Lynn Williams

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USWNT opens Olympic qualifying with win over Haiti

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The USWNT was rusty, that much was clear. Vlatko Andonovski still made sure they took care of business.

Four different goalscorers delivered a 4-0 victory over Haiti to begin CONCACAF Olympic qualification, putting the United States in front of Group A early. Lynn Williams picked up a goal and assist, proving useful on an otherwise sputtery evening for Vlatko Andonovski’s attack.

Just 78 seconds into the game, Williams charged down the right flank and crossed to Christen Press at the far post for the opening goal. Williams’ assist came without the use of her left shoe which she lost while holding off a defender for the bobbling ball.

Despite the early lead, the United States seemed somewhat sluggish as Haiti built themselves into the match. There were few chances on net after the opening goal through the half-hour mark.

Haiti nearly caught the U.S. napping on a corner as the ball found the back of the net on 20 minutes, but the goal was somehow ruled out. It appeared to be for offside, but since it’s impossible to be offside from a corner, there must have been another reason for the official ruling. Nonetheless, it was a clear sign for the USWNT that they needed to pick up the level of play.

The U.S. continued to struggle after halftime, creating very little in front of net. There was a half-chance for Lloyd near the penalty spot but a quality tackle by Kethna Louis put that to bed. Then finally they put the game to bed on a corner, not coincidentally coming just five minutes after Megan Rapinoe entered the fray. Rapinoe delivered a corner to the doorstep where Williams headed in well under pressure, moving her upper body away from goal against the motion of her lower body to reach the delivery.

Another Andonovski substitute paid dividends however as Lindsey Horan scored, again coming off a corner. They played it short and Horan headed from a significant distance out, the ball squirting past the goalkeeper Kerly Theus and Louis who tried to clear off the line. It was clear that Haiti had begun to tire and the USWNT was taking advantage. Up front, Carli Lloyd had a poor game, unable to get involved in attacking play, but she found the scoresheet in stoppage time, bagging a header off a Rapinoe cross in the 93rd minute to finish out the scoring.

Emily Sonnett replaced Kelley O’Hara with 10 minutes to go for Andonovski’s final change, and the USWNT saw the rest of the match out. They have two matches remaining before the knockout stage, set to take on Panama on Friday before the group stage finale against Costa Rica on February 3. The top two teams in the group reach the knockout phase with the semifinals to begin on February 7.

USWNT opens SheBelieves Cup with win over Germany

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The U.S. Women’s National Team kicked off its 2017 with a win over one of the world’s top-ranked sides in Philadelphia.

[ MORE: A closer look at NYCFC, Red Bulls ahead of MLS season ]

Jill Ellis’ side gathered a 1-0 win over world number two Germany at Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday evening.

[ MORE: MLS 2017 Eastern Conference preview ]

It took nearly an hour for the U.S. to get on the board, but a brilliant forward run from Christen Press helped set up the opener for Ellis’ side.

Press dispossessed a German defender in the 56th minute, before cutting in on her left foot and blasting a shot off the crossbar. Lynn Williams was in the right place at the right time to gather the ball in the center of the box, and put it away to give the Americans a 1-0 advantage.

The goal for Williams was her third since earning her first call up with the USWNT in 2016.

Williams nearly doubled the lead for the USWNT 12 minutes later, after gathering the ball in the Germany half, spinning off of a defender and running in on goal. However, the North Carolina Courage forward couldn’t find a quality final product and blasted her effort well over the net.

Germany struggled to break down the American backline for much of the night, however, the visitors outshot the U.S. four to two with efforts on target.

The SheBelieves Cup consists of four teams — the USWNT, Germany, France and England. The USWNT will be back in action on Saturday when they host England at Red Bull Arena.

France won its opening match against England on Wednesday, 2-1, which was also played at Chester’s Talen Energy Stadium.

Lynn Williams scores 49 seconds into debut; USWNT tops Swiss 4-0

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SANDY, Utah (AP) Lynn Williams scored 49 seconds into her national team debut, and Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Samantha Mewis added goals to lead the U.S. over Switzerland 4-0 in an exhibition game Wednesday night.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USWNT coverage ]

U.S. coach Jill Ellis gave five players debuts as the Americans retool ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Stanford junior midfielder Andi Sullivan and Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Short started, and Williams, a Western NY forward, entered at the start of the second half. Western NY defender Abby Dahlkemper followed in the 72nd minute and Legends FC forward Ashley Hatch in the 76th.

“They deserved some playing time based on how they trained,” Ellis said. “That’s the messaging – how well you do in training gets you playing time. Switzerland is a good team. To come in and be as impactful as they were is a real testament to our potential future with this group.”

[ MORE: Jermaine Jones ready to return after gruesome knee injury ]

The 23-year-old Williams, this year’s National Women’s Soccer League MVP and leading scorer, dashed past a defender, then drew out goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann and threaded the ball inside a post in the 46th to put the Americans ahead. Williams became the 20th American woman to score in her international debut.

“At the end of the day, it’s soccer and it’s supposed to be fun, so I just tried to make it fun,” Williams said. “In that moment, I was thinking `Get a goal.'”

Heath doubled the lead in the 61st off Crystal Dunn’s cross, her 17th international goal and fifth this year. Press tapped in Kelley O’ Hara’s pass in the 69th for her 36th international goal, and Mewis scored with a header in the 76th.

The U.S. and Switzerland play another exhibition Sunday at Minneapolis.

Men In Blazers podcast: Arlo White talks Bob Bradley, Lynn Williams discusses NWSL title

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Rog and Davo are joined by Arlo White to preview Bob Bradley’s Swansea City debut at Arsenal and this weekend’s big Premier League storylines.

Plus, NWSL MVP Lynn Williams talks the Western New York Flash’s championship season and her first USWNT call up.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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