Football: Ferns fall to another heavy defeat to classy USA at Auckland's Eden Park

The Football Ferns have fallen to another heavy defeat to reigning World Cup champions USA at Auckland's Eden Park.

Despite encouraging signs in the opening exchanges, New Zealand were no match for the visitors in a 5-0 drubbing, just days after their 4-0 loss at Wellington.

In what promised to be an ideal Football World Cup dress rehearsal, with the NZ-staged tournament just six months away from kickoff, the Ferns struggled to match the intensity of the classy Americans.

Grace Jale defends against Mallory Swanson.
Grace Jale defends against Mallory Swanson. Photo credit: Getty Images

Early signs suggested the Ferns may improve on their loss at Wellington, winning a corner just eight minutes into the match, after not winning one for more than 90 minutes in the first friendly fixture.

The USA were also without star striker Alex Morgan, who was a late withdrawal in a much-changed starting line-up to the one that prevailed on Wednesday.

Morgan's replacement, Ashley Hatch, made an immediate impact, opening the scoring in the 22nd minute, finding the bottom right corner, after Trinity Rodman picked her out.

Midfielder Rose Lavelle tapped home another goal shortly before halftime to give USA a 2-0 lead, with the Ferns unable to even get a shot away in the first 45 minutes.

Discipline proved troublesome for the Kiwis, who gave away eight fouls to the Americans' zero in the first half, before the visitors ran away with the result after the break.

Forward Mallory Swanson extended the lead to go along with her double at Wellington, before Lavelle slotted home her second goal of the match.

USA midfielder Taylor Kornieck made sure her side would improve on their scoreline from four days ago, heading the ball past Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler from a corner to cap off a resounding series win.