April 8, 2019 / 4:26 AM / 3 months ago

Soccer: U.S. women rout Belgium in World Cup tune-up

Apr 7, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USA forward Alex Morgan (13) celebrates with teammates as Belgium defender Laura Deloose (22) reacts during the second half at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The United States women’s national team pumped in four first half goals en route to a 6-0 romp against Belgium in a one-sided friendly as the reigning World Cup champions continue to build momentum ahead of their title defense in France in June.

Carli Lloyd opened their account with a leaping header off a long pass from Tierna Davidson that found the bottom corner of the goal in the 14th minute.

Five minutes later, the veteran midfielder unleashed another header to a nearly identical spot in the net to send the nearly 21,000 fans at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles into a frenzy on a warm Southern California night.

“I know who I am. I know what I’m capable of,” Lloyd, who was making her first start this year, told reporters after the match.

Forward Lindsey Horan nodded in a goal off a corner kick past diving Belgian goalkeeper Nicky Evrard in the 26th minute and midfielder Samantha Mewis effectively put the game out of Belgium’s reach with a header to put the hosts 4-0 ahead.

Forward Alex Morgan came on as a substitute to start the second half and scored two minutes later when she broke free of her defender, took a pass from Lloyd, and chipped a shot over Evrard’s head for her 101st career goal.

Forward Jessica McDonald completed the rout with a header off a set-piece move in the 90th minute as the team improved to 4-1-2 in 2019.

The match was the last for the U.S. before the team selects its World Cup roster, which will look to bring the team home its fourth title.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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