The U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team opened its FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup run with a convincing 3-0 victory against Ghana as forwards Michelle Cooper, Alyssa Thompson and Ally Sentnor scored on the second matchday of the tournament.
The USA controlled the tempo from the start and had the vast majority of possession while piling up an advantage in both shots and shots on goal against a gritty Ghana team that went into every tackle with conviction. Ghana had four yellow cards in addition to one red card over the course of the match.
After a few attacking threats early, the USA opened the scoring in the 11th minute when forward Jaedyn Shaw battled well to keep possession in the final third and passed to outside back Laney Rouse on the right flank. Rouse beat her defender with a dynamic dribble out of pressure in the corner and sent a left-footed cross deep into the box to meet Cooper at the far post. The U.S. captain then finished with a pin-point header from close range and the Americans were off and running.
Ghana’s day took a difficult turn in the 31st after midfielder Jacqueline Owusu, one of five Ghana players with professional experience, was shown a red card for a hard tackle from behind on midfielder Korbin Albert. Just seven minutes later, the USA doubled its lead when Cooper played a low, driven cross into the penalty box that Thompson finished into the roof of the net from just outside the six-yard box. The Americans almost added a third just before the halftime break, but Albert’s first-time attempt from the edge of the penalty box smashed off the underside of the crossbar and out.
The USA came out strong again in the second half, stringing together a few chances in the early minutes. In the 51st , Sentnor, who had come into the match as a halftime substitute for Cooper just minutes earlier, found the back of the net after a forced turnover near midfield that resulted in a counterattack with a brilliant run of passing play. Sentnor’s goal was her first international tally at the U-20 level and came almost exactly a year out from tearing her ACL.
Three minutes later, Ghana almost went down to nine players after midfielder Cecilia Nyama was initially shown a red card for another tackle from behind, but a VAR review overturned the call to a yellow card. The USA continued its pressing play, which combined with stout defensive performances from the back line, left Ghana with no shots or shots on target in the second half.