In an all-important Women’s World Cup year, Mallory Swanson couldn’t have had a better start. She’s got a new last name, but still has the same firepower as always.
The 24-year-old Highlands Ranch native scored twice in the second half, as the U.S. Women’s National Team used a dominant final 45 minutes to pull past New Zealand 4-0 Wednesday afternoon at Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
The co-hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup are playing a pair of games against the two-time defending champions, with the next game set for Friday night.
After a scoreless first half in which the U.S. dominated possession but was unable to score, including a golden opportunity from Golden native Lindsey Horan, head coach Vlatko Andonovski made four substitutes that helped make the difference.
One of those substitutes was 20-year-old forward Trinity Rodman, who plays for the Washington Spirit in the NWSL. Six minutes after the second half began, Swanson opened her 2023 account with a brilliant cross in from Rodman, as the Real Colorado product headed home the game’s opening goal.
Nine minutes later, Alex Morgan doubled the lead as Rose Lavelle backheeled a pass into the path of Morgan, who buried the chance to make it 2-0.
Swanson added her second of the game minutes later, as she broke the New Zealand back line with a perfect run and an even better pass from Ashley Sanchez to make it 3-0. Horan recorded a “hockey”, or secondary, assist.
The Highlands Ranch native, who was questionable to start as she tweaked her ankle during warm-ups was subbed off for Lynn Williams in the 67th minute, a USWNT fan favorite who returned to action for the first time in 10 months after suffering a severe hamstring injury. In the 74th, Williams made good on her comeback with the fourth and decisive goal.
The U.S. will play New Zealand again Friday at 8:05 p.m. on HBO Max and Telemundo.
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