Mallory Pugh just has a way to get the ball rolling and game moving. A week ago against Portugal’s Women’s National Team, she started a sideline attack that led to a pinpoint pass to Crystal Dunn, who sent a cross in on the ground an oncoming Jessica McDonald, who stepped up to score for the Lady Yanks.
Last night in Paisley, Scotland, the former Real Colorado Soccer Club wonder woman sent over a long cross from the right wing to Alex Morgan, who perfectly met the service with a powerful volley right into the side of the goal.
Be honest: How many times have you watched this? pic.twitter.com/U7R5cQThBa— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) November 14, 2018
Later in the match, Scotland sandbagged their defense much like Portugal did by playing back as many as 11. Pugh worked her way in the box, came down in the thicket, earned a foul, and set up another scoring opportunity for her side. Veteran Carli Lloyd stepped up to take the penalty kick but it sailed high and nearly brought down the crossbar.
The game closed out 1-0, and the 20-year-old Pugh walked away with her 43rd cap and 14th career assist.
Pugh’s Colorado counterpart Lindsay Horan earned the night off after racking up hundreds of minutes and a half a dozen bruises since the Concacaf Tournament in North Carolina and Texas.
For Jill Ellis’ team, they closed out an unbeaten for the calendar year, however, the last two victories were anything but dominating for the #1 FIFA-ranked squad.
It is fair to assume that during the months leading up to the 2019 World Cup Tournament, the coaching staff will be fine-tuning the roster, lineup combinations, and formations. They will also need to work out how to outplay the bunker down strategy that their opponents may present them with.
On a very positive note, the win marked the 501st victory in the history of the U.S. Women’s National Program. The USA is 18-0-2 in 2018, with wins against Denmark, Germany, England, Mexico (thrice), China PR (twice), Japan, Brazil, Chile (twice), Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Canada and Portugal; and ties against Australia, France, and Portugal. The team is unbeaten, going 26-0-3, and has outscored its opponents 92-17 through a long period, scoring in all 29 games. The WNT hasn’t conceded a goal in 800-plus minutes in 2018. This year won the SheBelieves Cup, the Tournament of Nations and the Concacaf Women’s Championship.
For now, the team will take a much-deserved break and will travel to Europe in January for their annual training camp. The camp will include a friendly against 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup host France on January 19th in Le Havre, France. France is currently ranked 4th in the FIFA standings.