The United States hosted Wales in their final friendly ahead of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the four-time World Champions looking to build momentum ahead of their trip to the Southern Hemisphere. Wales failed to qualify for the tournament, but would look to prove themselves against elite opposition in front of a sellout crowd at San Jose’s PayPal Park.
USA: Naeher; Dunn, Girma, Cook, Fox; Sanchez, Horan, Sullivan; Thompson, Morgan, Smith
WAL: Clark; Woodham, Evans, Ladd, Roberts; Holland, J. Green, James; Cain, K. Green, Jones
Clark was forced into action with just over ten minutes played, as the hosts managed to convert their early possession into a shot on goal. Lindsey Horan’s header looked destined for the bottom corner, though a great reflex save from the Welsh ‘keeper ensured the game remained goalless.
But as the United States’ relentless attack continued to knock on the door of the Welsh defence, it was Manchester United’s Hayley Ladd providing a reassuring presence in the backline – seemingly involved in every clearance as the visitors reached the thirty-minute mark without conceding.
They’d certainly be put under pressure though, with a free-kick delivery to the back post met by Sanchez. Her effort across the face of goal was sent high though, with Clark’s relief palpable as half-time drew nearer.
As play resumed for the second half, Wales’ already-impressive confidence seemed to be bolstered by their first-half clean sheet – and Y Dreigiau emerged with a newfound physicality, though that saw Josie Green receive the first yellow card of the match.
The United States looked set to score as a corner swung in from the left flank looked set to be nodded towards the back of the net, but a great clearance off the line courtesy of Kayleigh Green ensured this game would remain goalless just a little longer. Despite now playing further up the field, the Brighton star’s career started in defence – and it’s clear to see those instincts remain with her to this day.
But ultimately, the United States were bound to break the deadlock – and with fifteen minutes left on the clock, Trinity Rodman proved why this side are ranked as the best in the world. Sophia Smith’s simple pass across the face of goal was placed perfectly into the path of the youngster, who had an easy finish to make as she slotted past Clark.
It looked as if the hosts’ advantage would remain at just the one goal as Wales’ resolute defending seemed to prevent any chances of a second strike – but a movement of excellence from Rodman saw the striker bag her second of the afternoon. Using Manchester United’s latest signing, Gemma Evans, as somewhat of a shield, Rodman sprung out of nowhere to hammer home a curling effort to truly put the game to bed.
Wales will likely feel aggrieved that they weren’t able to cling on after an impressive showing against the reigning World Champions, but a two-goal defeat is certainly a respectable result. Having scored both of the goals, Trinity Rodman has established herself as the player to watch this summer – and it’s fair to say that the United States’ footballing future is in safe hands.
FromTheSpot will be bringing you coverage of every game throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including previews and detailed reports. We’ll cover games in the buildup to the tournament too, so you can get a feel for the potential favourites ahead of action getting underway in Australia and New Zealand.