USA-Denmark: Pugh shreds Danes with two goals and an assist

Jan. 21 in San Diego
USA 5, Denmark 1. Goals: Morgan 17, Ertz 19, Pugh 47, 65, Dunn 81; Nadim 14.
Att.: 17,526.

Teenager Mallory Pugh returned to the venue where she scored on her international debut two years ago to bag two more in a 5-1 defeat of Denmark that kicked off 2018 for the USA.

Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn also tallied in a comprehensive thrashing of the team that finished runner-up to host Netherlands in the 2017 European Women’s Championship.

Quick recovery. The Danes took advantage of a rather tentative start by the USA to take a 1-0 lead in the  14th minute when Nadia Nadim headed in a corner kick, but three minutes later Pugh cut back a ball that Morgan re-directed over the goal line to equalize, and in the 19th minute Ertz flicked home what turned out to be the winning goal.

Pugh stormed forward after the Americans had forced turnovers in the middle third to blast home a pair of goals early in the second half, and Dunn tapped home a rebound to finish off the win. Dunn was one of four substitutes who entered the game in the 70th minute.

Starts for Cardinal pair. Two players earned their first USA caps. Defender Tierna Davidson of Stanford University started and went the full 90 minutes; Savannah McCaskill, one of the four late subs, replaced another Cardinal, Andi Sullivan, the No. 1 pick in the NWSL draft held on Thursday. McCaskill was picked second. The Americans return to action in March, when they play England, France, and Germany in the SheBelieves Cup.

Before the game, U.S. Soccer made a presentation to keeper Hope Solo in honor of earning her 200th cap during the 2016 Olympic Games. She is the 10th U.S. woman to reach the 200-cap milestone.

TRIVIA. Pugh, then 17, scored in a 5-0 defeat of Ireland at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium on January, 23, 2016. Her eight goals for the senior team as a teenager puts her six behind leader Mia Hamm.
Jan. 21 in San Diego
USA 5 Denmark 1. Goals: Morgan 17, Ertz 19, Pugh 47, 65, Dunn 81; Nadim 14.
USA – Naeher; Davidson, Dahlkemper (Lloyd, 54), Smith (Sonnett, 54), O’Hara, Sullivan (McCaskill, 70), Ertz, Horan, Rapinoe (Dunn, 70), Morgan (Press, 70), Pugh (Williams, 70).
Denmark – Petersen; Arnth, Larsen, Nielsen, Veje, Harder, Sofie Pedersen (Sorenson, 75), Kildemoes (Christiansen, 46), Nadim, Troelsgaard, Thogersen (Jans, 85).
Referee: Karen Abt.
Att.: 17,526.
7 comments about "USA-Denmark: Pugh shreds Danes with two goals and an assist".
  1. Bob Ashpole, January 22, 2018 at 3:37 a.m.

    Though it is not apparent from the lopsided score, Denmark fielded a good team. 

    While Pugh is special and Morgan gave Denmark as much trouble as Pugh did, the player that impressed me the most was Ertz. Ertz is not just a game changer; she is a team changer when she plays central midfield. She is only 25. My praise for Ertz is not diminishing the rest of the team. Kelly O'Hara, for instance, sets the gold standard for left backs.

    What bothers me is that the game plan exploited the athletic ability (speed and fitness) of the US team. What will happen when the US faces a faster back line and a team that won't turn the ball over when pressed? In other words, will we find a way to break down a team of equal or better physical abilities? The She Believes Cup will likely answer these questions shortly.   

  2. R2 Dad, January 22, 2018 at 2:59 p.m.

    Link to a replay anywhere?

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, January 22, 2018 at 3:26 p.m.

    It is available on

  4. R2 Dad, January 22, 2018 at 3:03 p.m.

    On that 4th goal would have liked to have seen Pugh slot to the wide open option (Rapinoe) rather than go 1 v 2 for a shot.  Is that an issue of diminished vision or is it personal?

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, January 22, 2018 at 3:26 p.m.

    Not a problem, rather a forward performing as intended. Forwads should be confident and selfish and, ideally, capable of taking on and beating 2 defenders.

  6. James Madison, January 24, 2018 at 6:31 p.m.


    here, oh where, are the player ratings?

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, January 24, 2018 at 10:07 p.m.

    I actually prefer game reports without player ratings.

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