San Diego Wave: Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma start for USWNT vs Republic of Ireland in Austin, Texas
This Saturday, April 8, the USWNT hosted a friendly match against the Republic of Ireland at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. The United States were the heavy favorites heading into the match as they have the better squad and also had won all 13 games played historically against the Republic of Ireland.
Julie Ertz was honored before the match as she reached 100 games played with the USWNT, but she was not in starting 11. San Diego Wave’s Taylor Kornieck was also on the bench, but both Alex Morgan and Naomi Girma featured in Vlatko Andonovski’s lineup.
Both Morgan and Girma were notable in defense in the first 45 minutes of the match. While this is expected for Girma, it is definitely not expected for a player like Alex Morgan. Morgan had a goal-line clearance in the 18th minute after a corner kick by Ireland that helped keep the game scoreless, and it was by far her best play in the first half.
Another step in the process of building toward the World Cup 🧱
⚽️ 37′ – Fox
⚽️ 80′ – Horan (PK) pic.twitter.com/67Ols1TxyI
— U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (@USWNT) April 8, 2023
Girma had a consistent game overall and did have a few important blocks and clearances in the first 45 minutes. The first goal of the game came in the 38th minute as Emily Fox scored her first-ever goal with the USWNT off a powerful strike outside of the penalty box. While the goal was spectacular, it was not the most important moment of the first half as superstar forward Mallory Swanson unfortuantley came down with a heavy knee injury and was carted off the field before the halftime whistle.
Swanson is a fundamental unit of Vlatko Andonovski’s team, and hopefully, she will be able to return before the start of the FIFA World Cup.
Alex Morgan had a relatively quiet game as she was subbed out for Ashley Hatch in the 66th minute of the match. The 32-year-old striker was not heavily involved in the United States’ offense, but it is not a concern as she is still one of the stars on the team and is guaranteed a spot for the World Cup roster.
In the 78th minute, Diane Caldwell tackled Lindsey Horan inside of the penalty area, and a penalty was rewarded to the United States. Horan took the penalty herself as she shot left and put the ball past Courtney Brosnan, who guessed the right way but could not get all of the ball on the dive.
The final whistle ended with a 2-0 victory for the USWNT as it was not an overly dominant performance by the U.S., but it was enough to get the victory in front of a vibrant crowd in Austin, Texas. While Alex Morgan did not get many scoring opportunities, Naomi Girma did have a very solid performance in the backline next to Becky Sauerbrunn. Girma’s only miscue was that she alsmost scored an own goal in the 73rd minute off a cross by Katie McCabe, but Alyssa Naeher had no problems getting to the sphere and keeping the clean sheet in order.
Taylor Koeniek did not feature in this game, but she is likely to get game time against the Republic of Ireland this next Tuesday, April 11, in St. Louis. Australia also played a friendly match against Scotland this past Friday, April 7, but Emily van Egmond did not play as she is due to play this next Tuesday, April 11, against England. Sweden suffered a 1-0 loss to Denmark on Friday, April 7, and Wave’s Sofia Jakobsson also spent the entire 90 minutes on the bench as Sweden plays again on Tuesday, April 11, against Norway. Canada also plays on Tuesday, April 11, as San Diego Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan is surely to get the start in net against France.
Primer duelo amistoso entre @sandiegowavefc 🆚 @XolosFemenil 🤝🐕🌊
Wave 3 – 0 Xolos | #SomosPerrísimas 🐕 #VamosWave 🌊 pic.twitter.com/CJLKwrSSVv
— Xolos Femenil (@XolosFemenil) April 8, 2023
Meanwhile, the Wave is still prepping for their first away match of the NWSL season next Saturday, April 15, against OL Reign. San Diego Wave defeated Tijuana Xolos Femenil 3-0 in a friendly game behind closed doors this Saturday, April 8, in San Diego.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.