CARY, North Carolina -- The United States and Panama recorded emphatic Group A wins on the opening night of the 2018 concacaf Women's Championship on Thursday night.
The defending FIFA Women's World Cup champions secured a 6-0 triumph over Mexico at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park after Panama blanked Trinidad & Tobago, the fourth-place finisher in the 2014 CWC, 3-0.
The Americans took the group lead over the Central American side by goal differential.
Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan led the USA attack with two goals apiece. Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath also found the net.
Deploying a high pressure, fast-paced attack, the Americans dominated from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Rapinoe gave the Americans all the scoring they needed in the third minute, knocking in a Lindsey Horan feed before they broke open the game with five second-half goals.
Ertz gave the USA a 2-0 margin, putting home a rebound, in the 47th minute and Morgan tallied her first off a Rapinoe corner kick in the 57th minute. Heath (61st minute), Rapinoe (70th minute) and Morgan (80th) closed out the scoring.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, Panama, participating in only its third CWC and first since 2006, earned its second victory in the competition.
Marta Cox lifted Los Canaleros into a 12th-minute lead as she finished a Natalia Mills feed from eight yards. Kenia Rangel doubled the margin in the 68th minute, connecting from five yards. Erika Hernandez struck from six yards in the 88th minute.
Panama's 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey recorded the clean sheet.
Group A action resumes Sunday as the USA plays Panama and Mexico tussles with Trinidad.
On Friday night, Group B action kicks off as Costa Rica meets Cuba and Canada takes on Jamaica in Edinburg, Texas.