Alex Morgan scored a hat-trick as the United States defeated Japan 4-2 in the opening round of the Tournament of Nations quadrangular competition at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City on Thursday.
US captain Morgan struck in the 18th, 26th and 56th minutes as the American women overpowered Japan in a repeat of the 2015 World Cup final, which was won 5-2 by the US in Vancouver.
Fullback Megan Rapinoe scored the other goal for the hosts, who are using the tournament as preparation for CONCACAF qualifiers for next year’s Women’s World Cup in France.
Morgan’s hat-trick took her international tally to 89 in 143 games, and maintained an incredible scoring streak. The 29-year-old striker has now scored 16 goals in her last 16 games.
Japan’s goals came in each half, with Mina Tanaka netting the first in the 20th minute before Moeno Sakaguchi scored a late consolation for the visitors.
In the day’s other game, Australia defeated Brazil 3-1 to open their challenge with a morale-boosting victory.
The Matildas took the lead after only nine minutes following an own goal by Brazil rightback Poliana.
Tameka Butt doubled the Australian tally shortly before half-time before Samantha Kerr added a third in the 50th minute.
Debinha finally got on the scoresheet for Brazil with a consolation goal in the 79th minute.