US scores Rose Bowl win in first game since World Cup victory

Crystal Dunn, #19 of the United States, attempts a cross in front of Jess Gargan, #13 of the Republic of Ireland, during the first half of the first game of the USWNT Victory Tour at Rose Bowl on August 03, 2019 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

PASADENA, Calif. — Christen Press assisted on the first two goals as the U.S. women’s national soccer team defeated Ireland, 3-0, Saturday evening at the Rose Bowl in its first game since winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup last month.

Tobin Heath opened the scoring in the 16th minute, heading in a pass from Press, a graduate of Chadwick School on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The U.S. increased its lead to 2-0 in the 31st minute when Lindsey Horan scored off an assist by Press.

Carli Lloyd scored the game’s final goal in the 41st minute of the 45- minute first half off Kelley O’Hara’s assist.

The victory extended the U.S. winning streak to 14 games and improved its record in 2019 to 15-1-2. The U.S. is 13-0-0 against Ireland.

The U.S. played without two of its top players.

Megan Rapinoe, who received the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best overall player and Golden Boot as its top scorer, missed the game because of an inflamed Achilles tendon.

Fellow forward Alex Morgan didn’t play because of what U.S. coach Jill Ellis said was a minor undisclosed injury from the World Cup. Morgan is a Diamond Bar High School graduate whose six goals matched Rapinoe and England’s Ellen White for the most in the tournament.

The game marked the start of a five-game Victory Tour, which also consists of exhibitions Aug. 29 in Philadelphia and Sept. 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota, both against Portugal, and Oct. 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Oct. 6, in Chicago, both against South Korea.

Ireland is 33rd in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. It has never qualified for the World Cup. The U.S. is ranked first.

Ireland is preparing for its qualifying campaign for the 2021 European Women’s Championship, which begins in September against Montenegro.

Its roster consists of nine players who play in Ireland, six in England, three in Germany, one in Portugal and forward Heather Payne, a 19-year- old set to begin play for NCAA champion Florida State on Aug. 22.

This was the fifth game for the U.S. women’s national team at the Rose Bowl and the first since Nov. 9, 2002, when it defeated Canada, 2-1, in overtime to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The Rose Bowl was the site of the U.S. penalty kick shootout victory over China to win the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, before a crowd announced at 90,185, the most for a FIFA Women’s World Cup game.

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