Lloyd, Morgan help USA open gold defense with win over New Zealand

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Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan scored as the United States opened its defense of Olympic gold by gliding to a 2-0 win over New Zealand on Wednesday at Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.

The win puts Team USA atop Group G and New Zealand at bottom ahead of Wednesday’s 9 p.m. EDT kickoff between Colombia and France.

The U.S. gets France on Saturday, while New Zealand will meet Colombia.

Notably, fans chanted “Zika” at Hope Solo in her run-up to goal kicks.

MORE: Highlights here

The Yanks had a corner kick within four minutes, and looked set to go ahead only to be foiled a couple times by Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler.

Then, a dangerous free kick on the edge of the 19 as Ali Riley hacked down Lloyd. The ensuing offering was badly missed off a header by a point-blank Alex Morgan.

The breakthrough came when ever-dangerous Tobin Heath cut in from the left and curled a hard cross for Lloyd to head home. 1-0, 10′ (Watch it here).

Hope Solo was wise to New Zealand’s first good bit of danger in the 29th minute, coming out to collect a floated ball.

Halftime saw the score the same. The second half had less than a minute of it, as Morgan beat Nayler short side for a too-easy left-footed goal. 2-0.

New Zealand found a rare bit of attack in the 79th minute, but bungled several chances at a good shot on net before the U.S. blocked one out for a corner. It came to nothing.