This team came to play.
Excerpted from Wall Street Journal and The Guardian 6.11.2019
The defending World Cup champions were out for blood and intent on running up the biggest score possible. In that sense, the 13-0 final scoreline – a World Cup record – was perhaps not a surprise. Alex Morgan set a mark of her own, her five goals tied the tournament for the most by one player in a single game.
It was clear what kind of match this would be a few seconds before the whistle blew. The US put seven attacking players on the halfway line while just three defenders hung back with the goalkeeper. Once the game started, those seven US players sprinted past the Thailand midfield toward the goal. The game largely continued like that, with proceedings taking place almost exclusively in the Thailand half.
U.S. players and coach Jill Ellis said they didn’t consider pulling back because they thought to do so would disrespect their opponent. They also noted that goal differential serves as a tiebreaker in deciding where teams place in the group stage.
“A lot of this is about building momentum and so as a coach I don’t find it my job to rein my players in,” Ellis said. “This is what they’ve dreamt about. I respect Thailand, I spoke to some of them afterward and they should keep their heads up. This is part of the growth of the game.”
“We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves,” Morgan said after the game. “Every goal matters in this tournament and that’s what we were working on.”
It took the Americans 12 minutes to get on the board. Right-back Kelley O’Hara was given space and time to loft a cross to an unmarked Morgan, who easily headed the ball past goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying. For Thailand, it only got worse from there. Rose Lavelle scored eight minutes later with a low drive that Chor Charoenying got a palm to but could not stop. By the end of the massacre, Lavelle and Samantha Mewis had scored two each, Morgan five, while Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh had one each.
The game took on an uncomfortable vibe in the second half as goals came just a few minutes apart and U.S. players jumped and danced on the sideline.
Up next, the Americans head to Paris where they will take on Chile, who lost to Sweden earlier in the day, on Sunday. The Americans then play Sweden in their final first round match.
Of the 24 teams in the tournament, 16 will qualify for the knockout stage. The two teams finishing first and second in each group and the four best teams among those ranked third will advance.
On Tuesday, fans started the wave started early, when the U.S. had a two-goal lead early in the first half. The crowd of 18,591 at Auguste Delaune Stadium heavily favored the U.S.