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U.S. Women's Soccer Team Beats New Zealand In A Much-Needed Olympics Comeback

Alex Morgan (#13) celebrates another Team USA goal against New Zealand with teammate Christen Press (#11) at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday in Saitama, Japan.
Francois Nel
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Getty Images
Alex Morgan (#13) celebrates another Team USA goal against New Zealand with teammate Christen Press (#11) at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday in Saitama, Japan.

The U.S. women's soccer team bounced back in a big way Saturday, beating New Zealand 6-1. The win came after a disappointing and surprising loss to Sweden in the Americans' opening match earlier this week.

The game was played to a nearly empty stadium — a common theme in this year's uncommon Olympics, which are happening without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic. But there was at least one person in the stands cheering for Team USA: first lady Jill Biden.

The U.S. team started out the game strong, with Rose Lavelle scoring in the first 10 minutes. Lindsey Horan and Christen Press both scored later in the game. Overall, goals this match were a bit complicated — four were negated in the first half by offside calls against the U.S., and two of Team USA's points were own goals, scored accidentally by team New Zealand against itself.

The U.S. came into these Games seeking to become the first women's team to take Olympic gold after winning the World Cup, which they did in 2019. Saturday's win against New Zealand makes that goal still a possibility.

The team heads to the coastal city of Kashima on Tuesday for a game against Australia, which will conclude their Group G play. The top teams from each group will head to the quarterfinals.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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