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.