Matildas v United States: Australia suffer 3-0 defeat in Sydney after conceding a goal in the opening seconds

A match that Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson intended to treat as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup final turned out to be a reality check instead, with the United States inflicting the Australia lost 3-0 in Sydney.

A record-breaking Matildas home crowd of 36,109 fans gathered at Stadium Australia but were silenced after just 24 seconds as Ashley Hatch jumped over a series of defensive gaps to take the lead.

Rose Lavelle doubled the lead in the 49th minute, while captain Lindsey Horan added a third of the penalty spot in the 68th.

US goalkeeper Casey Murphy, the first of four rookies in a second-team lineup, pushed Australia away in every round.

Centurion Tameka Yallop wore the captain’s armband and with Alanna Kennedy (quad) and Clare Polkinghorne (rested) unavailable, Gustavsson turned to 17-year-old debutant Jessika Nash and Courtney Nevin, 19, in her sixth cap, at the defense center.

But the young central duo received a baptism of fire when Australia returned the ball shortly after kick-off.

Nash didn’t have enough power behind a clearing header and Lynn Williams nodded for a booming Hatch, which had moved away from Nevin.

Hatch then passed Nash, took a good touch and finished cleanly ahead of Teagan Micah.

The two teams exchanged chances in the opening of the game and in the 33rd minute Sam Kerr forced a leading save from Murphy with a brilliant and powerful effort.

Camera iconHayley Raso de Matildas on the move. Credit: Marc Boulanger/PA

Then in the 35th minute, American striker Margaret Purce escaped at the break but completely missed the shot.

Three minutes later, Simon fought off a rock-solid chance, shooting a point-blank effort over the bar after a formidable run and a drop from Caitlin Foord.

At the end of the half, a fierce shot from off-balance Foord forced a second big point-blank save from Murphy.

Hayley Raso replaced Simon at halftime, while Charlotte Grant replaced Nash, Ellie Carpenter moving to center-back.

But within minutes of the break, Purce cleverly dominated Nevin, then returned the ball to Lavelle, who finished coldly at the near post.

Kerr started the game despite limited build-up, while Matildas’ players also wore black armbands after the forward’s uncle died during the week.

She was replaced by Kyra Cooney-Cross in the 63rd minute.

Soon after, Horan fell under Carpenter’s contact and then buried the penalty.

It was Australia’s 35th goal in 15 games under Gustavsson.

Fowler tried her luck at long distance in the 69th, but Murphy once again stood up to deny the 18-year-old and seal her clean sheet, as both teams tested the substitutes late.

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