Manchester City’s USWNT trio all starred as the Citizens recorded a 3-0 victory over Fiorentina in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday.
City raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening four minutes through goals from Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly, and it looked as if the hosts were on their way to a sizeable scoreline.
But Fiorentina sured up and although City dominated possession, they struggled to break the visitors down again until Sam Mewis added a third three minutes from time.
Abby Dahlkemper was the only USWNT member to start the fixture, returning to the side to make her Champions League debut and her first start since flying back from her country’s triumphant SheBelieves Cup campaign. The centre back had played 14 minutes from the bench during City’s WSL victory over Birmingham on Sunday.
It was a relatively straight forward evening for Dahlkemper, as City spent much of the match keeping possession in the Fiorentina half, and the visitors rarely threatened. She picked up a booking on the stroke of half time for a late challenge, and was perhaps a little too willing to stand off Frederikke Thogersen as the Fiorentina midfielder charged goalwards in the second half for the Italian side’s only clear cut opportunity.
But she kept possession well as City passed their opponents to death. Despite playing together for a little over two months, Dahlkemper already appears to have the making of a very good understanding and central defensive partnership with Steph Houghton.
The defender was replaced on the hour mark, with her USWNT teammates Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle entering the fray.
Mewis – fresh from making a goalscoring return to action against Birmingham last time out following an injury layoff that saw her miss the SheBelieves Cup – took up her usual central midfield role, while Lavelle was deployed on the right of the City front three.
While Mewis has taken to life in Manchester like a duck to water, English supporters are yet to see the best of Lavelle since her arrival in the summer. However, she turned in one of her liveliest performances yet in a City shirt, buzzing here, there and everywhere, constantly getting on the ball and worming her way through Fiorentina challenges.
Lavelle’s greatest contribution saw her skip effortlessly past her marker and send in a cracking cross from the right, from which Georgia Stanway brought a comfortable save from Katja Schroffenegger.
The winger switched flanks with Kelly on a couple of occasions, and it was Kelly’s delivery that found the head of Mewis as the clock ticked down, as the midfielder grabbed her third goal in the space of four days to give City a comfortable advantage heading into next Wednesday’s second leg.
Lavelle, Mewis and Dahlkemper are bidding to become the first USWNT players to win the Champions League since teammate Alex Morgan won the competition with Lyon in 2017.