Matildas v USA: Australia suffer 3-0 loss in Sydney after conceding goal in opening seconds

Anna HarringtonAAP
Sam Kerr and partner Kristie Mewis.
Camera IconSam Kerr and partner Kristie Mewis. Credit: Getty

A game Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson intended to treat as a World Cup final dress rehearsal has instead proved a reality check, with the United States handing Australia a 3-0 defeat in Sydney.

A record home Matildas crowd of 36,109 fans packed Stadium Australia but were silenced after just 24 seconds when Ashley Hatch pounced on a series of defensive lapses to snatch the lead.

Rose Lavelle doubled the lead in the 49th minute, with skipper Lindsey Horan adding a third from the penalty spot in the 68th.

US goalkeeper Casey Murphy, the first of four debutants in a second-string line- up, denied Australia at every turn.

Centurion Tameka Yallop wore the captain’s armband and with Alanna Kennedy (quad) and Clare Polkinghorne (rested) unavailable, Gustavsson turned to 17-year-old debutant Jessika Nash and 19-year-old Courtney Nevin, in her sixth cap, in the centre of defence.

But the young centre-back pairing received a baptism of fire when Australia turned the ball over shortly after kick-off.

Nash didn’t get enough power behind a clearing header and Lynn Williams nodded the ball on for a surging Hatch, who had gotten away from Nevin.

Hatch then burst past Nash, took a good touch and cleanly finished past Teagan Micah.

Both teams traded chances as the game opened up and in the 33rd minute, Sam Kerr forced a top-drawer save from Murphy with a brilliant, powerful effort.

Matildas’ Hayley Raso on the move.
Camera IconMatildas’ Hayley Raso on the move. Credit: Mark Baker/AP

Then in the 35th minute, US forward Margaret Purce got away on the break but completely mis-hit her shot.

Three minutes later, Simon spurned a gilt-edged chance, blasting a close-range effort over the bar after a terrific run and cut-back from Caitlin Foord.

Late in the half, an off-balance Foord’s fierce shot forced a second big save at full-stretch from Murphy.

Hayley Raso replaced Simon at halftime, while Charlotte Grant came on for Nash, with Ellie Carpenter shifting to centre-back.

But minutes after the break, Purce cleverly outbodied Nevin, then cut the ball back to Lavelle, who coolly finished at the near post.

Kerr started the game despite a limited build-up, while Matildas players also wore black armbands after the striker’s uncle passed away during the week.

She was replaced by Kyra Cooney-Cross in the 63rd minute.

Shortly after, Horan went down under contact from Carpenter, then buried the penalty.

It was the 35th goal Australia have conceded in 15 games under Gustavsson.

Fowler tried her luck from long-range in the 69th but Murphy again stood tall to deny the 18-year-old and seal her clean sheet, while both teams tested out substitutes late.

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