It was an emotional scene on Thursday evening at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati as the United States Women’s National Team said farewell to longtime midfielder and former U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year Julie Ertz in her last game wearing the red, white and blue. Ertz announced her retirement in late August and was recognized before the match with South Africa kicked off.
The USWNT tried setting up Ertz on numerous amounts of set pieces, throughout her 36-minute spell on Thursday evening. One of those attempts to Ertz opened the door wide open for the USWNT, as a Lindsay Horan corner kick towards Ertz at the front post was headed away towards the middle of the net from a South African defender, leading to an easy Lynn Williams finish to give the USWNT a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute.
United States would apply more pressure on South Africa and force a turnover near the midfield, giving Alex Morgan space to dribble down the left wing. Morgan would send a cross in to Trinity Rodman near the penalty spot with Rodman one-timing her chance into the back of the net to extend the USWNT lead over South Africa to 2-0 in the 34th minute.
Another set piece opportunity would help net the USWNT third goal of the match. Midfielder Andi Sullivan dribbled the ball in from a corner kick, sending a cross into Horan at the near post where she would flick the ball across to the far post where Lynn Williams would be positioned, and Williams finishing the ball into the back of the net off of her stomach to extend and give the United States Women’s National Team a 3-0 in the first of two friendlies of South Africa.
The USWNT will kick off against South Africa again on Sunday at 5:30 PM.