April 24, 2024

When Alex Morgan joined the women’s national team Tuesday ahead of its CONCACAF W Gold Cup opener, she found a jersey with her name and the No. 7 hanging in her locker.

Morgan made the No. 13 famous during her long soccer career. But as an injury replacement for Mia Fishel, who tore her right ACL on Monday, Morgan not only inherited Fishel’s roster spot but also her number as well.

Her old one was in good hands, though, with Santa Clarita teenager Olivia Moultrie pulling on the No. 13 — the same number she wears with the Portland Thorns — and scoring a goal in each half, sparking the U.S. to a 5-0 rout of the Dominican Republic in front of 3,242 fans on a rainy, chilly night at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Moultrie, only the third player in the last 15 years to start a match for the USWNT before her 19th birthday, earned her first international score when she reached out her right foot to knock in a deflected ball near the Dominican goal in the seventh minute. Her second goal came 13 minutes into the second half when she redirected in a Midge Purce pass from just outside the box.

Lynn Williams, Jenna Nighswonger and Morgan also scored for the U.S., with Williams banging in a feed from Purce from inside the six-yard box in the 30th minute and Nighswonger and Morgan converting penalty kicks in the final minutes.

And it could have been more lopsided. The U.S., which outshot the Dominican 31-1, had another goal from Williams in the second minute erased when the VAR official ruled Sophia Smith interfered with Dominican keeper Paloma Peña Toro.

The U.S., a team in transition under interim coach Twila Kilgore, started a lineup featuring two players older than 35 in captain Becky Sauerbrunn and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, and two players younger than 21 in Moultrie and Korbin Albert, who had one previous appearance with the USWNT.

Morgan, 34, was originally left off the roster but was called up to replace Fishel when Angel City forward Alyssa Thompson, 19, was unavailable because of a back injury. Morgan came on in the 66th minute, her first appearance with the national team since the round-of-16 game against Sweden in last summer’s World Cup.

Her goal was her first for the USWNT in 363 days.

In Friday’s first game, Mexico outshot Argentina 16-3 but had to settle for a scoreless draw. Laurina Oliveros made five saves in goal for Argentina, which put only one shot on target.

The tournament continues Friday in Carson with the U.S., unbeaten in regulation in its last 20 games dating to November 2022, facing Argentina and Mexico playing the Dominican Republic. The top two teams in each of the three four-team groups, plus the two best third-place teams, will advance to next week’s quarterfinals at BMO Stadium.

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