Most are expecting the gold-medal favorite U.S. women’s national team to show its true colors against the weakest team in Group G, No. 22-ranked New Zealand, after the Americans suffered a humbling 3-0 loss to Sweden in their opener. In the lead-up to the game, the players were also sending strong hints that a fierce reaction is in the cards.
The USWNT has a 15-1-1 all-time record against New Zealand, so the final score is not in doubt here. But a convincing performance, and a haul of goals to address the current -3 goal difference in the standings, is the ultimate measure of success in the game.
With Sweden beating Australia 4-2 in the other Group G match and moving to six points, first place looks to be out of reach for the USWNT barring a massive upset on the final matchday. But Australia showed it will not be a pushover for second place when the Aussies and Americans meet on July 27.
WATCH: Stream USWNT vs. New Zealand on fuboTV (free 7-day trial)
Sporting News will be providing updates, highlights and commentary throughout the match below.
USWNT vs. New Zealand live score
USA – Rose Lavelle (Tobin Heath) – 9th min
USA – Lindsey Horan (Julie Ertz) – 45th min
(All times Eastern)
Halftime Score: USWNT 2, New Zealand 0
45th min.: Just when it looked like New Zealand was gaining in confidence, the USA scores a second. A corner kick was headed into the six-yard box by Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan nodded it home from close range.
43rd min.: New Zealand again close to scoring! Cross from the right and Wilkinson heads just wide. She got away from U.S. defender Abby Dahlkemper and looked to have the ‘keeper beat on her effort. The Ferns are still in this.
34th min.: Wait. A fourth disallowed goal! This time it’s Lindsey Horan heading home a beautiful delivery into the box, but she was ruled offside.
31st min.: Make that three disallowed goals. This time it’s Rapinoe scoring from the middle of the box, but Carli Lloyd was offside on her run in behind just before delivering the pass.
27th min.: A second U.S. goal is called back. Tobin Heath sends a Crystal Dunn cross into the back of the net, but Dunn was offside on her run down the left.
23rd min.: After a Rapinoe corner, Carli Lloyd wins a header in the box, but there’s no one there to finish it off and New Zealand escape.
19th min.: Fantastic passing from the USA between Sonnett, Heath, Horan and Lavelle with the latter getting the shot off. But it hits side netting.
17th min.: New Zealand’s Wilkinson again dangerous with a header that’s nodded just wide.
15th min.: Carli Lloyd beats the ‘keeper with a deft touch, but it’s scratched for an offside position.
9th min.: There it is. Rose Lavelle opens the scoring. She makes a run from midfield in behind and Tobin Heath feeds her the ball. Lavelle is unmarked and easily beats the ‘keeper.
8th min.: Rapinoe responds by ripping a shot high of the crossbar for the USA.
7th min.: Wow! New Zealand’s Wilkinson with the first shot on goal of the match. And U.S. ‘keeper Alyssa Naeher has to dive to stop it and pick up the loose ball.
3rd min.: The USWNT with a flurry of activity in the box, but the 20-year-old New Zealand ‘keeper snags it.
1st min.: We’re underway in Saitama.
7 a.m.: Helps it’s a 7:30 a.m. start on the East coast. Feel for the fans out west:
6:12 a.m.: Here’s the team that’s going to need to get it done for the USWNT:
USWNT vs. New Zealand starting lineups
With matches just three days apart, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski is giving a break to regular starters Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Sam Mewis and Christen Press for the match against New Zealand.
His New Zealand counterpart, Tom Sermanni, makes two changes from the starting lineup that lost 2-1 to Australia in its opener: Goalkeeper Anna Leat replaces Erin Nayler, who was arguably at fault on both Australia goals, while Daisy Cleverley comes in at midfield.
Starters (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Alyssa Naeher — 2-Crystal Dunn, 12-Tierna Davidson, 17-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Emily Sonnett — 9-Lindsey Horan, 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle — 15-Megan Rapinoe, 10-Carli Lloyd, 7-Tobin Heath
Substitutes: 22-Jane Campbell-GK, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 20-Casey Krueger, 3-Samantha Mewis, 19-Catarina Macario, 11-Christen Press, 13-Alex Morgan
Sitting out: 18-Adrianna Franch-GK, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Kristie Mewis, 21-Lynn Williams
Starters (4-5-1, left to right): 18-Anna Leat-GK — 7-Ali Riley, 8-Abby Erceg, 5-Meikayla Moore, 4-C.J. Bott — 11-Olivia Chance, 2-Ria Percival, 14-Katie Bowen, 15-Daisy Cleverley, 12-Betsy Hassett — 17-Hannah Wilkinson
Substitutes: 1-Erin Nayler-GK, 3-Anna Green, 6-Claudia Bunge, 10-Annalie Longo, 16-Emma Rolston, 13-Paige Satchell, 9-Gabbie Rennie
Sitting out: 22-Victoria Esson-GK, 19-Elizabeth Anton, 20-Marisa Van der Meer, 21-Michaela Robertson
How to watch USWNT vs. New Zealand Olympic soccer
The USA’s second Group G match will air at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN in Engish and on Telemundo in Spanish. Both channels are available to stream on fuboTV (free 7-day trial) .
As with all Olympic soccer matches, they can be streamed in the USA on NBCOlympics.com, TelemundoDeportes.com, NBC Sports app and the Telemundo Deportes app — all with user authentication.
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