March 29, 2010
Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer
SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Women's National Team opened its 2010 domestic schedule with a convincing 3-0 win against Mexico at the University of San Diego's Torero Stadium.
Forward Amy Rodriguez opened the scoring in the 12th minute with her first goal since scoring against New Zealand in the 2008 Olympics, while Shannon Boxx and Lauren Cheney added goals on either side of halftime. For Cheney, it was her team-leading fifth goal of 2010 and ninth of her international career.
Playing for the first time since a 3-2 victory against Germany in the championship game of the 2010 Algarve Cup on March 3, the U.S. team, led by ussoccer.com Woman of the Match Amy LePeilbet held Mexico to a single shot in each half. The U.S. outshot Mexico 21-2, including a 10-0 advantage in shots on goal as U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo did not need to make a save while recording her third shutout of the year.
"The game today showed that we need to change the point of attack more often and be more dangerous," said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. "I think we did a better job in the second half. We made a change in the second half and I thought when we had Lori Lindsey in the midfield and Cheney keeping the ball up top that gives us options. That's good and fun to coach because I have different qualities on the bench that can bring out something different on the field."
The U.S. concludes the two-game series against Mexico on Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Tickets are available at ussoccer.com, by calling 888-477-5849 and at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office.
The match marked the return of U.S. legend Kristine Lilly to the U.S. team. The most-capped player in soccer history extended her world record for international games played to 343 when she came on for Yael Averbuch in the 32nd minute and then did some nice work on the left flank. Lilly becomes the first player in U.S. history, and likely in world history, to play for her country in four different decades.
Lilly earned 15 caps in 1980s, 176 in the 1990s, 151 from 2000-2009 and now one in 2010. The former U.S. captain is the world's second all-time leading scorer with 129 goals and has played in five FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments, the most of any female player.
Rodriguez' goal, her seventh career international score, came on the USA's first shot of the game. Flank midfielder Heather O'Reilly played a ball over the top into the left side of the penalty area and Rodriguez brought it down expertly. Mexican goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar came charging off her line, but Rodriguez eluded her and rolled the ball into the open net from about 15 yards away.
The game was also the first return for U.S. forward Abby Wambach to Torero Stadium since breaking her leg on July 17, 2008 against Brazil in the USA's final match before the Olympics, keeping Wambach off the Olympic team. While she did not get a goal this afternoon, Wambach buzzed around the Mexico penalty area for 90 minutes and had a goal called back in the 14th minute for offside.
Rodriguez easily could have made it 2-0 in the 18th minute as a pass slipped past the Mexican backs to her inside the penalty area, but her toe-poke past Tajonar rolled just wide right.
The USA doubled its lead just before halftime as a long free-kick from right back Cat Whitehill soared into the penalty area. Tajonar came out to challenge in a busy pack of players but couldn't hang onto the ball. It dropped to Boxx who swept it into the open net from about the penalty spot. It was the 21st international score for Boxx.
The USA peppered the Mexican net in the second half. In the 52nd minute a bullet header from Wambach that deflected off a Mexican defender before Tajonar grabbed the ball out of the air.
Lilly had a chance to get on the scoresheet in the 53rd minute after Wambach touched a pass back to her at the top of the penalty box, but she spun her left-footed shot wide left from 20 yards. She also had a header from a tough angle go wide right off a cross from Kelley O'Hara in 78th minute. O'Hara, the 2009 MAC Hermann Trophy winner from Stanford University and a long-time standout on the USA's youth national teams, earned her first cap with senior side when she came on for O'Reilly in the 63rd minute. Her teammates found her wide into space a few times and she was able to create problems for Mexico's defenders with her pace.
In the 64th minute Whitehill ripped a direct kick from 30 yards, but right into Tajonar's midsection. One minute later, Cheney, who came on at halftime, powered around the left side of the Mexican defense and dribbled straight at the near post. Her shot was hard and Tajonar had to bat the ball away.
Lilly almost scored on a slick back-heel off a Boxx cross from the right, making a near post run and getting a flick on the ball, forcing Tajonar to pin it on the goal line with a save to her left.
In the 69th minute Cheney turned past the Mexican defense again, this time from the right, and touched a short pass to O'Hara inside the six yard box. Her shot was stuffed and Cheney got a swing at the rebound, but that too was blocked away.
As Mexico tired, the U.S. spent most of the last 20 minutes in the visitors' half and a driven shot from Boxx from a steep angle near the right end line forced Tajonar to palm the ball over the goal.
The USA finally added another score in the 72nd minute after Boxx won a header from a clearance in the midfield. The ball bounced to Cheney, who expertly rolled off a defender and burst into the penalty box, striking her shot off the `keepers hands and into the net.
Four minutes later, Lilly raced into the left side of the penalty area and lifted a cross to the far post that barely missed the sliding Wambach.
In the waning minutes Wambach and Cheney exchanged excellent crosses directly into the goal mouth, Cheney's service coming off an overhead kick, but both players put close-range headers over the crossbar.
The USA moved to 5-0-0 in 2010 and extended its unbeaten streak in domestic matches to 42 games.
Match: U.S. Women's National Team vs. Mexico
Date: March 28, 2010
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Torero Stadium; San Diego, Calif.
Kickoff: 2 p.m. PT
Weather: Sunny, light breeze - 79 degrees
USA - Amy Rodriguez (Heather O'Reilly) 12th minute
USA - Shannon Boxx 43
USA - Lauren Cheney (Shannon Boxx) 72.
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 4-Cat Whitehill, 26-Rachel Buehler, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 17-Meghan Schnur (14-Stephanie Cox, 77); 9-Heather O'Reilly (19-Kelley O'Hara, 63), 7-Shannon Boxx (Capt.), 10-Carli Lloyd (5-Lori Lindsey, 46), 12-Yael Averbuch (13-Kristine Lilly, 32), 8-Amy Rodriguez (11-Lauren Cheney, 46); 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Alex Morgan.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
MEX: 12-Pamela Tajonar; 2-Leticia Villalpando, 22-Alina Garciamendez, 4-Marylin Diaz, 15-Luz Saucedo (6-Monica Vergara, 78); 8-Lupita Worbis (Capt.) (18-Natalie Vinti, 84), 11-Nayeli Rangel (16-Renae Cuellar, 46), 20-Lili Godoy (9-Monica Ocampo, 38); 10-Maribel Dominguez (5-Maria Castillo, 58), 17-Veronica Perez, 19-Dinora Garza (21-Kaylie Garcia, 80).
Subs not used: 1-Erika Vanegas, 3-Rubi Sandoval, 7-Evelyn Lopez, 13-Lulu Gordillo
Head Coach: Leo Cuellar