September 15, 2016
NINE FOR NO. 9
USWNT bids farewell to Heather O'Reilly
The U.S. Women’s National Team celebrated Heather O’Reilly’s farewell game with a 9-0 victory over Thailand at Mapfre Stadium Thursday night.
O’Reilly was hugged by teammates as she tearfully left the field in the 89th minute. No replacement was sent in, the No. 9 lit up on the fourth official's signboard, in a symbolic move by coach Jill Ellis as the U.S. upped its record to 17-0-3 with its 15th shutout this year.
O’Reilly, playing her 231st U.S. game, scored her 47th goal early in the game as the U.S. took a three-goal lead in the opening five minutes. O’Reilly entered the game with 54 assists, one less than Julie Foudy, matching Foudy’s total with a first-minute assist for fifth place on the all-time U.S. list.
The U.S. dominated from the start. Carli Lloyd, who had a hat trick and four assists, scored in the first minute. Then, after Christen Press’ fourth-minute goal, O’Reilly then converted in the fifth minute, finishing a Lloyd feed into an open net on a late run into the penalty area.
The U.S. attack slowed after that, O’Reilly having a shot cleared off the line in the 18th minute. In the 36th minute, Tobin Heath sent a chip from the left side of the goal box just under the bar for a 4-0 halftime advantage.
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who knelt during the pre-game national anthem, entered as a second half replacement for Heath.
Lloyd finished with a hat trick, and threatened to score several times, including an early second half point-blank shot saved off a Rapinoe feed.
In the 60th minute, an O’Reilly cross went off a defender, Lloyd converting from just outside the goal area for a five-goal lead. In the 70th minute, substitute Crystal Dunn sent a left-footer from just inside the penalty area off the underside of the bar for a 6-0 edge.
The Thais retaliated off the kickoff, Anootsara Maijarern’s shot cleared off the line by Kelley O’Hara with Ashlyn Harris, starting in place of Hope Solo, out of position.
In the 80th minute, Lloyd finished from the goal area after a Lindsey Horan header had been saved off a Rapinoe cross. Substitute Alex Morgan converted a left-footer off a Lloyd feed in the 86th minute, and another in the second minute of added time.