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United States v Japan

VIDEO: Morgan nets hat trick as USWNT win goal-fest with Japan

9:51 AM MYT 27/07/2018
Alex Morgan USWNT Japan
The striker continued her strong showings in a national team shirt as the U.S. downed their rivals in the Tournament of Nations opener

Alex Morgan’s hot streak in a United States shirt continued Thursday as her hat trick led the USWNT to 4-2 victory over Japan in their opening match of the 2018 Tournament of Nations.

The striker entered the contest having netted six times in eight games for her country in 2018, including five times in her last four outings.

And it was clear early on she would keep her impressive run going in the rematch of the two finalists from the 2011 and 2015 Women’s World Cup finals at Children’s Mercy Park.

Morgan took advantage of a dangerous low cross delivered into the area by Megan Rapinoe in the 18th minute, slotting it into the corner and leaving Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita rooted to the spot to open the scoring.

The lead did not last long however, as Mina Tanaka made an impressive run to score on a deflected shot just two minutes later to even the scoreline at 1-1.

But Morgan again found the back of the net only six minutes later.

The striker was able to nod home an Emily Sonnett chip in the 26th minute to again leave Yamashita with no chance, restoring the USWNT advantage.

Morgan was not finished yet, as she doubled the USWNT's lead in the second half, smashing a shot from a poor clearance off the underside of the cross bar and in to complete her hat trick.

Later in the second half, Rapinoe turned from provider to finisher as she was able to get in behind Japan’s defense and bury her chance, to make it 4-1 for the home side.

Japan did pull one back through Moeno Sakaguchi, but 4-2 was as close as it got as the USWNT won their eighth game in nine tries in 2018, and remained undefeated on the year.

In fact, the USWNT is now undefeated in 17 straight games, with their last loss coming to Australia in their opening game of last year’s Tournament of Nations.

For Morgan it was her third multi-goal game of 2018, while only three other of her USWNT teammates have multiple goals in 2018.

The USWNT is next in action July 29 against Australia, before facing Brazil on August 2.