Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath Lead USA to Dominant Win Over Mexico in 2021 Friendly

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 5, 2021

United States' Tobin Heath (7) celebrates her goal with teammates Emily Sonnett (14), Samantha Mewis (3), and Lindsey Horan (9) during the second half of the team's international friendly soccer match against Mexico, Thursday, July 1, 2021, in East Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
AP Photo/Jessica Hill

The United States women's national team downed Mexico 4-0 in an international friendly at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut on Monday.

The two squads recently met July 1 in the same venue, with the U.S. coming away as the victor by the same score. This was the USWNT's final fixture before it makes the trip to Tokyo for the Olympics.

Because of that, coach Vlatko Andonovski will have wanted to see a strong performance from his side, and that's exactly what the players delivered.

The U.S. was up 2-0 by the 11th minute thanks to goals from Lindsey Horan and Carli Lloyd. Lloyd finished off a diving header off a cross from Crystal Dunn, while Horan's deft volley got the fun started.

B/R Football @brfootball

Lindsey Horan struck this volley clean 👌<br><br>(🎥: <a href="https://twitter.com/USWNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USWNT</a>)<a href="https://t.co/VXhS2Z0zow">pic.twitter.com/VXhS2Z0zow</a>

When the referee blew for halftime, the USWNT had doubled its lead. Reyna Reyes was credited with an own goal in the 37th minute, while Tobin Heath netted the fourth goal in the 39th minute.

The U.S. might have been a bit unlucky not to have five goals, since Christen Press was whistled for being offside before collecting an impressive through ball by Heath and beating Mexico goalkeeper Itzel Gonzalez.

Press looked to be onside, but there was official video replay to examine the decision.

Bethany Balcer @bethanybalcer

that was the most beautifully worked goal ever and then it was… offside??🥴 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/var?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#var</a>

Not surprisingly given the team's sizable advantage, the United States took its foot off the gas in the second half. The USWNT effectively made its statement in the opening 45 minutes.

Andonovski used the second half to tweak his formation and tactics a bit to prepare for in-game scenarios that could arise during the Olympics. For example, he utilized a five-woman back line toward the end of the match, as if the United States was having to protect a slim lead in the final stages.

Heath was among the players brought off at halftime, and on Monday, she eliminated any doubt as to her status within the starting lineup for the Olympics.

The 33-year-old suffered an ankle injury in January and picked up a knee injury during her recovery period. A six-month layoff obviously isn't ideal before a major tournament.

Having not appeared with the USWNT since last November, she came on as a substitute in the July 1 win over Mexico and waited 52 seconds before scoring a goal.

Heath is firing on all cylinders.

B/R Football @brfootball

Two goals in two games for Tobin Heath ⚽️ ⚽️<br><br>She's back 😤<br><br>(🎥: <a href="https://twitter.com/USWNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USWNT</a>)<a href="https://t.co/4tWv2SVLX5">pic.twitter.com/4tWv2SVLX5</a>

Andonovski will probably have little to complain about from Monday. The USWNT's understated second half was entirely by design, and the forward line illustrated how clinical it can be when it's in top gear.

Caitlin Murray @caitlinmurr

Comfortable 4-0 win for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USWNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USWNT</a>. Doesn’t say much about their chances in Tokyo — history shows these send-off games don’t matter results-wise — but given how quick the Olympic tournament is without time to ease in, you’d certainly prefer a result like this. <br><br>Next stop? Japan.

Crashing out to Sweden in the quarterfinals in 2016 is a reminder the women's soccer landscape is too deep for the United States to coast to Olympic gold. With that said, the U.S. showed against Mexico why it's arguably the favorite to come out on top in Tokyo.

What's Next?

The USWNT plays Sweden on July 21 in its first match of the group stage at the Olympics. It also figures to be the United States' toughest match of the group stage, with Sweden sitting fifth in the FIFA rankings.