The United States Women’s National Team blitzed Thailand, 9-0, in a fitting and memorable send-off for Heather O’Reilly Thursday night at the MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
In O’Reilly’s last game before her international retirement, the USWNT used a quick three goals in the first eight minutes to supercharge their offense en-route to a leisurely win. The Americans improved to 17-0-3 in 2016 and brought their goal total to 63 in just 20 matches.
O’Reilly ends her distinguished career with 47 goals and 55 assists in 231 appearances, and holds the USWNT record for most consecutive games played with 74. She won three Olympic gold medals in 2004, 2008, and 2012, and a World Cup in 2015.
The US got off to a dream start in the first minute as O’Reilly bent in one of her trademark crosses on the right wing to Carli Lloyd in the center of the box. Lloyd’s header looped over the Thailand keeper’s head for a 1-0 lead. Lloyd provided for the second goal as she knocked a cross right into the path of striker Christen Press who easily tapped in from six yards. out.
O’Reilly continued the hot-start with her 46th and final career goal in the fifth minute. Lloyd bulldozed down the left hand side and squared for O’Reilly who smashed home from the penalty spot. It was an emotional scene as the departing star scored in her finale.
Tobin Heath made it four in the first half when she worked herself to the corner of the six yard box and the left endline, cut in, and chipped the Thailand keeper from a tight angle. Lloyd was credited with her third assist of the match and the Americans entered halftime with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
In the 60th minute, Lloyd added her second goal of the game when she finished with ease after a deflected O’Reilly cross fell to her feet seven yard out. Crystal Dunn scored the goal of the evening ten minutes later, when she cut in at the right corner of the box, and smashed home a 20-yard strike off the right post and into the net.
Lloyd got her hat trick and her 14th goal of 2016 in the 84th minute, before Alex Morgan joined the party in the 86th minute.
O’Reilly was subbed off the field in the 89th minute to a standing ovation from the crowd in Columbus. She hugged each player on the team individually and walked off in tears of joy.
Alex Morgan added her second of the night in the 92nd minute and ended the scoring at 9-0. Ashlyn Harris earned the shutout for the Americans in the first game of the post-Hope Solo era.
Megan Rapinoe kneeled for the national anthem before the game. Rapinoe had kneeled previously during an NWSL game to follow the stance taken by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick calling for social justice in America. After the game, the US Soccer Federation released a statement saying that they expected all of their players to stand during the anthem and honor the flag.
The USWNT is back in action on Sunday when it hosts the Netherlands in Atlanta, GA at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.