US women defeat South Africa in World Cup warm-up

Samantha Mewis scored goals in both halves and the US women’s national team began their World Cup send-off series with a 3-0 victory over South Africa on Sunday.

After missing most of 2018 with a knee injury, Mewis is finding her stride at the right time as she gets ready for her first career appearance at the World Cup. She scored last month against Belgium and followed that up against South Africa with her second career two-goal game. Carli Lloyd added her 108th career goal in second-half added time to the delight of the crowd of 22,788 in Santa Clara, California. That moved Lloyd into fourth place in career goals for the US, breaking a tie with Michelle Akers.

The Americans controlled the play from the start, with the game played almost entirely in South Africa’s half. But despite dominating possession, the US generated few prime scoring chances early due to wayward passing.

Mewis had one of the best chances when her header off a cross from Tobin Heath sailed just over the crossbar. But Mewis made the most of her next opportunity in the 37th minute when she received a pass from Rose Lavelle. Mewis faked to her left, came back to the right and beat goalie Andile Dlamini with a shot from outside the box that went just inside the post.

The Americans kept up the pressure in the second half and finally added a second goal after Dlamini left with an injury and was replaced by Kaylin Swart. Megan Rapinoe started the play with a quick restart after a foul and eventually sent a cross into the box. Swart deflected the ball into the path of Mewis and into the net to make it 2-0 in the 78th minute.

This match is the first of three tune-ups in the World Cup send-off series for the Americans. The US play on Thursday against New Zealand in St Louis and on 26 May against Mexico in New Jersey.

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