Alex Morgan Nets 2 Goals as USA Crushes New Zealand 5-0 in Friendly

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2017

United States defender Julie Ertz (8) celebrates after scoring a goal against New Zealand during the first half of an international friendly soccer match in Commerce City, Colo., Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Two goals from Alex Morgan fueled a second easy win for the United States women's national team over New Zealand in a span of five days.

After the Americans earned a 3-1 win in Colorado Friday, they followed it up with a 5-0 victory Tuesday over the same squad in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh and Lynn Williams also scored, but Morgan had the biggest night despite playing only the second half.

Mia Hamm liked what she saw from the performance:

New Zealand scored a goal in the last match and was mostly competitive, but the team had limited opportunities in this one. 

The Football Ferns controlled just 30 percent of possession and got zero shots on net, per ESPN FC.

It was the home team that controlled the action from the start, with the ball sitting deep in New Zealand's zone for most of the first 30 minutes of the match. Although the match remained scoreless, it seemed to only be a matter of time until someone broke through.

The opening goal finally came in the 36th minute when Samantha Mewis hit a long cross into the box for Horan, who headed it just over the opposing keeper for the goal. Fox Soccer captured the first score:

Horan had only entered the match three minutes earlier for Rose Lavelle, who is still less than 100 percent in her return from a hamstring injury.

Before the end of the first half, Horan made her presence felt one more time on a perfect weighted ball to Mallory Pugh. The 19-year-old slotted it home to give USA a 2-0 lead.

Thomas Floyd of Goal.com summed up the early play from Horan:

The theme of subs making a quick impact continued in the second half, with Morgan scoring two goals after coming on at halftime, including one less than 30 seconds into play.

After sneaking the ball past Erin Nayler for her first score, Morgan had a much more forceful look in the 77th minute:

Williams also joined the fun, taking a cross from Kelley O'Hara and driving it home for a score:

Although it was difficult to judge Alyssa Naeher in net with few challenges throughout the night, the rest of the USWNT lived up to expectations with solid play from every level to create a one-sided finish.

Even without a major tournament coming up, the team is clearly headed in the right direction.

The United States will have a similar set of international friendlies against South Korea on Oct. 19 and 22. The first of the two battles will be at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, which could lead to quite a crowd as the team prepares for bigger events in 2018.

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