington Spirit currently hold the top spot in the NWSL’s allocation order, essentially making the club a prime suspect to claim Pugh if she pursues a domestic career. However, France is also seen as a top option for the youngster, including European powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon, with both clubs having boasted USWNT talent both currently and in the past.

Pugh has become a household name with Jill Ellis’ USWNT since earning her first cap in 2016. Since then, the teenager has played in 22 matches with the Stars and Stripes and has scored four goals in the process.

USWNT carves up Russia in 4-0 bounce-back win

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The United States women bounced back from the disappointing SheBelieves Cup by obliterating 25th-ranked Russia 4-0 in Frisco, TX on Thursday.

Jill Ellis deployed a striker-less lineup, and it worked to perfection as the USWNT launched devastating attack after devastating attack that proved far too much for Russia to handle. Allie Long and Crystal Dunn both picked up a brace in the win.

It took just 10 minutes for the United States to open the scoring, with Dunn striking one from a tight angle that went off Russian goalkeeper Alena Beliaeva’s hand and into the back of the net. Long doubled the lead 18 minutes later with a glancing header from point-blank range that left Beliaeva with no chance.

21-year-old Rose Lavelle was a force to be reckoned with on the right wing, leaving flummoxed defenders in her wake and firing pinpoint crosses into the six-yard box. She nutmegged defenders twice, once on the end-line and once with a ridiculous back-heel pass on Long’s first-half miss. Lavelle did get her first career international assist, feeding Long on her first goal.

The first-half scoreline was not indicative of how dominant the US was through the first 45 minutes, with Long and Mallory Pugh both missing easy chances that would have increased the lead further. They finally tacked on a third before halftime Dunn picked the pocket of Russian defender Daria Makarenko and poked home in the 42nd minute. Carli Lloyd also hit the post seconds before the break.

Through the opening half, the US ripped off 14 shots and held 70% possession, and it felt like far more than that. After halftime, the US continued to pummel Russia with Alex Morgan on for Carli Lloyd, but the finishing disappeared. Long had another glaring miss in the opening minutes of the second half, and then she missed a chance from the penalty spot. Morgan and Pugh combined to earn the spot-kick, but Long blasted it well over the bar. Becky Sauerbrunn also narrowly missed a stunner from acres outside the box, with her low drive missing agonizingly left of the net.

The US finally converted after the break as Long did what she does best, finding herself unmarked in the area and heading home powerfully off a brilliant deep cross from Pugh. Christen Press missed a chance for a fifth moments later, poking wide right on a breakaway.

All told, the US peppered the Russian net with 33 shots, but only got seven on target in what seemed to be an off-night in front of goal even with the lop-sided scoreline. They also earned a massive 16 corners, a huge total compared to Russia’s two. The win sees the USWNT bounce back from the SheBelieves Cup where they lost a pair of games and saw their #1 World FIFA ranking slip away.