Sophia Smith celebrates scoring her second goal in a friendly against Colombia on June 25, 2022 in Commerce City, Colo.
Sophia Smith scored twice within a six-minute span to spark the U.S. women’s soccer team to a 3-0 win over Colombia in a friendly Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the Denver area.
The game was the first of two between the teams as the U.S. prepares for next month’s Concacaf W Championship, which will determine qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games Paris 2024. The second friendly is scheduled for Tuesday night in Sandy, Utah.
After a scoreless first half, Rose Lavelle found Smith in the 54th minute. Her shot deflected off goalkeeper Catalina Perez and into the net.
Smith, a 21-year-old forward from Windsor, Colorado, doubled the Americans’ lead on the hour after Lavelle created a turnover. Lavelle passed to Smith, who drilled a 12-yard shot home. Smith has six international goals, five this year.
Lavelle had an opportunity to add a goal herself, but Perez made a diving save on her penalty kick in the 69th minute. It was Perez’s second PK save of the night as she denied Lindsey Horan in the 45th minute.
Second-half substitute Taylor Kornieck, who earned her first cap, closed out the scoring in the 90th minute, as she headed in Megan Rapinoe’s free kick for her first international goal.
U.S. goalie Casey Murphy recorded the shutout before a sellout crowd of 17,143.
Coming off an Olympic bronze medal last summer in Tokyo, which followed a second consecutive World Cup title in 2019, the U.S. is undergoing a gradual changing of the guard as it approaches the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The U.S. squad features a mix of veteran players like Alex Morgan, Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, as well as several up-and-comers including Smith, Trinity Rodman and Emily Cox. The Concacaf W Championship takes place July 4-18 in Monterrey, Mexico. The Americans will meet Haiti on July 4, Jamaica on July 7 and Mexico on July 11 in the group stage.
Four teams will earn World Cup bids in Monterrey, with two others advancing to an intercontinental playoff. The winning team will also secure a berth into the Paris Olympics, while two other teams will move on to a play-in next year.