The US defeated Vietnam in their Women World Cup opener.
The defending champions scored 3 goals.
The US will face the Netherlands in their next match.
The US coach Vlatko Andonovski acknowledged that nerves were evident as his team, the defending champions, missed numerous opportunities in their opening Women World Cup match in Auckland.
Despite being the top-ranked team in the world, they were not at their clinical best but still managed to secure a 3-0 victory against debutants Vietnam in the Group E game at Eden Park.
Sophia Smith scored two goals and assisted the third, which was scored by captain Lindsey Horan.
“I’m sure the nerves had something to do with it,” said Andonovski.
With 14 of the 23 players making their World Cup debuts, the United States has placed its faith in the future at this competition.
Along with Smith, other forwards who made their World Cup debuts versus Vietnam included Naomi Girma, Emily Fox, Andi Sullivan, Savannah DeMelo, and 21-year-old Trinity Rodman.
“I’m not worried about it, ” said Andonovski, who is also appearing at his first World Cup, when pressed about players feeling nervous.
“We’re actually very encouraged by the style of football we displayed today. We had Sophia Smith debuting at the World Cup scoring two beautiful goals.”
On Saturday, four players from the starting lineup, namely Alyssa Naeher, Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz, and Alex Morgan, also played in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final against the Netherlands. The United States is set to face the Netherlands next on Thursday in Wellington (02:00 BST).
Coach Vlatko Andonovski emphasized that his players will focus on improving their finishing ahead of the second group match.
Despite creating 28 chances, the team struggled to convert them efficiently, with Lindsey Horan scoring the third goal only in the 77th minute, and Alex Morgan missing a penalty.
“Look at this team,” added the United States boss. “It’s the first time this XI have been on the field together. We had numerous opportunities and connections and I felt we needed to be a little bit better with final shot.
“Unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on all the great opportunities that we created.
“That is something we are certainly going to focus on in the lead-up to the next game, but the first one is in the books and the focus immediately shifts towards game two.”