Lynn Williams made a statement with a goal in her comeback as the United States women's national team defeated New Zealand in a friendly on Tuesday, 4-0. The USWNT kicked off their new year with a January camp in New Zealand, the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup co-host nation. The two teams will close the month with a second game on Friday.
The U.S. got off to a slow start in the first half against the Football Ferns, struggled to connect passes, and were disjointed in the middle of the pitch. With the offseason rust rearing its ugly head, the team still held most of the possession (74%) and attempted more passes (325) compared to New Zealand. But lack of urgency and only one shot on target led to only one attempt on target.
The player substitutions for USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski paved the way for victory. Trinity Rodman immediately impacted the game and provided two assists, including one on the opening goal for the team headed away by Mallory Swanson.
Swanson closed the game with two goals, and Alex Morgan extended the scoreline by three. Williams iced the game with a fourth goal in the 74th minute. It was the first appearance for Williams after a 10-month absence from the team due to surgery on her hamstring.
The victory is the first opening-year win for the USWNT since 1999. The coaching staff will likely make more player rotations as the team looks ahead to the next game on Friday, Jan. 20. The team will now head to Auckland to close the pair of friendlies.