Picture this: the second half has just kicked off, and Alana Cook hits a long, lofted ball into the path of Emily Fox, who’s making her way down the left wing.
Fox sends a cross into the box. It ricochets off a New Zealand defender and finds a totally unmarked Mallory Swanson, who fires a shot into the back of the net from the penalty spot. Thanks to some truly brutal defending from their opponents, the United States are up 3-0. Before time runs out, the U.S. continue to capitalize on their talent advantage and New Zealand’s poor defense and score another two goals.
The U.S. women’s national team finished their trip to New Zealand with a plus-nine goal differential in just two games after a 4-0 win on Tuesday and a 5-0 win on Friday. That’s a marked improvement over the tail end of 2022, where they lost three of their final four matches, right? Maybe…goals are good, after all. But, maybe not…long stretches of uninspiring play against a poor opponent aren’t so good.