New Zealand-USA Women's Friendly Player Ratings

Jan. 17 in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand
New Zealand 0 USA 4. Goals: Swanson 52, 63, Morgan 60, Williams 74.
Att.: 12,508
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The USA, defending World Cup champion and No. 1 in the FIFA World Rankings, opened the year with a friendly at No. 24 New Zealand, co-host with Australia of next summer's Women's World Cup. New Zealand, which managed five victories in its last 25 games while scoring 13 goals, held the USA at 0-0 until Mallory (née Pugh) Swanson opened the floodgates — three goals in 11 minutes — in the 52nd minute with her first of two goals in what ended in a 4-0 U.S. win.

USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)


Not until the 84th minute was Alyssa Naeher called on to make a save, easily scooping up Paige Satchell's weak 24-yard shot that bounced softly into her arms.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 87/0 (34)


Central defender Naomi Girma moved wide to halt a rare Ferns' attack during her 45-minute appearance. Left back Crystal Dunn, who also left at halftime, didn't take advantage of the toothless New Zealand offense to move forward effectively, and failed to pass accurately. Emily Fox, who combined with Midge Purce to create a first-half chance, benefitted from being part of the second half, when the Ferns' tenacity faded and she helped keep them pinned down. But Fox struggled with her passing, such as when she crossed to the keeper in the 59th minute. Central defender Becky Sauerbrunn was called on mainly to help pass the ball around as the USA tired out its ineffective foes.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Emily Fox (Racing Louisville) 23/0 (24) 

Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave) 11/0 (22)

Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 212/0 (37)

Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 127/24 (30)


Early on, Rose Lavelle ended a promising run into the Ferns' half by mis-hitting a pass aimed at a teammate six yards away. She shot weakly and wide from 16 yards a few minutes later, but possessed the ball well as Ferns swarmed around her in numbers. Lavelle got good power on a 49th minute shot that went a couple feet wide, delivered the pass to Trinity Rodman ahead of the opening goal, and set up Alex Morgan's goal with a nifty back-heel pass before being subbed in the 61st minute. Lindsey Horan squandered the best chance of the first half by shooting weakly from seven yards out with only goalkeeper Erin Nayler to beat. Horan's through pass set up a big Morgan opportunity in the 40th minute and defensively she intervened forcefully whenever the Ferns tried to keep midfield possession. Horan, who helped spark the attack on the USA's second and third goals, and Taylor Kornieck prevented the Ferns from testing the U.S. backline but Kornieck in her 45-minute performance lacked composure on the ball.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 85/22 (27)

Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave) 8/1 (24)

Lindsey Horan (Lyon, FRA) 123/26 (28)


In the first half, Alex Morgan headed over the crossbar from a cross that Midge Purce could have delivered more conveniently. But Purce, subbed at halftime, provided the only first-half highlight, when her 40-yard shot from the right flank banged off the post. Morgan hit a cross that would have landed in the stands if they hadn't been playing on a cricket field, and failed to force a save with a shot from the outside corner of the goal area after Horan's delivery. As with most of her teammates, improvement came in the second half and Morgan scored her 120th goal for the USA. Mallory Swanson scored with a well-timed header and rounded keeper Nayler with her first touch before stroking the ball into an empty net to make it 3-0.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham) 21/4 (27)

Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave) 201/120 (33)

Mallory (née Pugh) Swanson (Chicago Red Stars) 83/27 (24) 


Trinity Rodman headed wide from three yards off a 48th minute Swanson cross, but then delivered the crosses for the USA's first and fourth goals. Ashley Sanchez assisted Swanson's second goal with a clever, well delivered pass. She later shot four yards wide from seven yards out and two yards wide from 14 yards out. Lynn Williams  finished the scoring with a header from Rodman's second assist.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit) 38/3 (27)

Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit) 11/2 (20)

Sofia Huerta (OL Reign) 26/0 (30)

Alana Cook (OL Reign) 20/0 (25) 

Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit) 18/3 (23)

Lynn Williams (Gotham FC) 48/15 (29)

TRIVIA: Alex Morgan, fifth on the USA's all-time scoring list with 120 goals, has now scored eight goals in nine appearances against New Zealand.

NOTABLEMallory (née Pugh) Swanson played her first game under her new name, following her December marriage to Dansby Swanson, the Chicago Cubs shortstop star.

UP NEXT: The USA and New Zealand meet again on Friday at the same venue (10:00 pm ET)

Jan. 17 in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand
New Zealand 0 USA 4. Goals: Swanson 52, 63, Morgan 60, Williams 74.
New Zealand — Nayler; Neville (Barry, 77), A.Riley (Anton, 61), Anna Green, Ward (Ally Green, 77); Jale (Satchell, 61), Hassett, Cleverly (Wisnewski, 71), Chance; Collins (P.Riley, 46), Rennie.
USA — Naeher; Fox, Girma (Cook, 46), Sauerbrunn, Dunn (Huerta, 46); Lavelle (Sanchez, 61), Kornieck (Sullivan, 46), Horan; Purce (Rodman, 46), Morgan, Swanson (Williams, 67).
Yellow cards: New Zealand — P.Riley 84; USA — none. Red cards — none.
Referee: Kate Jacewicz (Australia). ARs: Sarah Ho (Australia), Lauren Hargrave (Australia); 4th: Lara Lee (Australia).
Att.: 12,508.

New Zealand/USA
Shots: 2/15
Shots on target: 1/8
Saves: 2/1
Corner Kicks: 1/3
Fouls: 6/3
Offside: 0/6
Possession: 26%/74%

Photo: Brad Smith/ISI Photos

6 comments about "New Zealand-USA Women's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Santiago 1314, January 18, 2023 at 12:39 p.m.

    It was a "Groovy" 2nd Half... Good enough... for 1st game of the Year.

  2. R2 Dad replied, January 19, 2023 at 3:47 p.m.

    Santi, the ladies looked fine against an outmatched opponent, playing Vlatko's 4-3-3 and pressing upfront. However, based on past results, will that suffice against a France, England, Spain or Germany? Vs these top teams we will be launching balls up the channels and cross-field balls bypassing midfield--not good enough. Perhaps if Macario is healthy, her X factor will save our bacon. I think a 4-2-3-1 playing a midblock would be a better approach, at least as a plan B. We gotta have a plan B for when things go sideways.

  3. Bob Ashpole, January 19, 2023 at 5:24 p.m.

    Santi, I would not mind players not being sharp if the level of play was good. I thought the game plan was far from world class, while the players looked sharp to me. 

    It is a step down from the WNT under Jill Ellis. Other nations are improving while we decline.

    Obviously I won't be happy until the US plays with more technical skill and more brains every where on the field.

  4. R2 Dad replied, January 20, 2023 at 1:28 p.m.

    Bob, can you name your top three coaches who you would like to see helm the squad instead of Vltako, and why? We always think of female coaches at this position, but I don't see why we couldn't include male. Who would best facilitate this migration from where we are, to a more positional play model you frequently mention?

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, January 20, 2023 at 3:44 p.m.

    Jill Ellis was doing a great job. I don't know of anyone close to her ability. Heinrichs was the last manager while Ellis had the team. I don't have any idea of Heinrichs coaching vision. I have great respect for her and actually marked her years ago in a friendly game. When she coached she was more or less using the same approach as Dorrance and DiCicco. That approach was a success then but it is outdated now.

    I have great respect for Bradley and Arena, but I don't see them as wanting the job. You can say that they don't have experience with the WNT or with the positional play, but they both know good soccer. 

    Pep would be the best choice. Knows soccer. You can say he doesn't know the women's game, but a technical style of play translates really well from men to women. 

    I guess the answer is that I don't know anyone that is available and up to the job. Spain, Holland, Argentina, etc., are going have first pick of their available male coaches. And the pool of great positional play coaches is tiny. 

    I would be interested in hearing what Frank says, but it is all academic even for the USMNT. USSF isn't interested in change or in hiring a coach that wants to play a technical style. 

    After the sales pitch about Gregg I am not even sure anyone at USSF (besides the coaches mentioned above) knows how to coach a technical style of play. Heck I would give Frank a try, although most people our age are too set in our ways to try new things. I am serious about Frank.

    There has to be better choices, other than just Jill Ellis but I don't know who they would be. As far as Jill Ellis goes, I think most people are clueless as to what she was doing. They just know she was successful.

    All I know is what I saw. And imo Ellis was at least 75% of the way to transitioning fully to positional play. What I don't know is how much of what she did different than what I think of as positional play was because she thought it was a better adaption to the circumstances. So in her vision she could have completely adapted to positional play. 

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, January 20, 2023 at 4:12 p.m.

    R2, about positional play and the lack of understanding in the US, I suspect that "total soccer" is a poor translation of the Dutch phrase. I know that "total" in this context has a deep cultural meaning to the Dutch. I suspect a more accurate translation is "holistic soccer". It fits much better with my understanding of Dutch-style principles.

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