U.S. demolishes Thailand in historic, near-perfect 2019 Women's World Cup opener

There are many ways to describe just how one-sided the U.S. women’s national team’s 2019 World Cup opener was.

The most simplistic would be the score: USA 13, Thailand 0 – a record margin of victory at the Women’s World Cup.

But no single stat can do this bloodbath justice. No single description can explain just how excellent and ruthless the U.S. was.

The Americans battered and bullied and outpaced and outplayed their overmatched opponents. Which wasn’t unexpected. But the extent of their dominance was still jarring. It was almost cringeworthy.

It was, in so many ways, the perfect World Cup start.

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USWNT highlights from the Women's World Cup
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USWNT highlights from the Women's World Cup
United States' Kelley O Hara leaps over Sweden's Kosovare Asllani during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and the United States at Stade Océane, in Le Havre, France, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Julie Ertz of USA #8 celebrates her goal with Mallory Pugh, Lindsey Horan, Morgan Brian during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Chile at Parc des Princes stadium on June 16, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
LE HAVRE, FRANCE - JUNE 20: Lindsey Horan of the USA scores her team's first goal the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between Sweden and USA at Stade Oceane on June 20, 2019 in Le Havre, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
United States' Carli Lloyd, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's third goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Chile goalkeeper Claudia Endler lunges for the ball to make a safe during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. US won 3-0. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
United States' Carli Lloyd celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Chile at the Parc des Princes in Paris, Sunday, June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
United States' Carli Lloyd, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. Lloyd scored twice in US' 3-0 victory. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
United States' Megan Rapinoe, right, congratulates teammate Alex Morgan after scoring her fifth goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
United States' Alex Morgan, centre, scores her team's fifth goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Mallory Pugh of USA shots to goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Megan Rapinoe of United States of America celebrates with the supporters after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Mallory Pugh of the USA celebrates after scoring her team's eleventh goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Cathrin Mueller - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Final score on the scoreboard after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
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USWNT’s breakout stars get their goals

A matchup with Thailand was an ideal opportunity to ease World Cup debutants onto the big stage. Not that Lindsey Horan or Rose Lavelle needed to be eased into anything. But if there were any worries about nerves, they were quickly quashed.

Lavelle, a 24-year-old attacking midfielder making her first start at a major tournament, nabbed her first World Cup goal in less than 20 minutes:

Horan, whose unconventional path has led her to the top of the sport, got off the mark in the 32nd minute:

Sam Mewis, another midfielder making her major-tournament bow, made it 4-0 shortly after halftime ...

... and got her second minutes later:

Lavelle capped off a seven-minute barrage with the USWNT’s seventh.

The joy on all three of their faces was so genuine, so deserved, and so meaningful. Now that all those firsts are out of the way, and those emotions have been experienced, Horan and Lavelle in particular can be unleashed on the rest of the world. The U.S. might need both to star if its to defend its title.

And Alex Morgan gets five

It’ll also need Alex Morgan to be the striker we know she can be. And, well, Tuesday was a pretty good start in that department as well.

Morgan got the scoring underway in the 12th minute, nodding home a precisely-weighted Kelley O’Hara cross:

She got a second in the middle of that early-second-half flash flood ...

... and a third a little over 20 minutes later:

As if a hat trick wasn’t enough, Morgan put in a fourth, and the USWNT’s 10th, in the 81st minute.

And then a fifth in the 87th.

Megan Rapinoe also scored. So did 2015 hero Carli Lloyd. Mallory Pugh, another World Cup first-timer, got on the board with the Americans’ 11th. Their 10 goals in the second half were also a Women’s World Cup record.

And to be quite frank, the U.S. easily could have scored more than 13. Thailand, on the other hand, never even threatened to get one.

The U.S. will have tougher tests ahead, starting with Chile on Sunday, then Sweden in the group finale. Opponents will get progressively stronger. But Tuesday’s rout was nonetheless remarkable.

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