BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan scored a goal in each half as the U.S. women’s soccer team defeated New Zealand 2-0 in its debut at the Rio Games on Wednesday, getting off to a solid start in its attempt to win a fourth straight Olympic gold medal.
Lloyd put the Americans ahead with a header in the ninth minute and Morgan added to the lead with a low shot from inside the area less than a minute into the second half at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte.
“That was the best way we could have started,” said Tobin Heath, who made the cross that led to Lloyd’s goal. “We came out with a lot of energy and a lot of determination. I think in that regards we put our best foot forward and got that goal and I think that helped propel us throughout the game.”
The U.S. dominated from the start to earn the convincing victory and remain unbeaten in 2016, with 14 shutouts and only one draw in 16 games.
“I was really pleased that we got the clean sheet,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. “I thought we moved the ball against a very determined team.”
Near the end of the game, many of the nearly 10,000 fans at the stadium chanted “Zika, Zika” at goalkeeper Hope Solo, who before coming to the Olympics upset some Brazilians by tweeting a photo of herself wearing a hat with mosquito netting in a reference to the virus. The chants were repeated after the final whistle.
“I’m glad the fans had fun,” Solo said. “And if they had fun at my expense, more power to them.”
The Americans are trying to become the first team to win the Olympics after succeeding at the World Cup. The Olympic tournament is the first major competition for the U.S. since the retirement of key players such as Abby Wambach and Lauren Holiday following last year’s world title in Canada.
The revamped Americans next play France on Saturday, again at the Mineirao.
Sweden 1, South Africa 1
RIO DE JANEIRO — UNOH’s Robyn Moodaly did not enter the game for South Africa.