Final, 2-0 USA: The referee blows the final whistle. USA begins its Olympic journey with a win.
Lloyd and Morgan scored early goals in each half to give Team USA a convincing 2-0 victory over New Zealand. Team USA assumes first place in Group G, and its impressive Olympic winning streak continues.
The U.S. will play France on Saturday in the second game of the preliminary round. New Zealand will play Colombia on Sunday in the other Group G game.
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90th minute, 2-0 USA: There will be four minutes of added time in the second half.
89th minute, 2-0 USA: Dunn dribbles past a defender on the right side of New Zealand’s penalty area and crosses into the goal-mouth, but Nalyer and a defender prevent it from reaching Press.
83rd minute, 2-0 USA: Wilkinson departs, and Jasmine Pereira replaces her in New Zealand’s final substitution.
81st minute, 2-0 USA: Christen Press replaces Morgan in Team USA’s final substitution.
81st minute, 2-0 USA: New Zealand defender Rebekah Stott shoots wide from distance.
76th minute, 2-0 USA: Heath curls a free kick into New Zealand’s goal mouth. It reaches Nalyer, who bobbles the ball. Rosie White clears the danger before Lloyd can arrive.
71st minute, 2-0 USA: Duncan can’t continue. Kirsty Yallop replaces the stricken New Zealand midfielder.
67th minute, 2-0 USA: New Zealand’s Katie Duncan receives treatment after a slight collision with Lloyd.
65th minute, 2-0 USA: Lloyd shoots the ensuing free kick over the goal. Nobody’s perfect.
64th minute, 2-0 USA: New Zealand fullback Ria Percival receives a yellow card for tripping Heath, who now has forced two Ferns into the referee’s book.
64th minute, 2-0 USA: Brian exits, and Lindsey Horan enters, as Team USA makes its second substitution.
63rd minute, 2-0 USA: The crowd is booing Solo every time she touches the ball. Here’s one theory as to why.
60th minute, 2-0 USA: New Zealand is making a substitution. Sarah Gregorius enters. Katie Bowen exits.
60th minute, 2-0 USA: Heath shoots over the New Zealand goal from a tight angle.
58th minute, 2-0 USA: New Zealand remains pinned in its own half, as the U.S. continues to dominate possession.
51st minute, 2-0 USA: The U.S. makes its first substitution, replacing Pugh with Dunn.
50th minute, 2-0 USA: Amber Hearn swivels and shoots wide of the U.S. goal in New Zealand’s first threatening moment of the contest.
46th minute, 2-0 USA: Morgan is on the board, and Team USA leads by two.
Morgan Brian played Morgan into the New Zealand penalty area with a well-weighted through-ball. Morgan controlled the ball and shot past Nayler at the near post.
46th minute, 1-0 USA: The second half is underway.
Halftime, 1-0 USA: The first half ends with Team USA leading by one goal.
45th minute, 1-0 USA: There will be one minute of added time in the first half.
42nd minute, 1-0 USA: New Zealand is increasing its share of possession and territory in the closing stage of the first half, but the Ferns are unable to cap their good spell with goal-scoring chances.
37th minute, 1-0 USA: A wave is doing the rounds at the Estadio Mineirao, as the teams play out the final minutes of the first half.
USA remains ahead on the score-line and on balance of play, but the game has seen precious few scoring chances so far.
30th minute, 1-0 USA: The referee shows a yellow card to New Zealand’s Ali Riley.
30th minute, 1-0 USA: The first half hour of Team USA’s Olympic journey has gone as expected. The Americans lead by a goal and have the game under full control.
29th minute, 1-0 USA: U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo sees her first action, as Hannah Wilkinson’s attempted shot floats harmlessly into her hands.
24th minute, 1-0 USA: Pugh is back on the field. Her attempted cross deflects out for a corner kick.
22nd minute, 1-0 USA: Pugh leaves the field with an apparent injury. The teenage U.S. attacker is receiving treatment on the sidelines.
18th minute, 1-0 USA: The referee shows a yellow card to New Zealand’s Betsy Hassett for a reckless tackle on Heath.
16th minute, 1-0 USA: Lloyd’s goal seems to have sparked Team USA’s pursuit of another. Its passing tempo has increased, forcing New Zealand deeper into its own half.
Ninth minute, 1-0 USA: Carli Lloyd opens the scoring within 10 minutes of kickoff.
Tobin Heath crossed into the New Zealand penalty area, and Lloyd headed the accurate delivery inside of the near post.
Team USA is off and running in Brazil, thanks to Lloyd, who apppears to be carrying her major-tournament form into the Olympics in 2016.
Seventh minute, 0-0: Morgan heads a free kick wide of the New Zealand goal.
Fifth minute, 0-0: New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler makes a pair of saves, as Team USA threatens early.
Third minute, 0-0: As expected, the U.S. has pushed the game into New Zealand’s half, controlling the tempo of the early minutes by a large margin.
Kickoff, 0-0: USA-New Zealand is underway in Belo Horizonte.
Pregame: U.S. head coach Jill Ellis makes one eyebrow-raising decision in choosing Mallory Pugh, 18, to start as the right-sided forward over Crystal Dunn. Pugh is the youngest of Team USA’s 11 Olympic debutantes. We’ll see if the pressure of the occasion fazes her in any way.
Alex Morgan starts at center forward. She leads Team USA in goal-scoring in 2016 with 11 in 15 games.
5:30 p.m.: Here are the starting lineups:
5 p.m. ET: The United States women’s national soccer team’s road to its destiny at the 2016 Olympic Games won’t begin in Rio de Janeiro.
The U.S. faces New Zealand on Wednesday at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in the teams’ preliminary round opener. The stadium sits 215 miles north of Rio — a fitting representation of the long journey Team USA faces in its effort to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive gold medal.
The teams are familiar with one another, having met 13 times since 1987. The U.S. won all but two of those games, including victories in pool play at the 2008 Olympics and in the quarterfinals at the 2012 Olympics. Team USA beat New Zealand 4-0 on April 4, 2015 in the most recent meeting.
The United States undoubtedly is the favorite to win this contest. It has won 14 and drawn one of the 15 games it has played in 2016 — a year that follows one in which it won the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
USA-New Zealand kicks off at 6 p.m. Join us right here for all the action from Belo Horizonte.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images