Mallory Pugh Scores First Career Brace, Earns an Assist; Morgan and Ertz Add Tallies;
Tierna Davidson and Savannah McCaskill Earn First Caps;
Davidson Records First Career Assist
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 21, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team kicked off its 2018 campaign with a powerful, come-from-behind 5-1 win against EURO Women’s runner-up Denmark in front of 17,526 fans at SDCCU Stadium on Sunday night.
Denmark got on the board early with a set-piece goal from Nadia Nadim in the 14th minute, but the USA quickly responded when Mallory Pugh connected with Alex Morgan for the game-tying score in the 17th minute. Julie Ertz then made it 2-1 in the 19th minute, and the USA carried the into the halftime break.
In the second half, Pugh added two goals – her first career brace – after making two great defensive plays in picking up Denmark passes in the back, and Crystal Dunn wrapped up the scoring to give the U.S. the 5-1 win.
Next, the U.S. WNT will host the third annual SheBelieves Cup, the most elite four-team tournament in the world, that includes third-ranked England, second-ranked Germany and sixth-ranked France, from March 1-7 in Columbus, Ohio, Harrison, New Jersey, and Orlando, Florida.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
DEN – Nadia Nadim (Katrine Veje), 14th: Veje’s corner kick from the right side sailed to the far post where Nadim jumped high in a pack of players to head the ball into the lower left corner of the net for the opening goal. USA 0, DEN 1
USA – Alex Morgan (Mallory Pugh), 17th minute: Pugh closed hard to put pressure on the Danish defender after a goalkeeper throw to the wing. She shook off Veje and drove towards the six-yard box before crossing on the ground to Morgan, who did well to re-direct the ball home before the goalkeeper had a chance corral it. USA 1, DEN 1
USA – Julie Ertz (Tierna Davidson), 19th minute: Abby Dalhkemper’s lofted pass from the right wing into the 18-yard box was headed deeper into the penalty area by Tierna Davidson. Ertz was able to settle under the ball and volley it into the net over the stunned goalkeeper for her first goal of 2018. USA 2, DEN 1
USA – Mallory Pugh, 47th: Denmark’s Sofia Pedersen hit a back-pass that was intercepted by Pugh just over midfield. She ran hard at goal, beating a defender before crushing her shot into the right side of the net from 16 yards out for her first of the night. USA 3, DEN 1
USA – Mallory Pugh, 65th: Pugh was once again a thorn in the side of Denmark, taking advantage of a poor distribution from Stina Petersen. Pugh brought the ball down well and once again drove into the box, excellently splitting two defenders before slotting the ball into the lower right corner for her second of the night. USA 4, DEN 1
USA – Crystal Dunn, 81st: After Christen Press’ shot was saved but not held by goalkeeper, Dunn was first to the free ball to poke it home for the final U.S. goal of the game. USA 5, DEN 1
- Alex Morgan scored her 81st international goal in her 135th cap. At age 28 sits in sole possession of seventh place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. She scored seven goals over her last seven WNT matches of 2017, and continuer her streak today, scoring the game-tying goal in the first half to make it eight goals in her last eight games.
- Mallory Pugh started today at the stadium where she scored in her senior team debut (the 19th U.S. WNT player to score in her first cap) on Jan. 23, 2016, vs. Ireland at 17 years, 8 months and 25 days old, becoming the youngest player to debut for the U.S. in the last 11 years. Tonight, the 19-year-old scored two goals – her first career brace – and had an assist in what was her 30th cap for the WNT. She now has eight career goals and 12 career assists. Pugh owns the lead as the player with the most assists before the age of 20 in U.S. history.
- Julie Ertz earned her 58th cap tonight. Ertz scored her 15th career goal for the WNT tonight, with 13 of them coming directly from or originating from set pieces. Ertz, who began playing as a defensive midfielder for the WNT during the 2017 Tournament of Nations, quickly excelled at the role and was later named the 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. She finished 2017 with six goals, second-most on the team. Today, both she and her husband – Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz – were playing almost concurrently, with both earning big wins for their teams. Julie helped the U.S. kick-start the year on a positive note, while Zach helped the Eagles earn a berth to Super Bowl LII.
- Tierna Davidson earned her first cap for the USA today, becoming the 21st player to make a WNT debut under Jill Ellis. Davidson earned her first career assist tonight. On Monday, the 19-year-old Stanford sophomore, who was named to the roster for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, will depart for Trinidad & Tobago to join the U-20 WNT as the USA competes to earn a berth to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Davidson helped lead Stanford to the NCAA Championship this past season. She is the third teenager since 2013 to earn a first cap for the U.S. WNT. Mallory Pugh (17 in 2016) and Lindsey Horan (19 in 2013) are the most recent teenagers to debut for the WNT.
- Ellis made all six substitutions tonight: Carli Lloyd came in for Abby Dahlkemper, Emily Sonnett for Taylor Smith, Savannah McCaskill for Andi Sullivan, Lynn Williams for Mallory Pugh, Christen Press for Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn for Megan Rapinoe.
- Crystal Dunn scored her 23rd career goal tonight. On January 16, it was announced Dunn will return to the NWSL and play for the North Carolina Courage during the 2017 season. The Courage acquired her rights from the Washington Spirit for Taylor Smith and Ashley Hatch.
- Savannah McCaskill, who was taken second overall in the 2018 NWSL College Draft by the Boston Breakers, earned her first cap tonight, becoming the 22nd woman to earn a first cap under Jill Ellis. This was her first extended training time with the WNT. She led South Carolina to the NCAA College Cup with eight goals and nine assists on the year.
– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Denmark
Date: Jan. 21, 2018
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: SDCCU Stadium; San Diego, California
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. PT
Weather: 61 degrees; clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 3 5
DEN 1 0 1
DEN – Nadia Nadim (Katrine Veje) 14th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Mallory Pugh) 17
USA – Julie Ertz (Tierna Davidson) 19
USA – Mallory Pugh 47
USA – Mallory Pugh 65
USA – Crystal Dunn 81
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 22-Taylor Smith (16-Emily Sonnett, 54), 14-Abby Dahlkemper (10-Carli Lloyd, 54), 17-Tierna Davidson, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 8-Julie Ertz, 9-Lindsey Horan, 6-Andi Sullivan (26-Savannah McCaskill, 70); 11-Mallory Pugh (12-Lynn Williams, 70), 13-Alex Morgan (capt.) (23-Christen Press, 70), 15-Megan Rapinoe (19-Crystal Dunn, 70)
Substitutes not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis
DEN: 1-Stina Lykke Petersen; 8-Theresa Nielsen, 12-Stine Larsen, 3-Janni Arnth, 11-Katrine Veje; 13-Sofie Junge Pedersen (14-Nicoline Sørensen, 75), 4-Maja Kildemoes (6-Nanna Christiansen, 46), 15-Frederikke Thøgersen (18-Mie Leth Jans, 84), 7-Sanne Troelsgaard; 10-Pernille Harder, 9-Nadia Nadim
Substitutes not used: 22-Line Johansen, 17-Signe Bruun, 19-Cecilie Sandvej, 20-Stine Ballisager Pedersen, 21-Sarah Dyrehauge, 23-Caroline Moeller
Head coach: Lars Søndergaard
Stats Summary: USA / DEN
Shots: 19 / 6
Shots on Goal: 8 / 1
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 9 / 3
Fouls: 7 / 12
Offside: 2 / 1
DEN – Pernille Harder (caution) 21st minute
USA – Julie Ertz (caution) 74
Referee: Karen Abt (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Jennifer Garner (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Brooke Mayo (USA)
4th Official: Christina Unkel (USA)
Budweiser Woman of the Match: Alex Morgan