Alex Morgan scored twice in the second half. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The United States sent Mexico a message it will be a difficult side to overcome during Women’s World Cup qualifying later this year as it recorded a 4-1 victory in an international friendly in front of 14,360 fans at EverBank Field Thursday night.

Alex Morgan led the way with a brace and Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd added goals before the Mexicans grabbed a late consolation tally.

It was all U.S. in the first half as the hosts outshot Mexico 10-2 and maintaining 76.4 percent of the possession. The Americans finished with a 20-9 shot margin.

The U.S. had an early chance when Megan Rapinoe connected with Morgan Brian in front of the goal but Brian’s shot was saved by Mexico and Houston Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, a former U.S. youth international. Rapinoe got her assist a few minutes later when she poked the ball to Pugh inside the penalty area and the 19-year-old finished from close range.

In the second half, the U.S. extended its lead with three goals in four minutes as Morgan scored twice, in the 51st and 53rd minutes, with Lloyd earning her 99th career goal in the 54th minue.

Mexico pulled one back via Katie Johnson, who plays for the NWSL’s Sky Blue FC, but never seriously threatened to mount a comeback.

The two teams will tussle again at BBVA Stadium in Houston Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Scoring Summary:

USA – Mallory Pugh (Megan Rapinoe)                            6th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (penalty kick)                                   51
USA – Alex Morgan (Lindsey Horan)                               53
USA – Carli Lloyd (Lindsey Horan)                                  54
MEX – Katie Johnson (Ariana Calderón)                         64

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 16-Emily Sonnett, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 17-Tierna Davidson, 19-Crystal Dunn; 3-Andi Sullivan (10-Carli Lloyd, 53), 6-Morgan Brian (20-Allie Long, 71), 9-Lindsey Horan; 11-Mallory Pugh (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 77), 13-Alex Morgan (capt.) (22-Ashley Hatch, 80), 15-Megan Rapinoe (21-Savannah McCaskill, 71)
Substitutes: 18-Jane Campbell, 25-Hailie Mace
Head coach: Jill Ellis

MEX: 1-Bianca Henninger; 2-Kenti Robles, 13-Annia Mejía (23-Christina Murillo, 57), 3-Bianca Sierra, 5-Mónica Flores (22-Greta Espinoza, 46); 7-Cristina Ferral (8-Ariana Calderón, 46), 6-Karla Nieto (4-Vanessa Flores, 78), 19-Katie Johnson (21-Renae Cuéllar,76); 11-Mónica Ocampo (capt.) (17-María Sánchez, 76), 10-Stephany Mayor, 18-Kiana Palacios
Substitutes: 9-Anisa Guajardo, 12-Cecilia Santiago,14-Jocelyn Orejel, 16-Marcela Valera
Head coach: Roberto Medina

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 20 / 9
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 10
Offside: 4 / 0

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Cardella Samuels (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jennifer Garner (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Princess Brown (JAM)
4th Official: Christina Unkel (USA)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Alex Morgan