U.S. Women's National Team routs Haiti in front of record Birmingham crowdBy Kelly Ward | 09/20/2015 8:32pm
BIRMINGHAM — In its fourth appearance at Legion Field, the U.S. Women’s National Team gave the 35,753 fans in attendance a show in an 8-0 rout of Haiti.
The crowd was a record for a USWNT match in the southeast and made itself known throughout the match with the American Outlaws leading songs and cheers for the 2015 Women's World Cup champions.
In the three matches the team has played at Legion Field, it's played in front of an average crowd of around 9,500. Sunday’s record crowd was nearly triple the size of the next largest crowd (12,102 on May 17, 2003 against England).
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“They’re genuine fans,” USWNT head coach Jill Ellis said. “It’s not casual fans, and they come dressed out, kitted out, ready to go. I think our reception everywhere has been very good. It’s so funny I think the players have commented here that it’s, ‘May I have an autograph, please, ma’am?’ It’s really polite.”
The U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game on a Julie Johnson goal off a Kelley O’Hara assist.
Carli Lloyd netted a penalty and Crystal Dunn scored her second goal in as many matches to put the U.S. up 3-0 in the 17th minute. Lloyd finished off a hat trick before the half. It was her second hat trick in as many games.
“I think she’s just a great professional,” Ellis said. “I think she’s so mentally strong that regardless of the opponent, regardless of the surface, she just takes the same approach. It’s a high standard she has for herself and obviously wants to deliver for her teammates.”
Lloyd has five career hat tricks and three this year.
“I don’t think that I just kind of broke out as a star,” Lloyd said. “I think I’ve kind of been chugging along each and every year and flying under the radar. I happened to score a hat trick in the World Cup Final and everybody kind of took notice so it’s all about improvement for me. It’s all about continuing to fight like an underdog and there’s a lot more room to improve that I can do on my end.”
Lloyd and the U.S. were no underdogs against Haiti.
The U.S. dominated possession throughout the entire match and had 39 shots, 19 of which were on goal. Haiti did not have any shots and only crossed midfield a handful of times.
After scoring five in the first half, the team added three in the second. The first came in the 51st minute from Amy Rodriguez from outside the box. Alex Morgan scored in the 85th minute with a header over the keeper. In the 89th minute, Heather O’Reilly scored the final goal of the day.
The team continues its victory tour against Brazil in Seattle on Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. CT.