Full-time score: USA 3 – 0 AUS.
Well, that was perhaps not the game any of us were expecting.
The USA have proven once again why they’re the number one team in the world: the depth of their squad, reaching right down into the uncapped ranks, is stellar.
Goalkeeper Casey Murphy was particularly impressive on debut, keeping out a number of big chance from the Matildas, while both Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan – two of the more experienced players in the side – pulled the strings, scoring two of the side’s three goals.
That’s not to say they’re perfect, though. The USA were opened up several times at the back, particularly in wide areas, and Australia had a couple of serious chances – including Kyah Simon’s effort that bafflingly flew over the crossbar.
Defensive questions linger over the Matildas, as they have always done. The new centre-back pairing of teenagers Jess Nash and Courtney Nevin was a risky one, and their inexperience was exposed a handful of times.
But this is the point of friendlies like these and of introducing young players into the fold: Australia have a depth problem, and with two big tournaments on the horizon, limited time to back-fill. So you throw these players into the fray and see what happens. I, personally, think they did okay. They might not be the centre-backs of now, but they will be for the future.
It was fantastic seeing Caitlin Foord find her old groove, and Sam Kerr was unlucky not to equal Tim Cahill’s national goal-scoring record.
In any case, it’s been a momentous occasion: a 100th cap for Tameka Yallop and a broken crowd record that could stand for years to come. It’s been brilliant being at Stadium Australia just for that.
Let’s see what lessons Tony Gustavsson and the team learn from today’s match and the kind of response they’ll provide in game two.
Thank you so much for following along for my first ever live-blog! I hope you’ve enjoyed the chat, the game, and the gifs.
I’ll see you all again in three days as the Matildas face the USA in the second game in Newcastle at 8:00pm (AEDT)!