It took a while — 54 minutes, to be exact — but the U.S. women’s national team found a way to overcome a sluggish performance and move to six out of six points, top of Group B, at the 2015 Algarve Cup with a 3-0 victory over Switzerland on Friday.
Following a first half in which the USWNT created little — and allowed very little as well, to be fair — the Americans sprang to life in the second half, hitting the Swiss with three goals in 27 minutes, the kind of scoring outburst once common for the USMNT, but rarely seen in recent months and years.
Alex Morgan scored the first, getting on the end of a perfectly placed ball over the top from Lauren Holiday. Morgan headed downward, beating the goalkeeper and the sense of relief was visible on the face of her USWNT teammates.
Amy Rodriguez doubled the lead in the 72nd minute with a sequence of quick, concise touches inside the Swiss penalty area. Rodriguez received the ball near the top of the six-yard box, with no clear shooting path. Rather than fire a shot into the wall of defenders and ‘keeper, she shielded the ball from the nearest defender, created space with a quick turn and lifted the ball over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
Abby Wambach provided the insurance goal with a chip of the ‘keeper from the corner of the 18-yard box in the 81st minute. Wambach recovered a wayward Swiss back-pass not far outside the box, took one touch and chipped the ‘keeper who by this point was rushing out to close down Wambach. No such luck, as the ball sailed high and nestled inside the far post.
The USWNT returns to action on Monday, when they’ll face Iceland in the final game of Group B before moving on to either the first- or third-place game later next week.