On a night filled with firsts and unconventional moments, the U.S. women’s soccer team shot past Chile en route to a confident 3-0 win Friday in Carson, California.
The two teams met for the first time in history under the lights of the StubHub Center to play the first of two friendly matches as Team USA warms up for next month’s Concacaf Women’s Championship, the regional qualifier for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Faced with an unknown rival, the Americans didn’t waste time putting numbers on the board. Nineteen-year-old Tierna Davidson, who also plays for Stanford, was the first to strike, her first goal as a U.S. team member coming off a corner kick from Tobin Heath in the eighth minute.
A defensive error by Chilean defender Carla Guerrero responding to a flick from Julie Ertz resulted in an own goal for Chile, bringing the score to 2-0 in the 32nd minute. Christen Press, whose converted spot kick was disallowed by the referee just before halftime, retaliated with a dramatically angled shot through the net on a setup from Mallory Pugh in the 59th. The third U.S. goal of the night was Press’ first of 2018, the 45th of her career and came in her 100th cap.
The bright spot for Chile in the shutout was the exceptional defense of goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who made nine saves on Team USA’s 11 shots on goal. After a surprise second-place finish at the Copa América Femenina this past spring, Chile will make its Women’s World Cup debut next year in France, where the United States is hoping to defend its 2015 title.
In order to reserve themselves a place in the tournament, the Americans will need to finish in the top three at the Concacaf Championship. The U.S. women are 10-0-2 in 2018, having drawn with Australia and France earlier this season.
The U.S. and Chile will play their second friendly Tuesday night at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.