Rising star Trinity Rodman scored for the US in the 76th minute and again in the 88th, and the Americans finally capitalized on their many offensive chances to beat Wales 2-0 on Sunday in a final tuneup for the Women’s World Cup.
First, Rodman broke up a scoreless tie when she one-touched a pass from Sophia Smith then later emphatically delivered again to provide a glimpse of Americans’ youth movement headed Down Under this month.
Smith corralled a pretty ball from Lynn Williams – who subbed in during the 64th minute – sent from the center circle and raced past her defender on the left side to find a charging Rodman for the initial goal.
Rodman, the highly touted 21-year-old forward, set up her own shot the next time. She entered for Alex Morgan to begin the second half.
Rodman doubled her number of goals for the US to give her four over 18 matches for the Americans – and she even had another chance on a header in the 74th. The US hardly looked in sync for much of the afternoon less than two weeks from the World Cup opener but the backups brought some new energy.
US coach Vlatko Andonovski is mixing and matching lineups featuring veterans and unproven new talent on the 23-woman World Cup roster with nine returners from the 2019 World Cup champion team and 14 players making their debut on the biggest world stage.
Alana Cook nearly found the net on a header in the 68th minute that Wales forward Kayleigh Green headed away near the post and Sofia Huerta had a nice look in the 73rd minute.
Alyssa Thompson missed from just outside the penalty box in the 61st minute – so it was a game of missed chances on a picture-perfect Bay Area afternoon for the sold-out friendly match that had its share of physical moments and hard hits.
The Americans’ best opportunity early was a header by Lindsey Horan from the middle of the 18-yard box in the 11th minute stopped by goalkeeper Olivia Clark. Ashley Sanchez took a header shot late in the first half off a free kick.
A scrappy Wales team fought on their defensive end to limit the Americans’ chances for open looks at the net. But the Welsh didn’t manage their first shot until the 74th minute on an attempt by Hannah Cain.
Yet the US did get ample chances to work on various set pieces with several first-half corner kicks.
Wales defender Lily Woodham exited briefly and was examined by medical personnel following a head-to-head collision with Alyssa Thompson in the 23rd minute that gave Woodham a swollen right eye immediately. And forward Carrie Jones took a shoe to the head moments before the halftime whistle.
Alyssa Thompson showed her speed on the left wing and defender Crystal Dunn made some long runs into the Americans’ offensive half while sparking the defense.
A day after Megan Rapinoe announced she will retire after her fourth World Cup and finish the National Women’s Soccer League season with the OL Reign, the 38-year-old forward didn’t get on the field. She received huge cheers when she came outside for warmups and again running through the tunnel after going through her pregame routine.
She will have to wait for the World Cup to make her 200th career national team appearance over a 17-year career with the Americans – and will become just the 14th US player to reach the mark.
Rapinoe, who debuted in the 2011 Germany World Cup and also played in 2015 in Canada and France four years ago, has 63 career goals with 73 assists. She is a three-time Olympian, winning gold in 2012 and also appearing in ’16 and 2021.
Rapinoe and the Americans are chasing a third straight title when the Women’s World Cup opens 20 July in Australia and New Zealand.
Instead of seeing Rapinoe, the home fans in a sellout crowd of 18,000 were treated to their first chance seeing Rodman at PayPal Park, home of the MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes.
Midfielder Savannah DeMelo entered midway through the second half for her first career appearance with the Americans, who are 8-0-0 this year outscoring opponents 19-1.
The US will begin group stage play in Group E facing Vietnam on 22 July at Auckland’s Eden Park. The Americans face 2019 runner-up The Netherlands in the second match on 26 July then Portugal on 1 August.