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- 2011 FIFA World Cup Qualifying to be Announced by CONCACAF in Near Future, Dates to be Late October/Early November
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (July 17, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Team finished their two-game series with Sweden this evening with a convincing 3-0 victory at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.
After drawing 1-1 with Sweden earlier in the week, the No.-1 ranked U.S. put on an impressive display against the fourth-ranked team in the world as Megan Rapinoe ignited the scoring when she finished off a rebound in the 33rd minute and Abby Wambach scored career goals No. 108 and 109 with her head.
The performance was Wambach’s 27th multi-goal game of her career and third of the year. It also gave her 10 goals in 13 games since returning from her broken leg. Wambach passed Tiffeny Milbrett on the all-time points list with 262, good enough for third all-time behind Mia Hamm (460) and Kristine Lilly (363).
The match concluded a week-long camp for the WNT as U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage continues to prepare the team for 2011 FIFA World Cup qualifying which will take place in late October and early November (exact dates are still to be determined).
“We scored three and didn’t concede any goals so I think overall the performance was really good,” said Sundhage. “Sweden is a really good team but I think we controlled the game pretty much from the beginning.”
The match was only seven minutes in when a storm rolled through the area and the game was delayed for 31 minutes due to lightning. Despite the stop-and-start, the U.S. came out of the delay and quickly took command of the match. The USA dominated the midfield and exhibited some excellent possession play, led by the central midfield duo of Lori Lindsey and Shannon Boxx. The two played extremely well, acting as the catalysts of the U.S. attack throughout the match as the U.S. peppered the Sweden goal.
Amy Rodriguez tallied the USA’s lone goal against Sweden in the last match, and it appeared she would do the same in the 15th minute, but Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl came up with a fantastic save to keep the game scoreless. Heather O’Reilly won the ball in the U.S. defensive half and touched it to Lindsey who took one touch before striking a 60-yard pass to the streaking Rodriguez. The forward took a touch in the box and tried to slip it past Lindahl, but the ‘keeper did well to stay low and make the save.
Sweden came back the other way a few minutes later as Josefine Oqvist got down the right flank and played a nice give-and-go with Therese Sjogran before sending in a cross into the box, but Lisa Dahlkvist was unable to get a clean shot off and hit her attempt wide left.
The U.S. continued to push forward and Boxx, Rodriguez, Wambach and Rapinoe all had various looks on goal, but the breakthrough did not come until the 33rd minute. Holding possession on the right side, O’Reilly started the USA’s attack by hitting a long switch to Meghan Schnur on left sideline and the defender quickly slipped the ball inside to Boxx near the corner of the box. Boxx turned on her defender to get loose and ripped a left-footed strike on target. Lindahl got her hand to the shot but the ball fell right to Rapinoe at the back post and she one-timed the loose ball into the open net.
Sweden created their best chance of the match five minutes later, but failed to equalize. Oqvist got into the penalty area from the left side and dribbled along the endline where Rachel Buehler and Amy LePeilbet forced her to lose possession. The ball popped loose to Linnea Liljegard and she had a great opportunity to test Solo from six yards out, but amazingly her shot went wide of the target.
The U.S. doubled their lead just before the half on a well-placed corner kick from Lindsey to an unmarked Wambach. Darting in from the top of the penalty area, Wambach rose above the Swedish defenders and drove her header home from eight yards out.
Despite the fact the U.S. starting backline had the least combined caps (86) for any starting defensive group for the WNT in more than four years, Ali Krieger (5 caps), Schnur (6), LePeilbet (35) and Buehler (40) did well to contain Sweden’s attack. Solo also did her part to keep the Swedes off the score sheet with three saves in her 50th cap.
Sweden, which was without two starters from the last match as defender Sara Larsson and midfielder Caroline Seger were released back to the Philadelphia Independence, had another great chance in the 66th minute. Oqvist got inside the right side of the penalty area and crossed the ball to the back post to a wide-open Kosovare Asllani, but the midfielder launched her attempt over the bar.
In the 70th minute, Christie Rampone came in for Schnur to earn her first cap in more than a year since coming back from her second pregnancy. Buehler, who wore the captain’s armband for the first time in her career, moved from central defense to left back.
Two minutes later, the U.S. put the finishing touches on the match, when Wambach headed home her second goal of the night. Lilly dribbled up the left flank deep in Sweden’s territory but pulled the ball back and dropped it to Buehler, now playing outside back. Buehler whipped a cross into the box and Wambach out-jumped two defenders to bury the ball into the back of the net.
The U.S. may have another camp in October before 2011 FIFA World Cup qualifying begins later that month or in early November. CONCACAF will announce the exact dates, location and groups in the near future.
The eight teams competing for berths to the 2011 FIFA World Cup are Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the USA. The teams will be divided into two groups of four, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the all-important semifinals as the two finalists will automatically qualify for the 2011 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The third-place team will compete in a playoff against the fifth-place finisher from the European zone.
The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place from June 26-July 17 in nine venues across Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen. Along with the hosts, the only teams that have qualified at this point are Australia, Japan and Korea DPR as the Asia qualifying tournament was finished in late May.
U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: July 17, 2010
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Rentschler Field; East Hartford, Conn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Weather: 88 degrees; Humid, hot
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
SWE 0 0 0
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Shannon Boxx) 33rd minute
USA – Abby Wambach (Lori Lindsey) 45
USA – Wambach (Rachel Bueher) 72
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 16-Ali Krieger, 6-Amy LePeilbet (15-Kate Markgraf, 46), 26-Rachel Buehler (capt.), 17-Meghan Schnur (3-Christie Rampone, 70); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 5-Lori Lindsey, 11-Megan Rapinoe (13-Kristine Lilly, 46); 20-Abby Wambach, 8-Amy Rodriguez (12-Lauren Cheney, 46)
Subs not used: 14-Stephanie Cox, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 22-Sarah Huffman
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
SWE: 1-Hedvig Lindahl; 20-Malin Levenstad, 2-Charlotte Rohlin, 4-Linda Sembrant, 13-Lina Nilsson; 14-Josefine Oqvist (22-Annica Svensson, 85), 17-Lisa Dahlkvist (9-Jessica Landström, 62), 15-Therese Sjögran (6-Sara Thunebro, 56), 18-Nilla Fischer, 19-Louise Fors (10-Kosovare Asllani, 62); 11-Linnea Liljegärd (8-Sara Lindén, 70)
Subs not used: 3-Stina Segerström, 21-Sofia Lundgren
Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Statistical Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 18 / 6
Shots on Goal: 11 / 3
Saves: 3 / 8
Corner Kicks: 7 / 5
Fouls: 6 / 8
Offsides: 1 / 5
SWE – Malin Levenstad (caution) 34th minute
Referee: Michelle Cowman (USA)
Assistant Referee: Debbie Coleman (USA)
Assistant Referee: Kellee Walsh (USA)
Fourth Official: Dan Marques (USA)
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