Sophia Smith took the US through Vietnam in the WWC opener

July 9, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; United States forward Sophia Smith (11) chased the ball against Wales in the second half at PayPal Park. Image: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Sophia Smith scored twice and provided an assist as the US women’s national team beat Vietnam 3-0 on Saturday (local time) to open a quest for history at the Women’s World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Just 14 minutes after his World Cup debut, Smith made it 1-0. He got his brace in the seventh minute of first half stoppage time and Lindsey Horan made it 3-0 in the 77th minute of the Group E clash.

The US is bidding to become the first team, male or female, to win three consecutive World Cups. The next match is Thursday (local time) against the Netherlands in Wellington, New Zealand. The Netherlands is the 2019 World Cup runner-up after the USWNT.

The US line-up has five players who were part of the 2019 championship squad and six players making their World Cup debut.

Despite the score, it was a frustrating game for America. They were favored with six goals and kept on attacking Tran Thi Kim Thanh’s goal. The US took a 28-0 shooting lead, with Thanh making four saves, including a penalty.

Vietnam, ranked 32nd in the world, are one of eight countries playing in their first Women’s World Cup.

The US was 7-0-2 in the open but were stymied until Smith and Alex Morgan combined for the first goal.

Morgan pulled some of the Vietnamese before he flicked the ball in front of Smith down the left. Smith took it from there with a left-footed shot at the near post.

In the 44th minute, Thanh saved Morgan’s penalty after Hoang Thi Loan was fouled by Trinity Rodman. The play was initially declared no penalty but was canceled after a video review.

Thanh stopped him with his right foot.

Smith redeemed Morgan just before halftime for a 2-0 lead, hitting a 15-yard shot. Morgan was ruled offside, but video review again ruled otherwise.

Horan extended the lead with a shot from the center of the box with Smith providing the set-up.

Megan Rapinoe came on in the 63rd minute to become the 14th USWNT player to play 200 games.

–Field Level Media

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