The U.S. women's national team continued its World Cup qualifying campaign in ideal fashion, routing Panama 5-0 in Cary, N.C., on Sunday, with a Carli Lloyd hat trick leading the way.
It marked the second straight rout for the U.S. in the Concacaf tournament, after a 6-0 win over Mexico on Thursday. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe scoried two goals apiece in the rout, but neither featured Sunday, as manager Jill Ellis heavily rotated her squad. Nine changes were made to the lineup, with Ellis confident in her depth in facing the Central American upstart. She had good reason to feel that way, despite Panama's previous 3-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday.
The U.S., like it did against Mexico, looked to assert itself early, and Samantha Mewis, one of those nine changes, nearly scored in the fifth minute off a free kick. Her blast took a deflection and then was put over the bar for a corner kick by the goalkeeper. Mewis got her goal on the ensuing play. Christen Press's inswinging corner found the North Carolina Courage star, and she headed home from the center of the box for a 1-0 lead.
Lloyd nearly doubled the lead twice less than 10 minutes later, having two cracks at the goal from close range and hitting the post on her second. She made good on her next chance, though, heading in after another U.S. corner kick, making it 2-0 in the 23rd minute with the 103rd goal of her illustrious international career.
Lloyd scored her second in the 29th minute, using a slick move in the box to spring free before curling a right-footed blast in to make it 3-0, and minutes later, Press was played through on a breakaway, where she rounded the keeper and finished from a right-sided angle, making it 4-0 after 32 minutes.
Lloyd got her hat trick two minutes into the second half. Rose Lavelle, off the bench as a substitute, curled in a looping free kick, and Lloyd headed home at the far post for her third of the day, extending the lead to 5-0.
The lead appeared to grow to 6-0 in the 73rd minute on a bit of a freak play. Lloyd was involved in a collision with 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey, who went down in a heap. Play wasn't stopped, though, and Mal Pugh wound up with the ball at the far post. She took her time and fired a deflected blast into the vacated net to get on the scoresheet–or so she thought. Well after the incident, as Bailey was getting treatment, the officiating crew got together and elected to disallow the goal–despite VAR not being used in the competition.
Here were the lineups for both sides:
The U.S. finishes group play against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Oct. 10, while Panama closes against Mexico on the same day.