SANDY—Former Olympian Alex Morgan found help from teammate Megan Rapinoe to make the first and only goal of the night as the United States women's national team beat China 1-0 in a friendly Thursday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
In the 57th minute, the ball bounced perfectly off the top of Morgan's head off a set piece, falling into the net early in the second half as the crowd erupted.
"At halftime I think we had a couple players come in to give us some new energy and obviously just talked about in the attack what we wanted to do and defensively kind of press a little bit higher in order to win the ball," Morgan said.
Rapinoe was a key playmaker for USWNT Thursday night at Rio Tinto, recording her 50th assist in 136 caps — the second-best assist-to-games ratio in USWNT history.
"I know ’Pinoe puts in a great ball always," Morgan said of her teammate. "So I know our job is to get in the end of it, whether that’s a corner or a free kick."
Added USWNT head coach Jill Ellis: "Megan is playing with a lot of confidence. She's a player that can turn a game. She's got a set piece delivery that is world class."
When Morgan walked off in the 76th minute of the match after a stellar performance, Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez was subbed in for her first national team minutes in over a year because of the torn ACL she suffered in the 2017 NWSL season opener.
"It was everything I remembered, but it meant so much more because of the uphill battle I faced this last year with the injury," Rodriguez said. "It's never easy coming back, you never know what kind of player you're going to return to be. … I put a lot of tears and a lot of sweat into this, and I'm just happy to be back on the field tonight."
With a 6-0-1 2018 record, Ellis is making careful decisions about who should be on the final roster for the Tournament of Nations taking place at the end of July.
USWNT takes on China in a second friendly next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.