US women take advantage of 3 own goals to beat New Zealand

Mallory Pugh and the USWNT cruised to an easy win on Sunday. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

CARSON, Calif. — Ashley Hatch and Mallory Pugh scored second-half goals for the United States and three own goals in the first half by New Zealand’s Meikayla Moore propelled the Americans to a 5-0 victory Sundayin the SheBelieves Cup.

The U.S. played to a scoreless draw against the Czech Republic on Thursday night but bounced back against the Football Ferns. The three own goals by Moore is the first time that has happened in a U.S. women’s national team match.

Coach Vlatko Andonovski is evaluating younger players during the four-team round-robin tournament with stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Tobin Heath not on the roster.

The Americans were able to break New Zealand’s press often in the first half and forced own goals by Moore, who was making her 50th international appearance. A crossing pass from the American’s Sophia Smith into the box deflected off Smith’s right leg to put the U.S. on top in the fifth minute. The goal snapped a 181-minute shutout streak.

One minute later, Sofia Huerta’s pass into the center of the box went off Moore’s head into the net to extend the U.S. lead to 2-0.

Moore then completed the most unfortunate of hat trick’s in the 36th minute when the Liverpool women’s defender couldn’t clear Margaret Purce’s pass and had it go off her left leg. Moore would be subbed out in the 40th minute.

Hatch entered the game at the start of the second half scored her third goal in the last three games for the national team in the 50th minute on a header from the center of the box on a crossing pass by Huerta.

Pugh would score in stoppage time, splitting two defenders and scoring on a breakaway in the 93rd minute.

Alyssa Naeher made one save for the U.S. It was her first match since Aug. 2, 2021, when she was forced to leave the Olympic semifinal against Canada in the 30th minute after suffering a knee injury.

Naeher was one of six changes in the starting 11 compared to Thursday’s opener.

New Zealand’s best opportunity came in the 32nd minute when Olivia Chance’s shot in the box went wide left.