Much to be desired as Matildas go down to the USA

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As expectations begin to rise for Tony Gustavsson, it was a lack of concentration that proved costly as the Matildas went down 3-0 to the USA. 

Needing a strong result after their Olympic heartbreak at the hands of the visting side, Gustavsson fielded a side of both experience and youth, highlighted by a debut for 17-year-old Jessika Nash

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It was, however, Nash that was caught out just moments after kick off, leaving Ashley Hatch clean through on goal. The forward cooly found the back of the net just 24 seconds into the game silencing a record home crowd.

After the slow start, nerves settled soon after as an Australian midfield led by Emily Van Egmond began to find the ball and build their way into the contest.

From this, a headed chance for Kyah Simon arose, whose header sent the ball flying just wide from the penalty spot 12 minutes into play.

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The USA began to show positive signs once more as play headed towards the midway point of the half. From this, Emily Sonnett latched onto a Lynn Williams’ cross although her volley only found the side netting of Teigan Micah’s goal in the 22nd minute.

As they settled once more, Australia’s consistent pressure nearly paid off in the 38th minute as a mazy Caitlin Foord run and cross found Simon again who blazed her shot over the bar from the six-yard-box.

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Soon after, as referee Hyeon Jeon Oh readied to end the half, two quick fire chances fell to Kerr and Foord, calling on goalkeeper Casey Murphy to pull out her best to ensure the USA headed into the break 1-0 to the good.

The beginning of the second half started much like the first, with a lack of early concentration proving costly for Australia.

A Margaret Purce break down the right saw the winger find Rose Lavelle in the box, whose close-range strike flew past Micah, putting the USA 2-0 up in the 49th minute.

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Desperate to find their first goal, Austalia continued to dominate possesion leading to Kerr being found eight yards out, who uncharacteristically cushioned her header into Murphy’s hands in the 59th minute.

Unfortunately, it went from bad to worse for Australia as Ellie Carpenter brought down Lindsay Horan in the box with the forward’s resulting penalty sending the USA into a 3-0 lead.

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As the match began to head towards the full-time whistle, a host of changes from both sides looked to reignite the contest that wasn’t to be on a day to forget for Australia.

With the referee calling an end to proceedings, it was USA’s clinical touch in front of goal making all the difference as we look towards the two sides’ second meeting in Newcastle on Tuesday night.

Australia  0

USA  3 (Hatch 1’, Lavelle 49’, Horan 68’)

Stadium Australia 

Referee: Hyeon Jeong Oh

Assistant Referees: Renae Coghill & Laura Moya

Fourth Official: Sejin Park

Australia: Teagan MICAH (GK), Courtney NEVIN, Steph CATLEY (Angela BEARD 81’), Caitlin FOORD (Remy SIEMSEN 81’), Emily VAN EGMOND, Mary FOWLER (Clare WHEELER 81’), Tameka YALLOP (C), Kyah SIMON (Hayley RASO 46’), Sam KERR (Kyra COONEY-CROSS 63’), Ellie CARPENTER, Jessika NASH (Charlotte GRANT 46’).

Unused Subs: Karly ROESTBAKKEM, Charlize RULE, Lydia WILLIAMS (GK)

USA: Casey MURPHY (GK), Alana COOK, Lynn WILLIAMS (Ashley SANCHEZ 84’), Ashley HATCH (Morgan WEAVER 74’), Lindsey HORAN (C), Margaret PURCE (Bethany BALCER 79’), Tierna DAVIDSON, Emily SONNETT, Rose LAVELLE (Kristie MEWIS 84’), Andi SULLIVAN (Becky SAUERBRUNN 84’), Emily FOX

Unused Subs: Jane CAMPBELL (GK), Sofia HUERTA

Feature image credit: Rachel Bach

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Joseph Esposito
A diploma graduated Sports Media student, currently studying Law. Football obsessed, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the upcoming 2021/22 A-League season.

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