19 Jan 2023

Football Ferns get what they want from first USA game

5:21 am on 19 January 2023

Football Ferns coach Jitka Klimkova says they got eveything they wanted out of their first game against the USA.

Trinity Rodman of the USA is chased by Gabi Rennie and Grace Wisnewsk. Football Ferns vs USA, Wellington, 2023.

Football Ferns chase Trinity Rodman Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Her side could only keep the fight up for so long as they were beaten 4-nil by the USA in Wellington on Wednesday.

The vastly inexperienced Ferns manage to keep the world champions scoreless in the first half, but the Americans turned up the heat after the break.

Not many local fans would have believed that the Ferns could keep the USA out for the whole game and that proved the case in what turned out to be a decisive victory in the end.

Fresh from their off season the USA looked a little rusty in the first half, but moved into top gear in the second.

They out-paced the Ferns, but coach Vlatko Andonovski was happy that combinations also starting working in the second half.

"The angles and the timing, not necessarily just the pace, we have plenty of pace, it was just a matter of timing."

New Zealand had just 4 players with more than 40 caps while two players got to make their debuts.

They did a great job keeping them out in the first 45 minutes and forward Olivia Chance says they were happy with their start.

"Obviously we came in (to the changing room) and gave each other high fives as it was a good first half performance and we were happy with it, but we knew they'd come out fighting.

"They're world number ones for a reason and we needed to try and maintain what we did and we did have a lapse and so that's what we can work on now, making sure that we limit the time that we have a lapse for and push on."

Fans during a women’s international football friendly game between the New Zealand Football Ferns and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, Wellington, 2023.

Football fans Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Coach Jitka Klimkova says their focus was to stay together, especially in defence, and she was proud of the fight in her inexperienced side.

However the game did get away from them just after the break.

"We had a tough 20 minutes and that was the biggest lesson for us for the next one, we really need to defend.

"They are very experienced and they proved it, so if we can improve it in the next game that will be the key for us."

A record crowd for a Ferns home game of 12 and a half thousand urged the homeside on and US playmaker Mallory Swanson, who grabbed a brace, says she was impressed.

As I walked out I saw a lot of people there and I felt the energy and I think that just goes to show how much this game has grown.

"I've heard that the World Cup is going to be insane, so yeh it's exciting."

Game 2 is in Auckland on Saturday.