May 16, 2019; St. Louis , MO, USA; USA defender Ali Krieger (11) and New Zealand forward Paige Stachell (19) battle for the ball in the second half during a Countdown to the Cup Women’s Soccer match at Busch Stadium. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) – Carli Lloyd scored a brace of goals as the United States women thrashed New Zealand 5-0 in a friendly in St Louis on Thursday to extend their winning run to five games ahead of their World Cup title defense in France.
The U.S. were on the back foot for much of the first half but hit New Zealand with a two-goal burst before the break and piled on the punishment after.
Tobin Heath opened the scoring at 34 minutes when she side-footed home from close range to complete a nice move started down the left.
Rose Lavelle doubled the lead five minutes later when she finished off a similar move and cross from the left flank.
With a range of experienced replacements, the U.S. dominated the second half and 36-year-old substitute Lloyd scored two close range goals in the 62nd and 83rd minutes before Sam Mewis rounded off the scoring six minutes from time.
Winners of the 1991, 1999 and 2015 World Cups, the U.S. play Mexico on May 26 before heading to France to face Group F opponents Thailand, Chile and Sweden.
New Zealand open their World Cup against the Netherlands on June 11 before facing Canada and Cameroon.
The tournament kicks off on June 7 when hosts France play South Korea.
Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ian Ransom