Westfield Matildas in eight-goal thriller with USA
Four second-half goals from the USA saw the Westfield Matildas fall 5-3 to the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champions in Friday afternoon’s friendly clash in Colorado.
Caitlin Foord’s stunning effort shortly after the interval handed Ante Milicic’s side a second-half advantage after Lisa De Vanna had cancelled out Alex Morgan’s early opener in the opening period.
But Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh all found the net in the space of 17 minutes in a lethal and ultimately decisive second-half spell from the world's No.1 side.
Sam Kerr’s emphatic header – her first goal against the USA – ignited a late rally from Australia, but Pugh put the result beyond doubt by clinching her double with a lob over Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams in the final minute of added time.
It was an enthralling encounter between the two heavyweights, and a high-octane affair was ignited when Morgan broke the deadlock with her 100th goal for the United States.
Australia swiftly responded through their own iconic goal scorer, De Vanna, who accompanied Foord on a rapid counter before lashing an unstoppable left-footed effort from the edge of the box past USA shotstopper Alyssa Naeher.
Only a heroic goal-line clearance from Ellie Carpenter prevented Rapinoe from restoring the lead within minutes: the Canberra United and Portland Thorns teenager scooped the ball away just in time after Williams parried the USA forward’s initial shot from close range.
The dust had barely settled on an action-packed first half when Foord sensationally put Australia ahead. After a lovely dummy and exchange with Kerr, the Sydney FC star span past a US defender and slotted a curling 47th-minute strike past Naeher to gift the travelling Aussies a merited lead.
But the US forged a response worthy of their status as the team to beat when the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup commences in June. First, Jill Ellis’ side restored parity when Heath drifted in unmarked at the back post to bury Emily Sonnett’s cross, then they regained the lead via Rapinoe, who fired past Williams from outside the box.
Pugh doubled the advantage 38 seconds after entering the fray off the bench, brushing the ball past Williams following Morgan’s neat backheel and Sonnett’s quick feet.
Kerr dispatched Hayley Raso’s cross with a bullet header to spark hopes of a fightback, but they were extinguished when Pugh grabbed her second at the death.
Re-live all the key moments from the eight-goal thriller in the live blog below.