For the first time in eight months, 261 days to be exact, the U.S. Women’s National Team took the field on Friday. The team didn’t miss a beat, coming away with a 2-0 win against the Netherlands. In 2020, the U.S. picked up a win in all nine of their matches, eight of which were clean sheets.
Rose Lavelle opened the scoring in the 41st minute with an assist from Christen Press. The midfielder placed a rocket into the top left corner from the top of the box. In the 71st minute, the U.S. got its insurance goal thanks to Kristie Mewis. Lynn Williams took a nice first touch to get the ball to K. Mewis placed the ball into the far post past Dutch keeper, Sari van Veenendaal.
Going into this game, I don’t think there were high expectations for this team from a viewer standpoint because of the long hiatus. We expect the USWNT to win games, but the reality is that they haven’t played a game together in eight months. Some of these players called up haven’t seen much game action all year because of the pandemic; it was pretty unclear on how the game was going to go.
The Netherlands is ranked No. 4 in the world and has been playing international games. It was expected that the Netherlands be in better form, but that didn’t seem to be the case. It’s fair to say that the U.S. controlled this game from start to finish. The U.S. dominated in the shots department with a 14-2 advantage. The Netherlands failed to force Alyssa Naeher to make a save with 0 shots on goal.
Two players saw their first action with the USWNT in the second half of the match. Sophia Smith, the first teenager drafted in the NWSL, became the first player born in 2000 to feature for the USWNT when she checked into the match in the 75th minute. Jaelin Howell also earned her first cap, coming in for Samantha Mewis in the 89th minute. Howell had quite the last two weeks, helping to lead Florida State to an undefeated season and an ACC Championship to earning her first cap with the senior national team.
Dream return for Kristie Mewis
For the first time since March 7, 2014, Kristie and Sam Mewis were on the field for the USWNT together. Sam started the game and played 89 minutes while Kristie subbed into the match in the 61st minute.
In a year where we haven’t had a lot of good, we got to witness the comeback of Kristie Mewis. Kristie’s story is incredible, when she tore her ACL in 2018, many thought that her chance to get back on the national team was gone, but she proved everyone wrong and has been better than ever. She was arguably one of the best players in the NWSL the past two seasons, especially this year.
To cap off her terrific last two years, she made her first appearance for the USWNT on March 10, 2014. The icing on the cake came when Kristie scored her second international goal just nine minutes into her return. The goal came 2,722 days after her first goal.
There is a real possibility that Kristie will crack into the midfield for the Olympics next year if she keeps playing at the top of her game.
Alex Morgan is back
At the start of the second half, Morgan made her first appearance for the U.S. since the 2019 World Cup final. She became the 12th mother to take the field for the USWNT. Morgan almost sealed her return with a goal, but the striker was called offside. The appearance was Morgan’s 170th for the U.S.