Led by midfielder Mikaela Rix (three goals), the Americans employed intricate passing and careful shot selection to gain their third consecutive win.
“It helped us out a lot, because yesterday [against Canada], we kept forcing everything,” midfielder Kelly McPartland said of Team USA’s switch to a settled attack. “It helped us to calm down, or settle in, pull the ball out, work it around and wait for the perfect opportunity.”
Nine different players scored for Team USA. The players worked the ball around on nearly every possession; none of the goals came on fast breaks. The most dramatic goal came in the second half, when attacker Cortney Fortunato got pinched between the crease and her defender and started to fall over. On her way down, she pitched the ball one-handed over her shoulder into the cage, beating Haudenosaunee keeper Marissa Gabriel (four saves). The umpires briefly conferred to determine if Fortunato had stepped in the crease, but the goal was ruled good and the U.S. gained an 11-5 lead.
“I tried to inside crease roll my girl, and I ended up falling and shot it kind of over my back,” said Fortunato, who scored two goals.
With a team of all-stars who are accustomed to going to goal early and often when playing for school and club teams, adjustments had to be made to create a more balanced attack that can compete for an international title.