U.S. women’s soccer striker Alex Morgan didn’t even need a full game to score a hat-trick on Wednesday night against Ireland, netting three goals in the first 44 minutes of the Americans’ lopsided 5-0 victory against the Irish national team.
It took 24 minutes for Morgan to score her first goal. She struck 10 minutes later for her second goal before scoring a hat-trick in the 44th minute of play.
Morgan’s hat-trick came roughly five months after the American women’s soccer star helped the U.S. win gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Wednesday night’s game against Ireland, played in Portland, Ore., was the U.S. women’s first match since the 2012 games.
"We've been waiting and itching to get out there on the field, I think (this) showed that we wanted to get out there and play," Morgan, 23, told reporters following the 5-0 rout of Ireland, according to Reuters. "I just wanted to keep taking shots and they kept going my way."
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Morgan’s hat-trick constituted the only goals in the first half. The U.S. women’s team struck again when Sydney Leroux added two more goals to seal the 5-0 win for the Americans.
The match against Ireland was the first in a “victory tour” for the U.S. women’s team.
“Overall, it’s been successful and we’re trying to give back to the fans. I think a 5-0 win is good and obviously we want to keep that going. We still have a few more games to go on the victory tour,” Morgan said after the game, according to the U.S. women’s national team website. “[Wednesday night] I was feeling it, feeling comfortable with the ball and was taking shots because of the slick surface. It kept going our way and Abby [Wambach] kept saying ‘keep shooting, keep shooting.”
Morgan’s hat-trick comes as the 25-year-old star is being recognized for her outstanding play. She has been nominated for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
“It was actually a little bit of a surprise for me, there were four of us nominated from the U.S., which is a huge honor. All the other girls definitely deserve it. This year has been great for a lot of us. The team success has created success for us all individually, as well. I’m honored to be nominated for it,” she told the women’s national team’s website.”
The U.S. women’s team is undefeated against Ireland with a 9-0-0 record, the Associated Press reported.