Sky Blue FC midfielder Carli Lloyd records two assists, defender Midge Purce helps seal clean sheet in USWNT 4-0 win against Columbia

The U.S. Women’s National Team opened its 2021 slate with a 4-0 victory against Colombia. Sky Blue midfielder Carli Lloyd recorded two assists on the night after earning the start and playing the full 90 while defender Midge Purce entered the match in the 72nd minute to help preserve the clean sheet.

It was a dominant performance to start the year as the USA held Colombia without a shot while putting up 22 of its own. The U.S. didn’t waste any time finding the back of the net in the new year as Megan Rapinoe teed up Samantha Mewis to put the USA on the board in just the fourth minute of play.

Several more dangerous opportunities quickly followed as forward Lynn Williams fired two shots in the ensuing minutes. The USWNT kept the pressure on Colombia in its own defensive half, ferociously winning the ball back quickly whenever possession was lost. The aggressive play kept the Colombia defense on its heels as Las Cafeteras had trouble clearing the ball around goal, but the steady hands of goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda kept things from getting out of hand in the first half.

After a number of chances were handled by Sepulveda, the U.S. broke through again in the 33rd minute. Lindsay Horan sent a booming cross to the far post where Lloyd headed it back across goal to Mewis, who fired home a close-range header to double the American advantage.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski made one change at halftime, bringing on forward Catarina Macario for her USWNT debut.

Things got going quickly after the break as Horan drew a penalty just 11 seconds after the second-half kick-off. Mewis stepped up for the ensuing shot and sunk the penalty to complete her hat trick.

Andonovski made four more substitutions, including Purce, down the stretch in the midfield and at the outside back spots while the USWNT continued to threaten, sending services into the box and looking dangerous on set pieces. Macario sparked a number of attacking opportunities in her debut.

Samantha wasn’t the only Mewis to light up the scoreboard for the USA as sister Kristie, a second-half substitute, scored a goal of her own in the 85th minute. Mewis’ third international goal was her second in two games after a long layoff from the WNT, this time set up by Lloyd’s second assist of the night after a nifty dribbling run in the left side of the penalty area. 

While Colombia gained a bit more possession late in the game, the USA defense kept things calm in front of goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who recorded her eighth-straight shutout and the 38th of her international career.

Lloyd, Purce, and the rest of the USWNT will face Colombia again on Friday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. (ESPN2), once again at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium.