Author Topic: Abby Wambach scores twice to lead U.S. past Mexico 5-1 in women's friendly  (Read 1024 times)

Offline David

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ST. LOUIS - A big second half helped the U.S. women's team shake off its post-World Cup hangover and a lingering goalie controversy.

Top scorer Abby Wambach scored twice and captain Kristine Lilly also got a goal for the U.S., which stumbled early, but scored four times after the break in a 5-1 exhibition victory over Mexico on Saturday night. The U.S. had a 30-5 bulge in shots.

"It's been an emotional past couple of weeks and it's disappointing not to have won the World Cup," Wambach said. "But you've got to pick your head up and come back.

"You can't win every tournament you play in."

Heather O'Reilly and Carli Lloyd also scored for the U.S., 18-1-3 this year with the lone loss coming against Brazil in the semifinals of the World Cup last month. Coach Greg Ryan's decision to start Briana Scurry in goal in that game led to harsh criticism from Hope Solo, who had allowed only two goals in four Cup games.

Solo, who is on the roster for the season-ending three-game exhibition series against Mexico, apologized to Ryan and her teammates in a statement issued about a half-hour before the game. She decided not to dress in a move toward reconciliation and sat at the end of the bench wearing jeans and a sweat top.

"I think she's done the right thing and that's hard to do," Ryan said. "I think she's making the right decisions and I'm proud of her."

Scurry had a strong game in goal for the U.S., although she was rarely tested.

The U.S. team's first appearance in St. Louis since 1998 drew attendance of 10,861, which pleased organizers, but made for a fairly intimate gathering in the 65,000-seat Edward Jones Dome, home of the NFL's St. Louis Rams. A little more than half of the lower bowl seats were filled, and none behind the net the U.S. attacked in the first half.

It was only the sixth indoor game for the U.S. women, and first since 2004 in Houston's Reliant Stadium.

Evelyn Lopez scored in the third minute for Mexico, which has not qualified for the last two World Cups. The U.S. and Mexico also will play Wednesday in Portland, Ore., and next Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M.

Wambach has 85 career goals, moving out of a three-way tie for 10th on the career list. Mia Hamm (158) and Lilly (128) are first and second on the international list.

Mexico got the early jump after a misdirected back pass banged off the face of U.S. defender Christie Rampone and resulted in a turnover. Lopez's shot changed direction after deflecting off a player, leaving Scurry flat-footed.

"A bit of an unfortunate goal," said midfielder Lori Chalupny, who is from St. Louis. "Then we just rallied. We all had smiles on our faces."

Given the team's recent troubles on and off the field, players weren't surprised by the shaky start.

"We were trying to peak for the World Cup and it was just natural for us to have had a weird first 20 minutes," Wambach said. "But we were able to come back. We came out in the second half and played our real soccer."

The U.S. began to press the attack after perhaps the first 15 minutes and Wambach just missed on two chances, a header in the 20th minute and a long drive in the 30th minute that were both high, before O'Reilly tied it in the 31st minute with a left-footed kick off a setup from Leslie Osborne.

The Americans dominated in the second half. Wambach got the go-ahead goal in the 57th minute when she nudged a header past Mexican goalkeeper Sophie Perez. She scored the fifth goal in the 81st minute with a rebound shot after Cat Whitehill's free kick.

Lilly scored in the 67th minute off a Wambach feed.

Offline Julia

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I watched the video of this match from and this first goal which one Mexico did look bit weird...Then I watched again and saw that the ball changed direction after deflecting off a player  :D

And good was that Lloyd scored in this game too  ;)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 12:41:15 AM by Julia »