The US Women’s National Team started their World Cup run off with an explosion of goals, beating Thailand 13-0 in their opening match and breaking a few records along the way. The US team, who are in Group F alongside Thailand, Sweden and Chile, defeated Thailand by the biggest margin in World Cup history. The game turned out to be even more of an easy win for the reigning World Cup champions than predicted. Alex Morgan started the scoring off in the first two minutes, but the goal was almost immediately called back for offsides.
Morgan made up for the call in the twelfth minute, heading the ball in off a cross from Georgia native Kelley O’Hara. Rose Lavelle scored the next goal from just outside the eighteen with a scorcher from her left foot. Lindsey Horan took the last goal in the first half, assisted from a free kick taken by Tobin Heath. Thailand started to falter early in the second half, and the US capitalized, scoring ten goals rapid fire until the final whistle blew.
Alex Morgan took four more goals, Lavelle took one more, Sam Mewis scored two, and Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Llyod scored one each. The goal celebration sparked some controversy, some calling it “ruthless” and “overboard.” In a World Cup, however, where a team breaks records for their country, and players (Pugh, Lavelle, Horan, and Mewis) score their first World Cup goals, such celebrations are par for the course. Additionally, the number of goals scored during the group stages helps determine who moves on to the knockout rounds, so winning by a high margin is sometimes as critical as winning at all.
Other records beaten include most goals scored by a team in a World Cup match — men’s or women’s, and most individual goal scorers in a single Women’s World Cup match. The US, now with an even bigger target on their backs, will play Chile on Sunday, June 16 at noon for their second game of the group stages.