Tobin Heath, USWNT Beat Chile in Friendly as Carli Lloyd Scores 2 Goals

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2018

SAN JOSE, CA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Tobin Heath of the United States scores a goal against Chile during their match at Avaya Stadium on September 4, 2018 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The United States women's national soccer team remained undefeated in 2018 with a 4-0 win over Chile.

Tobin Heath led the way with a goal and two assists in Tuesday's international friendly in San Jose, California, while Carli Lloyd added two goals in the second half. It was the second exhibition against Chile in a span of five days after a 3-0 USA win Friday.

The team now has 11 wins and two draws in 13 matches this year as it approaches qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.


Heath Emerging as Go-To Player

With 138 caps, Heath is hardly a new player on the international scene. However, she has been overshadowed for much of her career by elite scorers like Lloyd, Alex Morgan and others.

She showed in the win over Chile she can no longer be ignored.

The 30-year-old had a role in each of the first three goals, including an assist in the 34th minute and a goal of her own four minutes later:

U.S. Soccer WNT @ussoccer_wnt

If at first you don't succeed... @TobinHeath & @MalPugh to the rescue. https://t.co/R3LpWhiMED

U.S. Soccer WNT @ussoccer_wnt

*Checks watch* Yes, it is indeed Tobin time in San Jose. https://t.co/S0LKZgetYr

U.S. Soccer WNT @ussoccer_wnt

Goal No. 1️⃣0️⃣1️⃣ for @CarliLloyd. Comes on at half, scores on first touch. https://t.co/bLgspFHSOK

Former teammate Heather O'Reilly praised Heath's effort on the two first-half goals:

Heather O'Reilly @HeatherOReilly

Besides the fact that @TobinHeath is my bud, she just demonstrated how she has separated herself with three plays. Her speed and cross off the pen rebound. The lifted final ball. Then the ruthless finish of her own. Her game has rounded out and she is now one of the worlds best.

By the end of the first half, it was clear who had made the biggest impact, as Seth Vertelney of Goal noted:

Seth Vertelney @svertelney

Heath easily the best #USWNT player this half. So influential from a wide position

A beautiful assist early in the second half highlighted Heath's full skill set.

She continues to improve and is taking advantage of a bigger role, showcasing her ability to make an impact in the final third. If she keeps her form, she could be one of the top players in the World Cup next summer.


Depth Behind Morgan, Rapinoe Remains Key for World Cup Run

In many matches, the United States can rely on its best players for goals and easy wins. Morgan has especially been red-hot with 17 goals in the last 20 matches, giving her 90 for her career.

The star striker was quiet against Chile, however, failing to get many touches and also missing a penalty shot in the first half.

Megan Rapinoe, who is arguably the team's best passer, didn't play because of a rib injury.

In addition to Heath's outstanding play, Mallory Pugh was at her best in the first half, creating opportunities and coming through with the opening goal.

Julie Ertz showed her ability in the lead-up to the second goal, which featured an assist from Tierna Davidson. And goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris did her job filling in for Alyssa Naeher.

Caitlin Murray of the New York Times noted how key players made the most of their opportunities:

Caitlin Murray @caitlinmurr

The #USWNT's depth is something. Rapinoe, who has been arguably the team's most electric player, is injured? No worries - Heath will play in that spot instead and she will score and assist and toy with the back line. Pugh will play on the other side put in work. #USAvCHI

In the second half, Lloyd showed she can make an impact off the bench with two goals and several additional chances. While she is not likely to be a full-time player going forward, she will definitely have a role.

Depth could have been an issue, especially after two first-half substitutions, but the U.S. had too much talent to keep it down.


What's Next?

The United States will prepare for the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship, which serves as the 2019 World Cup qualifier with three teams advancing. Its first match will be against Mexico on Oct. 4 in North Carolina.

Chile has already qualified for the World Cup and will get ready for its first-ever appearance in the international event.