Delran native Carli Lloyd scored in her third straight U.S. national team game to fuel a 5-0 win over New Zealand in the Americans’ next-to-last game before the World Cup.
The game was arguably the U.S.' toughest test ahead of the tournament kicks off. Despite the lopsided score, New Zealand has some legitimate talent. And the game was played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, a baseball venue, which required uneven temporary sod to be laid over the dirt infield.
Knowing the risk of injury on the sod, the U.S. often looked hesitant when attacking that end of the field in the first half. But Megan Rapinoe, who bore the brunt of dealing with the uneven turf, settled nerves in the 34th minute. Sprung free by a great bit of hold-up play from Alex Morgan, Rapinoe fired a low cross across the the 18-yard box that Tobin Heath tapped home for the opening goal.
Rose Lavelle doubled the lead in the 40th. Lindsey Horan floated a high cross as Lavelle charged up the middle, and the Cincinnati native delivered a sliding volley from near where her hometown Reds slide into third base.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis made her first substitution at halftime, sending Sam Mewis in for Lindsey Horan. It was a pre-planned move as Horan finishes up recovering from a hip injury suffered in recent weeks.
At the hour mark, Ellis withdrew Kelley O’Hara for Ali Krieger and Rapinoe for Carli Lloyd. It was the 100th career national team cap for Krieger, who played in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups and the 2016 Olympics. The 34-year-old Penn State alum will likely be honored publicly for the feat when the U.S. plays Mexico at Red Bull Arena on May 26 in its final World Cup warmup game (12 p.m., ESPN and Univision Deportes).
Under a minute later, Lloyd scored with her very first touch. The Delran native took a pass from Heath that split the New Zealand back line and calmly delivered her fourth goal in the national team’s last three games.
Ellis made all three of her remaining subs at once in the 73rd minute, sending a reminder to the world of the U.S.' attacking depth. Mallory Pugh replaced Heath, Christen Press replaced Alex Morgan and Allie Long replaced Julie Ertz.
Lloyd got her second goal of the night in the 83rd, with off a gritty finish of a cross from Press on the left wing. Long started the play with a tackle at midfield, and Pugh sprung Press with a piercing through ball out of the center of the park.
Sam Mewis capped off the scoring just a minute later, hitting a trademark long-range blast from 23 yards that deflected off New Zealand centerback Meikayla Moore and left goalkeeper Erin Nayler helpless.