Own-goal hat trick leads USWNT over New Zealand 5-0

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Meikayla Moore scored a hat trick of own goals against the USWNT.

A perfect hat trick entirely in the first half: left foot, right foot and header.

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“She had a tough day at the office,” New Zealand coach Jitka Klimkova said after the Americans won 5-0 in Sunday’s SheBelieves Cup match.

Ashley Hatch and Mallory Pugh scored second-half goals for the USWNT, which is preparing for World Cup qualifying in July. The Americans extended their home unbeaten streak to 64 games, which includes seven draws.

Moore, a 25-year-old Liverpool defender, was on New Zealand’s 2015 World Cup roster but didn’t get into a match, then missed the 2019 World Cup following an Achilles injury. Making her 50th international appearance, she was replaced in the 40th minute.

The USWNT had never before benefitted from three own goals in a single match.

Sophia Smith’s cross into the penalty area deflected off Moore’s right leg and past goalkeeper Erin Nayler in the fifth minute, stopping a 181-minute scoreless streak.

Just 82 seconds later, Sofia Huerta’s pass into the center of the area went off Moore’s head and in.

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Then in the 36th minute, Margaret Purce’s cross hit Moore’s left leg 4 yards out and beat Nayler. The USWNT had only twice received two own goals, in a February 2014 exhibition against Russia and from New Zealand at the Olympics last July.

“Obviously, she’s sad and disappointed, but she’s an unbelievable person and player who belongs on this team,” Klimkova said. “We are all behind her in this tough moment for her.”

USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said he thought Moore was in the right position to defend on all three own goals.

Alyssa Naeher made one save for the USWNT in her first match for club or country since Aug. 2, 2021, when she injured her right knee during the Olympic semifinal against Canada, forcing her from the game in the 30th minute.

Naeher was one of six changes in the starting lineup from Thursday.

Andonovski is evaluating younger players during the four-team round-robin tournament. Stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Tobin Heath are not on the roster.

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“We’re excited about the win. They needed to see goals and that’s good. We’re hoping that this is just the beginning,” Andonovski said. “I thought that we were we were able to impose ourselves early on and set up a rhythm of pace that that suits us.”

Hatch entered at the start of the second half scored her third goal in the last three games for the national team in the 50th minute on a header from the center of the box from Huerta’s cross.

“We’ve been working on swinging the ball around to our outside backs and our wingers and making sure that we’re available in the box,” Hatch said, “Laid a nice one across the face of the goal and I was able to head it in. So good cross and easy finish.”

Pugh scored in stoppage time, splitting two defenders on a breakaway in the 93rd minute for her first international goal since Oct. 3, 2019.

New Zealand’s best opportunity came in the 32nd minute when Olivia Chance’s shot from the penalty area went wide.

The tournament concludes Wednesday in Frisco, Texas, with the USWNT taking on Iceland, while New Zealand faces the Czechs.