Alex Morgan did it all for the U.S. women’s national soccer team in its Tournament of Nations opener Thursday night against longtime rival Japan.
She first gave the U.S. the lead in the 18th minute, then broke a 1-1 tie in the 26th, then finished the game off in the 56th to complete her fourth career international hat trick. Megan Rapinoe added a fourth 10 minutes later, but it was more than the U.S. would need in winning 4-2.
Morgan now has 89 career international goals, moving her closer to the century mark and teammate Carli Lloyd, who came on for Morgan as a sub in the 73rd minute.
The U.S. and Japan have a long history dating back to their first match in 1986. While Team USA now holds an all-time record of 28-1-7 against Japan, the rivals have been two of the top teams in women’s soccer over the last decade. They met in three straight international finals: the 2011 Women’s World Cup (Japan won), 2012 Olympic Games (U.S. won) and 2015 Women’s World Cup (U.S. won). They last met in the 2017 edition of the Tournament of Nations, a 3-0 U.S. win.
Up next for the U.S. in the tournament is Australia, which also won its first match of the tournament against Brazil earlier Thursday evening.