Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd scored in the first half and the U.S. women’s national team overpowered Australia 4-0, giving coach Tom Sermanni a victory in his first match against his former team.
Holiday and Lloyd both scored on powerful volleys, and Abby Wambach scored her 162nd career international goal with delicate flick off the outside of her right foot that trickled into the corner. Christen Press scored in stoppage time for the final goal.
Christen Press scored in stoppage time for the final goal. U.S. goal keeper Hope Solo made three big saves in the first half.
The win extends the Americans’ unbeaten streak to 36 games and pushed Sermanni’s record with the U.S. to 11-0-2 in his first year. Sermanni coached Australia, leading the Matildas to two World Cup appearances and an Asian Cup title, before taking over the U.S. job in late 2012.
The 2012 Olympic champion, the U.S. is unbeaten on home soil since 2004, a streak of 74 games.
The U.S. started Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux together for the first time, but dropped Leroux from her typical forward position to midfield. The U.S. pressed the flow of play from the outset and scored in the 6th minute when Holiday got her 20th career goal.
Becky Sauerbrunn lofted a high free kick into the penalty area that Australia failed to clear. The ball bounced to Holiday, who slammed a volley that took a slight deflection off a defender and zipped past goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
The U.S. struck again in the 14th when Lloyd pounced on a ball that bounced her way across the 18-yard line. With no one challenging her, Lloyd hit a powerful shot with her left foot that again left Williams with no chance. It was Lloyd’s 45th career goal.
Australia had several good scoring chances in the first half as the U.S. back line struggled with the speed of Matildas forward Lisa DeVanna.
DeVanna had three shots denied by Solo, the best coming 3 minutes in when DeVanna burst past Crystal Dunn. Solo made a diving one-handed save to punch the ball away and deny the goal.
While the Americans forced most of the play in the Australian half, the U.S. back line of Dunn, Sauerbrunn, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg looked fragile defending Australia’s counter attacks and struggled with De Vanna’s speed.
Sermanni stuck with his starters to open the second half and the U.S. continued to press the pace of play. Wambach, the 2012 Women’s World Player of the Year, couldn’t put a finishing touch on several decent scoring chances in the first half, but finally found the net in the 56th minute.
Wambach chased a long ball from Lloyd that bounced across the goal and just managed to flick it under the diving Williams, who turned to watch as it rolled just inside the post.
The game was the first of three in 10 days for the U.S. The Americans play New Zealand in San Francisco on Oct. 27 and again in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 30.