The beloved U.S Women’s National Soccer Team kicked off its stateside tour tonight in Pasadena, facing off against the Republic of Ireland at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium. The game marked the first US appearance for the Women’s National Team since they claimed the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup just last month in France and the first of five friendly match-ups in the US Women’s National Team Victory Tour presented by Allstate. More than 37,000 enthusiastic fans came out to welcome the champions home and celebrate their fourth world title.
The evening began on a sobering note, as the US Team took a moment to pay tribute to the victims and families of the El Paso shooting, which took place earlier in the day. It was a touching and poignant moment.
From kick-off to final buzzer, the US Team delighted their boisterous and supportive fans with the same energy and fire they took to France. They wasted no time in taking the lead and putting the pressure on the Irish team. Tobin Heath was the first to change the scoreboard for the United States, with a beautiful header off of a pinpoint cross from Christen Press.
The champion team doubled their lead with a second goal in minute 31, when Samantha Mewis made her fourth assist of 2019 with a low cut to the penalty area, where Lindsey Horan surged forward to tap the ball into the goal.
Carli Lloyd made it a 3-0 lead with a long, arching header, squeezing between two Irish defenders. The impressive shot sailed over Marie Hourihan, Ireland’s keeper, to solidify the US lead heading into halftime.
Coming back from the half, US Head Coach Jill Ellis made three substitutions, swapping Jessica McDonald for Heath, Emily Sonnett for O’Hara and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris for Alyssa Naeher. Despite a scoreless second half, the USA continued to dominate play and pressure the Irish team. Ali Kreiger, Allie Long, and Rose Lavelle all saw playing time in the second half as well.
While the support of the roaring fans never waned, they were not afforded the opportunity to see team favorites and World Cup heroes Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe – neither of which played in the friendly match.
The 3-0 win marked the 13th victory over Ireland by the US Women. The victors will travel to Philadelphia for the second leg of the tour where they will face off against Portugal on August 29th.
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All photos by Néstor Colombo.