Mallory Pugh opened the scoring 128 seconds after kickoff. Megan Rapinoe assisted four times and scored with a 38-yard chip. Lindsey Horan headed home a corner kick. Alex Morgan struck twice. And Carlie Lloyd scored her 100th career goal in the USA's 6-2 win over Mexico.
1. Poor goalkeeping not costly for USA on this day
Goalkeeper Jane Campbell's third appearance for the USA turned nightmarish early in the first half. The 23-year-old Houston Dash keeper was standing in her own net, well behind the goal line, when the low corner kick from Monica Ocampo flew straight into the goal. Campbell reacted equally tentative on another corner kick seven minutes later that gave Mexico a 2-1 lead with close-range header by Kiana Palacios. Left back Crystal Dunn whiffed when she should have blocked the first corner kick, but the clearly nervous Campbell won't be climbing the depth chart soon. Coach Jill Ellis replaced her with Ashlyn Harris in the 67th minute. (Alyssa Naeher had started all three SheBelieves Cup games and conceded only one goal, but she had a poor outing on Thursday against the Mexicans.)
Fortunately for the USA, its offense ran on all cylinders on Sunday.
2. Megan Rapinoe gives world-class performance
The frontline with Rapinoe and Pugh flanking Morgan overwhelmed the Mexicans. On Thursday, the USA beat Mexico 4-1 in Orlando on goals by Pugh, Morgan (two) and Lloyd. In both games, the scoring started with Rapinoe assisting Pugh.
Sunday marked the last game for the USA as a teenager for Pugh, who turns 20 on April 29. She met Rapinoe's defense-splitting pass and glided past Mexico's lunging goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago in the third minute to score her fifth goal of 2018 and her 11th goal in 35 U.S. games. After the USA went behind, Rapinoe earned the USA a corner kick and then delivered it to the head of Lindsey Horan to make it 2-2.
On the only U.S. goal on which Rapinoe's name didn't appear on the scoresheet -- Lloyd's century strike that made it 3-2 -- Rapinoe evaded two defenders to serve a cross that Horan volleyed to Morgan, whose high ball Lloyd met with her head near the goal line to tap in. Morgan's strikes came off a low pass and a corner kick from Rapinoe, who scored her 36th career goal with a chip over stranded Santiago.
3. Teenager Tierna Davidson
shines on the backline
In the fifth minute, deep in the U.S. half, Becky Sauerbrunn passed to her central defense partner Tierna Davidson, who was quickly under pressure from two Mexican attackers. Davidson smoothly maneuvered the ball away her foes and the U.S. kept possession before launching an attack. In the 13th minute, the USA won the ball deep in its own half and right back Emily Sonnett, Davidson and Sauerbrunn exchanged quick passes before sending Pugh on a counterattack that ended with a U.S. corner kick. Davidson also chipped some precise passes to center forward Morgan's feet.
The U.S. backline's composure with the ball went a long way to enabling the USA to outplay the Mexicans, and Davidson stood out. The Stanford sophomore is only 19 and has started all six U.S. games in 2018. The last newcomer to start her national team career with that much playing time was another Stanford player, Julie Foudy, 28 years ago.
NOTABLE: Three players made their U.S. debuts -- UCLA junior Hailie Mace (age 21), the Houston Dash's Haley Hanson (22) and Stanford junior Tegan McGrady (20).
April 8 in Houston
USA 6 Mexico 2. Goals: Pugh (Rapinoe) 3, Horan (Rapinoe) 25, Lloyd (Morgan) 34, Morgan (Rapinoe) 44, Rapinoe 64, Morgan (Rapinoe) 68; Ocampo 17, Palacios (Ocampo) 24.
USA -- Campbell (Harris, 67); Sonnett (Huerta, 75), Sauerbrunn, Davidson (Mace, 59), Dunn; Brian (Long, 29), Horan (Hanson, 40), Lloyd; Pugh (McGrady, 58), Morgan, Rapinoe.
Mexico -- Santiago; Robles, Sierra, Espinoza (M.Flores, 50), Murillo (Mejia, 46); Nieto, Ferral (V.Flores, 79), Mayor, Ocampo (Sanchez, 60); Calderon (Guajardo, 70), Palacios (Cuellar, 74).
Referee: Karen Abt (USA)
Shots on Goal: 14/2
Corner Kicks: 9/6