FOOTBALL: U.S. women cruise to 4-0 win over Portugal in Philadelphia before record 49,504

U.S. star striker Carli Lloyd

The second leg of the five-game “Victory Tour” for the U.S. women’s National Team was mostly celebration with a 4-0 victory over Portugal in front of 49,504 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The U.S. had some line-up changes, with Adrianna Franch in goal for more experience, and Kelley O’Hara, Alex Morgan (concussion), Megan Rapinoe (achilles) and Rose Lavelle (concussion) were out with injuries. Christian Press, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath were on the front line.

The U.S. applied pressure as soon as the game kicked off and the first score came just four minutes in. Julie Ertz had room in the midfield and found Press at the far left side of the box in Portugal territory. Multiple runners headed toward the goal and while defenders collapsed around Lloyd running down the middle, the ball whistled by and found Heath all alone at the right post for the easy tap-in for a 1-0 lead.

A in-swinging Press corner kick in the 18th minute found the head of Morgan Brian and her shot bounced off the ground toward the far side of the goal as Portuguese keeper Patricia Morais came toward her. It was an easy goal and a 2-0 advantage.

That was the halftime score, but there were more goals to come. Off of a long throw-in in the 52nd minute, Lindsey Horan headed the ball behind her and there was Lloyd for the right-footed tap that made the score 3-0. It was Lloyd’s 115th international goal.

Morais failed to stop a 78th-minute shot from Jessica McDonald and the carom bounced off of Press’s hands and into the goal, but the score was disallowed. The U.S. got a fourth goal in the 82nd minute, as Lloyd saved a long pass along the right side, turned and sent a left-footed laser toward the goal that was headed in by Allie Long for a 4-0 final. Press hit the right post in the 86th minute, or the score could have been bigger.

U.S. keeper Franch was required to get busy in the 54th minute with a save off a Portugal rush, but was otherwise mostly untroubled during the evening.

The attendance of 49,504 at the 69,176-capacity Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia was a record. According to U.S. Soccer, “The previous USWNT record for a stand-alone friendly – a game that was not a part of a World Cup, Olympics or a doubleheader – was set during the first match of the 2015 Victory Tour after that year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup triumph when 44,028 fans came out to Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.”

The U.S. is now 8-0 vs. Portugal all-time; the Victory Tour continues with another match vs. Portugal on 3 September at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.