Thailand was not a real threat to the U.S. national team. Even so, the three-time Women’s World Cup champions had no desire to go easy on a lesser opponent in their opening game in France.
Goals matter in the group stage, where goal difference can determine group winners. And statements matter in soccer’s biggest tournament.
“Obviously, we have the utmost respect for everyone we play, but it’s the World Cup,” said Redding native Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. captain.
Alex Morgan tied a Women’s World Cup record with five goals and the United States opened with a historic 13-0 rout of Thailand on Tuesday night in Reims. Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle each added two goals for the United States, which broke the record for goals and margin of victory in a Women’s World Cup game.
Rapinoe, Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd also scored. The previous record margin was Germany’s 11-0 victory over Argentina in 2007.
Morgan tied Michelle Akers’ record for Women’s World Cup goals, set in the quarterfinals against Taiwan in 1991. The team’s seven different scorers also set a tournament record.
Photo: Robert Cianflone / Getty Images
Lloyd, 36, became the oldest American woman to score at a World Cup and joined Germany’s Birgit Prinz as the only players to score in five straight World Cup games.
The United States faced criticism over its relentless attack. The Americans led 3-0 at the break and then broke the match open in the second half, with the players celebrating goal after goal.
The Americans meant no disrespect, said Morgan, but they simply wanted to position themselves for a run at a second consecutive title.
“We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves,” Morgan said. “Every goal matters in this tournament and that’s what we were working on.”
Morgan, U.S. Soccer’s 2018 Player of the Year, has 106 international goals.
At the final whistle, Lloyd and Stanford alum Christen Press consoled Thailand goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying. Morgan put her arm around Thailand’s Miranda Nild, who was wiping away tears on the field. Nild and Morgan both played college soccer for Cal.
Thailand, ranked No. 34 in the world, has shown progress on the world stage. Making its World Cup debut in 2015 four years ago, Thailand finished third in its group and earned its first win, a 3-2 victory over Ivory Coast.
The last time the Americans played in the sport’s top tournament, Lloyd had a hat trick in the first 16 minutes and the United States beat Japan 5-2 in Canada for the trophy.
Photo: Catherine Steenkeste / Getty Images
Next for the U.S. is Chile on Sunday in Paris.
Other games: Also in Group F, Kosovare Asllani’s goal after a 40-minute weather delay late in the second half broke up a scoreless stalemate in Rennes and Sweden won its opener 2-0 and spoil Chile’s debut in the tournament. … Jill Roord came off the bench and scored in stoppage time to give the Netherlands a 1-0 victory over New Zealand in a Group E opener in Le Havre.