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U.S. women's national team beats Mexico in Women's World Cup send-off

Tobin Heath, center, of the United States is

Tobin Heath, center, of the United States is congratulated by Megan Rapinoe, right, and Alex Morgan after Heath scored in the first half against Mexico at Red Bull Arena on Sunday in Harrison, New Jersey. Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

HARRISON, N.J. -- In its comprehensive 3-0 win over Mexico in its final Send-Off Series game prior to the Women's World Cup, the United States checked off a lot of boxes on Sunday.

"There were several big takeaways," coach Jill Ellis said. "It was being healthy, getting valuable minutes for a lot of different players, keeping a clean sheet, scoring some goals. I told the players, 'Let's see if we could have a good feeling after we leave here, ready to go.' “

Unbeaten in nine matches (7-0-2), the defending world champions left in a pretty good mood, having won their last three Send-Off matches by a combined 11-0 score.

They dominated Sunday from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, outshooting Mexico, 25-3, and not allowing a shot on goal. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had little to do against a team that failed to qualify for the WWC in France. Still, the top-ranked women’s team in the world refused to let its guard down before a near sellout crowd of 26,322 at Red Bull Arena.

"Today was a great challenge, playing against a team that was pretty technical and be able to move the ball," said left back Crystal Dunn, a Rockville Centre native. "Every game we step into is going to be a challenge. They're going to challenge us in different ways."

Dunn was replaced by fellow Long Islander Allie Long at halftime, although the Northport native moved to midfield. Tobin Heath, who took advantage of goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago's poor pass to score in the 11th minute, moved to left back to demonstrate the Americans' versatility and depth.

Depth took center stage over the final 45 minutes. Halftime substitutes Mallory Pugh (tap-in off a Carli Lloyd feed) and Christen Press (top of the penalty area) struck in the 76th and 88th minutes, respectively.

Dunn tried to join the party twice but was denied by Santiago’s superb saves, off a point-blank header in the 43rd minute and a hard stoppage-time shot in the box.

"Great chances, but ultimately great goalkeeping saves," said Dunn, who overlapped so frequently that it seemed she was part of the midfield and even the forward line. "Floating into all these areas was really great for the team. It just shows how versatile the team is. We're able to adapt to everything."

Now, it’s off to London to train at Tottenham before flying to France to put the final preparations for the Americans' group stage games against Thailand (June 11), Chile (June 16) and Sweden (June 20) as the team tries to continue its good vibes.

"It was a great way to leave the U.S. and go off to Europe and compete in this tournament," Dunn said.

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