USA vs. Iceland: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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USA vs. Iceland: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Michael Chang/Getty Images

The United States started off the Algarve Cup in style, brushing past Iceland 3-0.

The U.S. women did their damage after the interval, with Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach breaking the game open in the second half.

As was to be expected, the majority of the first-half possession and chances went to the United States, though the team couldn't quite link up the final pass or find the net with a shot.

The first half was one of missed opportunities for the team's strikers, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan.

Wambach had one of her headers on goal handled by the keeper, and just missed a free kick sent into the box on another attempt. She had another golden opportunity in the box after Morgan found her with a cross, but rather than attempt the volley she tried to trap the ball and lost possession.

Meanwhile, Alex Morgan missed the net twice late in the first half, first chipping the ball over the net after a scramble from the corner and later pushing a very good look at goal wide right.

It took just two minutes for the United States to break the tie in the second half, however, as Buehler headed home a goal from a Lauren Cheney corner. 

The United States kept the pressure up, but Morgan's finishing issues continued. Her volley off a beautiful cross into the box from Wambach soared well over the net. A moment later, Carli Lloyd pushed a shot from outside the box just wide of the net.

Michael Chang/Getty Images

After a few more Alex Morgan chances—seriously, she couldn't buy a goal in this game—Boxx gave the United States a 2-0 lead, finishing a flurry of headers in the box with her own across the face of goal and into the side netting.

Not long after, Morgan intercepted a careless pass in the box and found Wambach all alone in front of the net for the United States' third goal.

This was a pretty clinical performance from the United States, who probably could have scored six or seven goals in this game. They dominated possession, created a ton of scoring chances and gave up very few chances on their own goal.

The team's next game will be against China on Friday, March 8, at 9 a.m. ET.

 

Grades

Alex Morgan, United States: B-

On one hand, Morgan was incredibly active in this game, putting herself in dangerous positions and forcing more than a few headaches for Iceland's defense. She also added an assist. So you have to give her credit there.

With that being said, Morgan just couldn't put the ball in the net despite having chance after chance to do so. For a player who so often is clinical in her finishing, something seemed just a bit off each time Morgan played the ball in the box in this game. 

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Morgan deserves credit for being the most consistently threatening player in this game, but her inability to actually score was pretty surprising.

 

Heather O'Reilly, United States: A

O'Reilly was absolutely brilliant playing down the right side in this game, stretching the Iceland defense with her strong runs down the flank and showing her excellent speed several times when recovering defensively. 

For my money, she was the most consistent player on either team in this match.

 

Shannon Boxx, United States: A

Boxx was a rock in the midfield all afternoon, consistently winning back possession for the team and pushing the attack forward. She also scored the team's second goal, essentially putting this game out of reach for Iceland.

 

Abby Wambach, United States: B

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Like Morgan, Wambach spent much of the game coming up just short on her scoring chances, and she consistently put herself in dangerous positions. Unlike Morgan, she would get her goal late. 

Wambach and Morgan may have left dozens of chances on the board, but both players were more than Iceland could handle.

 

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