USA 5 Republic of Ireland 0
The Irish women's team were well beaten in their friendly match with world champions USA on Saturday evening in San Diego where a crowd of almost 25,000 watched Carli Lloyd pave the way to victory with another first half hat-trick.
The 33 year-old, who took just 16 minutes to get three goals in last summer’s World Cup final, managed the feat in 28 minutes this time as a rusty looking Republic of Ireland side made things easy for their hosts through the early stages by making a string of defensive errors.
Alex Morgan made it four for the world champions on the stroke of half-time at which point manager Sue Ronan made the first three changes of her six changes. Fiona O'Sullivan, on her return from a spell away from international football, was one of those to make an impact as the Irish improved significantly.
The visitors were always second best but they showed much more composure as they played their way out of defence in the second half and even created a couple of half chances to score themselves. Megan Connolly made a positive debut but her performance was eclipsed by 17 year-old American Mallory Pugh who looked an exciting prospect after coming on for the US just short of an hour in and scored their fifth goal seven minutes from time.
“I was very disappointed at half time with the manner in which we conceded the four goals,” said Ronan afterwards. “There were some basic defensive errors that you will not get away with at this level and we were punished. Having said that, I was pleased with the response of the team in the second half when we tried to take the game to the Americans.”
The team takes on the American under-23s behind closed doors on Monday.
USA: Hope Solo; Ali Krieger, Emily Sonnett (Kelley O'Hara, 58), Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg; Samantha Mewis, Lindsey Horan (Jaelene Hinkle, 46), Carli Lloyd (Christen Press, 46); Crystal Dunn (Heather O'Reilly, 46), Alex Morgan (c) (Mallory Pugh, 58), Tobin Heath (Stephanie McCaffrey, 46).
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne (c); Sophie Perry (Julie Ann Russell, 46), Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Karen Duggan (Meabh De Burca, 72), Diane Caldwell (Jessica Gleeson, 46), Aine O'Gorman, Ruesha Littlejohn (Megan Connolly, 65), Denise O'Sullivan, Stephanie Roche (Fiona O'Sullivan, 46), Katie McCabe (Siobhan Killeen, 65).