The U.S. women’s national team scored a 4-0 win Wednesday against New Zealand thanks in large part to several key second-half substitutes, who helped open up the team’s offense.
After a shaky start, a dominant performance in the final 45 minutes secured the team its first victory to open a World Cup year since 1999.
Trinity Rodman proved one of the biggest substitutions of the match. After she came on for Midge Purce to start the second half, she provided assists on the USWNT’s first goal, from Mallory Swanson, and the final goal, from Lynn Williams.
The assists were the first and second of her national team career. Rodman, at 20 years and 243 days old, is the youngest player to have multiple assists in a single game for the USWNT since Swanson did so at 18 years old in 2017.
Ashley Sanchez also made an assist on a Swanson goal after entering in the 61st minute for Rose Lavelle. The 23-year-old midfielder’s long pass shot through defenders and found Swanson for the team’s third goal of the night.
Ashley Sanchez times a perfect pass for Mal Swanson to score her second of the night!#USWNT #NZLvUSApic.twitter.com/Ywq2b1kPbV— Women’s Sports Exchange (@wsportsxchange) January 18, 2023
Ashley Sanchez times a perfect pass for Mal Swanson to score her second of the night!#USWNT #NZLvUSApic.twitter.com/Ywq2b1kPbV
Andi Sullivan came on in place of Taylor Kornieck at halftime, which enabled the team’s midfield to open up a bit and break down the New Zealand defenders. With Sullivan, the team could run its attack up the middle of the field, which also enabled her fellow midfielder Lindsey Horan to take a more central approach.
In a related story, Lindsey Horan was more central in the second half... pic.twitter.com/SSwDtdl8Aa— Paul Carr (@PaulCarr) January 18, 2023
In a related story, Lindsey Horan was more central in the second half... pic.twitter.com/SSwDtdl8Aa
Lynn Williams, too, shined off the bench. In her return from injury, the 29-year-old forward entered in the 67th minute and soon after scored a header off a perfectly placed cross from Rodman.
USWNT players acknowledged the importance of the second-half adjustments after the win.
“We had to find the ball a little more in between their seams and get a little bit more in the middle for them to collapse and then find our wingers,” Rose Lavelle said after the game. “Tough first half for us, obviously some things to clean up, but a really good response.”