Tobin Heath goal USWNTGetty Images

Heath comes back with a bang as USWNT cruises past Mexico in Olympic tune-up

The U.S. women’s national team cruised past Mexico 4-0 in a driving rainstorm in Connecticut on Thursday, the first of their two Olympic tune-ups against El Tri.

There was a lot to like for head coach Vlatko Andonovski but nothing will put a bigger smile on his face than the sensational return of Tobin Heath, who scored a banger 52 seconds after taking the field for her first appearance in more than six months. 

Heath was the headline-maker, but there were other strong attacking performances to highlight from a comfortable win at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.

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Heath returns – with a bang

Tobin Heath hadn’t played in a game since December, leaving many to question whether Andonovski made the right call in naming her to his 18-player Olympic roster. 

It didn’t take long for his decision to be completely vindicated. 

Heath was introduced as a substitute in the 73rd minute against Mexico and within a minute, she picked up a pass from Alex Morgan and pinged in a long-range strike off the post for the third U.S. goal. After entering with a bang, Heath flew around the pitch and hardly looked like a player who hadn’t played a competitive game since 2020.

Andonovski called the strike a "Tobin Heath type of goal," adding: "The things that she can come up with, not many players in the world can come up with."

"I had a long time to think about what it would be like getting back on the field," Heath added. "It was one of those things that slowed down and it was picture perfect."

Heath is back in a big way, and, with less than three weeks until the Olympics start, her timing couldn’t have been better.

Mewis to Mewis for the opener

Kristie Mewis has been one of the true feel-good stories for the USWNT in recent years. The Houston Dash star worked her way back from serious injury and the national team wilderness to earn her way onto the USWNT Olympic roster, the most competitive 18-player squad imaginable. 

While Kristie was struggling to return to the national team, her younger sister Sam was becoming a USWNT star. Now, the sisters look ready to play a vital role for the U.S. at the Olympics, and the Mewis renaissance was on full display as the pair started together for the second straight game and combined for the opening goal against Mexico

Kristie found Sam in the box, and the younger Mewis slammed home with the aid of a slight deflection. It was the first time in USWNT history two sisters had combined for a goal, and it was punctuated by a mid-air chest bump afterwards.

"I just had a feeling when I passed it to her that she was just going to take a touch and score," Kristie said.

"[Sam] texted me before the game and said: 'If we have a sister-sister goal we have to chest bump after.' So of course it happens!"

Sam Mewis Kristie Mewis USWNTGetty Images

Press is a lock starter

Heath answered some major questions about her fitness on Thursday night but whether she is fit or not, it’s become clear that nobody is going to displace Christen Press from the lineup.

That’s because Press has become the USWNT’s best attacking player and one of its most important overall. Press scored twice on Thursday, making it six goals in nine games in 2021. Press can score from close range by finding pockets of space in the box like she did twice against Mexico, or she can finish from long range like she’s done countless other times recently. 

"She's a very intelligent player when she's in and around the box," Andonovski said of Press. "[She] understands the movement of the defenders and knows how to move well off of them. We spend a lot of time working on those movements and targeting players and I was just happy we were able to capitalize on it."

Overall, Press has been directly involved in 36 goals in her last 36 games for the USWNT. She’s put her name in pen on Andonovski’s team sheet, no matter who else is fit.