Revenge is a dish best served in humid, rainy Newcastle
Good evening and welcome to the ABC’s coverage of the Matildas’ second and final friendly against the USA!
My name is Samantha Lewis and I’ll be taking you through all the action live from McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.
It’s been a warm, sprinkly afternoon on the New South Wales central coast, casting a damp, uncomfortable sheen over everything.
Hopefully this is not a Shakespeare play and poor weather is not a bad omen for our Matildas, who are hoping to bounce back after their 3-0 defeat to the USA on Saturday.
The reigning world champions couldn’t have asked for a better start to the first friendly in Sydney, scoring their opening goal in just the 24th second after a mix-up between the Matildas’ young centre-backs Jessika Nash and Courtney Nevin, who were called in to replace veterans Alanna Kennedy and Clare Polkinghorne.
USA midfielder Lindsey Horan spoke in the build-up to that first game about the joy she gets in silencing an impassioned home crowd, and there are few things more infuriating than seeing an American athlete’s sh*t-talking come true.
The record-breaking crowd of 36,109 people at Stadium Australia fell into a deep, humbled silence following that first goal by striker Ashley Hatch, while Rose Lavelle and Horan herself added to the misery after scoring the second and third respectively.
However, the game itself was a much more even contest than the score-line suggests, and were it not from an outstanding debut from USA goalkeeper Casey Murphy and a baffling miss by Kyah Simon, the Matildas likely would’ve scored a couple themselves.
As Matildas boss Tony Gustavsson said after the match, Australia dominated in almost every statistical category – except in the areas of the pitch that ultimately mattered.
Another record-breaking crowd is expected for tonight’s re-match in Newcastle. Can the Americans make their first visit Down Under in 20 years a clean-sweep?
Or will the Matildas claim just their second ever win over the four-time World Cup winners and, perhaps more importantly, make Horan eat her own words?
Don’t forget to use the comment box below to send in any questions, comments, observations, dreams, desires, or vibes.
What’s your prediction? What do the Matildas need to focus on to get a result in this final hit-out before January’s Asian Cup? Let me know!