All eyes were on Julie Ertz, and rightfully so. The U.S. women's national team legend was here to say goodbye, one last run and one last game for a player that has had so many important ones over the years. With her 2023 World Cup teammates around her, Ertz made way early on to a much-deserved ovation.
But, while this was Ertz's day, it was also Lynn Williams', too. A player that was overlooked at the World Cup could not be overlooked on Thursday night, even with all the fanfare around Ertz' goodbye.
Williams scored two of the three goals in the USWNT's 3-0 win over South Africa, offering the attacking spark that the U.S. needed so badly at the World Cup. Both goals, as unlikely as it may seem, came via set pieces, with Williams the surprising goalscorer on both.
Trinity Rodman's goal, though, was a display of the threat that the U.S. so desperately lacked Down Under. It was a lovely attacking move, one capped by a pass from Alex Morgan to Rodman for a simple finish.
In the first game of the post-Vlatko Andonovski era, the U.S. put out a lineup not unlike the one we saw at the World Cup. What that team lacked in the attacking end a few months back seems behind them, though, as this USWNT played the way that many expected them to this summer.
GOAL rates USWNT players from TQL Stadium...