Pugh’s brace helps U.S. to 5-1 win over Denmark
The USWNT kicked off 2018 in style
Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh celebrate during the U.S. women's national team's 5-1 win over Denmark. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)
Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh celebrate during the U.S. women's national team's 5-1 win over Denmark. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Mallory Pugh bagged her first career brace. Savannah McCaskill and Tierna Davidson earned their first caps. And the U.S. women’s national team earned their first win of the year, 5-1 over Denmark Sunday night in San Diego to kick off the 2018 season.

Former Portland Thorns FC forward Nadia Nadim got Denmark on the board first with a header goal in the 14th minute. Nadim joined Manchester City of the FA WSL this offseason after four seasons in the NWSL.

But it was all U.S. after that.

Just three minutes later, the U.S. made it 1-1 thanks to a goal from none other than Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan.

The second goal came in the 19th minute, courtesy of — who else — Julie Ertz. The Red Stars midfielder scored in her first game since being named the 2017 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year.


Pugh played a short corner back to Abby Dahlkemper, who served a long ball into the box. Stanford defender Tierna Davidson, earning her first USWNT start and cap, headed it on towards goal. Ertz then chipped it over Denmark goalkeeper Stina Lykke Petersen to give the U.S. the 2-1 lead.



Morgan and Ertz finished 2017 on a tear and continued their hot streak into this year.


After that, it was the Mallory Pugh show. The Spirit forward capitalized on defensive turnovers to earn her seventh and eighth international goals.


Her first was a rocket shot in the 47th minute.



Her second came in the 65th minute.



McCaskill earned her first senior cap in the game, subbing in for Andi Sullivan in the 70th minute. McCaskill was the No. 2 overall pick by the Boston Breakers in the 2018 NWSL College Draft last week. Sullivan went No. 1 overall to the Washington Spirit.


Sullivan started the game, her eighth international cap. The new Spirit midfielder went down in the second half with a shoulder injury after a collision but returned to the field quickly after being checked out on the sideline.


New Sky Blue FC midfielder Carli Lloyd (part of last week’s three-team mega trade) should’ve had her 99th international goal in the 80th minute. Her header appeared to go over the line, but referee Karen Abt called no goal.


No matter though for the U.S. They scored just seconds later when Crystal Dunn made it 5-1 in the 81st minute. New Houston Dash forward Christen Press (also part of last week’s mega trade) had her shot saved, but Dunn tapped in the rebound.



Dunn was traded to the North Carolina Courage by the Washington Spirit last week. She returns to the NWSL this season after spending last year with Chelsea L.F.C.


Next up for the U.S. women’s national team: the SheBelieves tournament in March.

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