Was Team USA’s record-setting whoopin’ a bad look or straight domination?

Team USA beat Thailand 13-0 in its first match of the World Cup on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Watching the U.S. vs Thailand game felt like watching a highlight reel of the best goals scored over the course of a season. In real time, the Americans launched the ball into the back of the net again and again. And again. And again….13 times in total.

Records were set:

  • The U.S. set the record for the most goals scored by a team in a single World Cup Game.
  • Alex Morgan joined Michelle Akers as the only players in the Women’s World Cup history to score 5 goals in a single game.
  • The 10 goals scored in the second half also set a World Cup record.

Amid the epic domination, a question arose: did the U.S. really need to keep scoring? Or was the team just rubbing it in?

U.S. Coach Jill Ellis summed it up after the game.

“To be respectful to an opponent is to play hard against an opponent,” Ellis said. “I don’t feel it’s my job to harness my players and rein them in. I respect Thailand. I celebrate that they’re here. I spoke to some of the players after, and said, ‘Keep your head up. It is part of the growth of the game.’”

Thailand’s team is very much in the growing stage and privy to the pain that comes along with it. Currently ranked 34, it’s a feat for the team to be in the World Cup in the first place.

In 2015, FIFA expanded the field for the Women’s World Cup from 16 teams to 24. While more uneven match-ups are inevitable, more teams have the opportunity to grow.

“This is what expanded opportunity looks like,” Liz Clarke from the Washington Post wrote.

As for that scoreboard — there is an incentive for teams to score as many goals as possible. Goal differential is used as a tiebreaker for teams to advance to the knockout stage.

Many young players scored their first World Cup goals, which is something to celebrate.

The U.S. will take on Chile on Sunday, June 16.