The USA got on track at the Under-20 Women's World Cup in France with a 6-0 win over Paraguay on Thursday but still has its work cut out for itself to advance to the quarterfinals.
USA (3 points; 6-1 goal difference) concludes play in Group C on Monday against Spain (6 points; 5-1 goal difference) in Dinan-Lehon but needs to beat the European champion, winner of its first two
games in Brittany, to be sure of advancing.
A win will jump the USA
ahead of Spain on goal difference. Otherwise, a tie or loss will eliminate the USA unless Japan (3 points; 1-1 goal difference) ties or loses to Paraguay (0 points, 1-10 goal difference) and the USA
doesn't do worse against Spain. (Paraguay is for all intents and purposes eliminated.)
Sophia Smith, the USA's star who turns 18 on Friday, set the tone of Thursday's game at the
Stade Guy Piriou with a phenomenal individual effort to open the scoring in the 15th minute. She began her run in the U.S. half, beat four Paraguayan defenders, played a one-two with Viviana
Villacorta outside the penalty area and then eluded two more defenders before beating goalkeeper Isabel Ortiz to the near post.
USC sophomore Savannah DeMelo led the USA
with three goals, joining Kelly Wilson (2002), Sydney Leroux (2010) and Maya Hayes (2014) as the only Americans who have scored hat tricks in the tournament.
who will attend Stanford in the fall as a freshman, finished with two goals to give her 23 goals in 27 U-20 matches -- fourth on the all-time U-20 scoring list behind Leroux, Kelley O'Hara and
Lindsey Horan. She assisted on UCLA sophomore Ashley Sanchez's goal to open the second half.
Elsewhere. After two
games, only the Netherlands and France are assured of reaching the final eight.
Aug. 9 in Concarneau USA 6 Paraguay
0. Goals: Smith 15, 63, DeMelo 39, 44, 78, A.Sanchez 63. USA -- Ivory; Pickett, Hiatt, Girma, McKeown; Villacorta, Howell, DeMelo; Gilroy (Pinto 61), Smith (Hocking 73), A.Sanchez
(Kim 61). Paraguay -- Ortiz; Vecca, Fretes, Villasanti, Alonso; Godoy (Gonzalez, 31), Bogarin, Mino (Aguilera, 50); J.Martinez, Sandoval, J.Sanchez (Chamorro, 62). Att.: 2,170.