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Mallory Swanson scores twice as USWNT blanks New Zealand

Apr 4, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; General view of warm up soccer balls before the International Friendly Women's Soccer match between Australia vs against the United States at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The countdown to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup began when the U.S. women’s national team defeated New Zealand 4-0 in Wellington, New Zealand, on Tuesday behind a pair of second-half goals by Mallory Swanson.

She scored in the 52nd and 63rd minutes surrounding an Alex Morgan goal in the 60th. Lynn Williams scored in the 74th with a 12-yard contested header in the Americans’ first match of the year.

Trinity Rodman’s first of two assists set up Swanson’s opening goal. Rodman sent a cross from the right edge of the penalty area that enabled Swanson to whip a header from 10 yards.

Morgan netted her 120th goal international with slotted ball from a heel pass by Rose Lavelle, and Swanson got her 27th via a perfect seam pass from Ashley Sanchez. Swanson was known as Mallory Pugh until she began using her married last name at the start of this year.

U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher’s lone save came in the 84th minute. The Americans had seven shots on goal against Erin Nayler.

New Zealand and Australia will co-host this year’s Women’s World Cup, with the United States entering as the two-time defending champion.

This trip for the Americans is to familiarize themselves with the country and facilities for the first three matches of the World Cup. The U.S. could play as many as five of seven games in New Zealand if they return to the final, which will be held Aug. 20 in Sydney, Australia.

The match in Wellington was at the stadium where the USWNT plays the second of three Group E matches on July 26 (U.S. time) against the Netherlands.

New Zealand and the U.S. play again Saturday in Auckland, site of the Americans’ first match (vs. Vietnam, July 21) and third match (vs. an opponent to be determined, Aug. 1) in the World Cup.

While the two matches against New Zealand are friendlies, or exhibitions, they nonetheless are important in determining the United States’ World Cup roster.

Governing body FIFA has not yet decided if the World Cup roster will be 23 or 26 players. USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski will have about 30 players vying for those coveted spots.

–Field Level Media