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Soccer: Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle lead U.S. women over Paraguay

Soccer: Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle lead U.S. women over Paraguay
Members of the United States Women's National Team cheer on teammate Rose Lavelle (16) during an 8-0 win over Paraguay in an international soccer friendly Tuesday in Cincinnati. Photo by USWNT/Twitter

CINCINNATI, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Forward Alex Morgan scored three goals to help the United States Women's National Team to a shutout victory over Paraguay in a soccer friendly in Cincinnati. Midfielder Rose Lavelle added a goal and three assists.

Morgan scored in the 8th, 14th and 53rd minutes of the 8-0 win Tuesday at TQL Stadium. Catarina Macario chipped in two scores. Sophia Smith and Carli Lloyd also scored for the Americans.

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"It was so special just to step out there and stand in front of all of my family and friends and the city who has built me into who I am today," Lavelle, a Cincinnati native, told reporters.

Morgan climbed to fifth in the all-time scoring rankings for the U.S. women with her fifth career hat trick. She pushed her total to 114 international scores.

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More than 22,000 fans attended the friendly. The Americans outshot Paraguay 29 to 2.

"I think the atmosphere out there was unreal," USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski told reporters. "It was energetic, enthusiastic. There were times when I was getting goosebumps just being on the sidelines."

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Lavelle drew first blood in the 4th minute. Left back Casey Krueger received a throw-in on the left flank, deep in Paraguay territory. Krueger dribbled around a defender and chipped a cross through the box.

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Lavelle met the feed in the air and headed the ball into the near-post netting. She went on to assist the next two scores.

Lavelle sparked the next score off a breakaway. She dribbled near midfield and slipped a through ball ahead for Smith. The U.S. forward cut off a defender and grounded a shot into the middle of the goal in the 6th minute.

Lavelle assisted Morgan's first goal with a cross from the top of the box. The feed dropped into the far post, where Morgan headed the ball just inside the left post for a 3-0 lead.

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Morgan scored again about six minutes later. She cleaned up a deflection in the box with a powerful strike volley strike for that score.

The Americans scored again less than a minute later when Lavelle slipped a feed into the left side of the box for Macario. The left wing finished the play with a strike into the far-post netting.

Smith assisted Morgan's final score eight minutes into the second half. She dribbled up the right flank and fired a cross into the box just before she ran past the end line.

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Morgan stopped, shielded off a defender and tapped a first-touch shot into the Paraguay net.

Lloyd entered the game as a second-half substitute. She scored off a point-blank range follow-up shot in the 78th minute. Macario scored the final goal in the 82nd minute.

Paraguay goalie Alicia Bobadilla deflected an initial shot from the Americans during that exchange, but the ball bounced out to the top of the box. Macario waited for the ricochet to bounce off the ground and smacked a half-volley into the right side of the net.

The Americans battle South Korea in another friendly at 8 p.m. EDT Oct. 21 in Kansas City, Kan.

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