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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Sept. 15, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated New Zealand 3-1 with a first half brace from Julie Ertz and a late goal from Alex Morgan in front of a near capacity crowd of 17,301 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Veteran defender Kelley O’Hara captained the side in her 100th cap for her country.

In a sign of the impact she would have on the game, Ertz had her first chance of the night in the 11th minute when her overhead volley flew just over the crossbar. Playing as a defensive midfielder, she went on to score in the 16th and 24th minutes to give the USA an early 2-0 lead.

In the 51st minute, defender Sofia Huerta earned her first cap for the United States when she was subbed into the match for Taylor Smith; she is the first player from the state of Idaho to earn a cap for the U.S. WNT. Huerta became eligible to play for the U.S. yesterday after receiving word that FIFA had approved her change of national association after she had represented Mexico at the youth and senior levels.

New Zealand cut the lead in the 75th minute when Hannah Wilkinson beat U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to a ball in the box and headed home. Wilkinson has scored New Zealand’s last four goals for her country against the USA. Four minutes later, Alex Morgan returned the two-goal lead for the USA, scoring her second goal of 2017 and her 75th career goal from a Huerta assist.

Next, the USA will head to Cincinnati, Ohio, hometown of WNT midfielder Rose Lavelle, for its second match of the two-game series against New Zealand on Sept. 19 (7:30 p.m. ET; FS1) at Nippert Stadium. Approximately, only 4,000 tickets remain for the match in Cincinnati, with a near-sellout expected [BUY TICKETS].

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Julie Ertz (Lindsey Horan), 16th minute: The goal sequence came from a corner kick from the left side. New Zealand cleared, but not far enough and Abby Dahlkemper played a short pass to Kelley O’Hara who sent a looping pass to the far post where Lindsey Horan headed it down towards the middle of the six-yard box. Ertz was first to the bouncing ball and finished with a right-footed strike from close range for the 10th goal of her career. USA 1, NZL 0. GOAL.

USA – Julie Ertz, 24th minute: The USA put together a 15-passes on a well-constructed sequence that culminated in right back Taylor Smith playing Mallory Pugh through to the right end line. Pugh’s cross found Megan Rapinoe at the far post and her header hit the left post and bounced back into the middle where the crashing Ertz smashed the rebound into the middle of the net off the half-volley to earn her brace and put the USA up 2-0. USA 2, NZL 0. GOAL.

NZL – Hannah Wilkinson (Ali Riley), 75th minute: Ali Riley crossed from the left side. The ball got caught up in the swirling wind, bounced in the box and Wilkinson won a foot race with USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to head it into the vacated net. USA 2, NZL 1.

USA – Alex Morgan (Sofia Huerta), 79th minute: Huerta sent a long cross into the left side of the box where Morgan brought it down with her left foot and then ripped it to the far corner for her second goal of the year. USA 3, NZL 1. GOAL. FINAL.

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