Alex Morgan Tallies Fourth-Career Hat Trick; Has Team-Leading Nine Goals in 2018;
USA opens 2018 Tournament of Nations with exhilarating 4-2 win against Japan in front of 18,467 fans!
USA Women’s National Team opened its 2018 Tournament of Nations schedule with a dominant 4-2 win against its biggest rival of the last decade, Japan, in front of a rocking crowd of 18,467 on a warm Thursday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
The first few minutes of play saw both teams go back-and-forth, with each having a few chances to break through and push forward. In the 18th minute, the USA struck first, with a textbook play between Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan for the opening score of the match. Japan however, responded quickly two minutes later with a quality chance, finding open space up front and chipping a ball over U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to tie the match.
Ten minutes later, it was Morgan again who found herself in the right spot and headed home her second goal to give the USA a lead they would not relinquish. Morgan completed her hat trick in the second half, and Rapinoe added a fourth for the U.S. before Japan’s Moeno Sakaguchi pulled one back for the final 4-2 score line.
In the first game of the day, Australia put in a solid all-around performance to defeat Brazil, 3-1. Both of Australia’s first half goals came off corner kicks, in the ninth and 38thminute, and both came courtesy of some assistance from Brazilian defender Poliana, who scored the first with her head for an own goal and then failed to clear the second. It was Marta and Debinha that combined for Brazil’s lone goal in the 79th minute. Kerr effectively put the game away early in the second half with a brilliant finish of a counter-attack down the right side.
The USA and Australia both won their opening games and sit atop the standings with 3 points each, but the U.S. is ahead on the tiebreaker due to scoring four goals compared to Australia’s three.