PORTLAND, Oregon (Oct. 17, 2007) – The U.S. Women’s National Team battled the weather, a rock hard field and a feisty Mexican team to score three second half goals on the way to a 4-0 victory at PGE Park.
U.S. captain Kristine Lilly scored in stoppage time of the first half and Abby Wambach, Natasha Kai and Carli Lloyd added late goals as the USA’s upped its record in 2007 to 19-1-3 with one match left this year. That will come this Saturday, Oct. 20, at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M., as the USA faces Mexico to end this three-match series against its southern neighbor. The American women won the first game, 5-1, on Oct. 13 in St. Louis, Mo.
It was raining on and off in Portland for most of the day, and while the precipitation held off during the match, the rock hard artificial surface was slick and fast, making for very difficult playing conditions. Both teams struggled with passes that skipped out of bounds and extra high bounces, but like the match in St. Louis, the USA eventually wore Mexico down.
The U.S. didn’t get the first goal until stoppage time of the first half as Lilly drove a corner kick into the middle from the side. Mexico goalkeeper Sophia Perez, who had made several excellent saves earlier in the half, went up to grab the ball in traffic and as was jostled. She let the service slip through her hands and apparently just over the goal line before the ball was cleared away by a defender. Play continued for a few moments, but after the ball went over the end line, the assistant referee on the side from which the corner kick had been taken called over referee Margaret Domka. After a brief conversation between the two officials, Domka signaled that the ball had indeed crossed the goal line. It was Lilly’s 129th career goal in her 339rd career cap.
The second goal came in the 76th minute off a free kick that was launched into the penalty area from the left flank by defender Cat Whitehill. With her back to the goal, Lindsey Tarpley got a head to the ball just inside the penalty area, flicking it over the pack of players, and Perez, to a wide open Wambach, who slid to knock in her 20th goal of the year. The goal marks just the sixth time a U.S. women’s player has scored 20 or more goals in a calendar year and makes Wambach the first player to do it twice. It was Wambach’s 86th career goal in her 104th career match.
Wambach, who captained the team on the night, was honored before the game for earning her 100th cap, that coming during the 2007 Women’s World Cup against England.
Kai added a clinching goal in the 82nd minute after forward Heather O’Reilly had wiggled free from a defender on the right flank and crossed to Lloyd in the middle of the penalty area. Lloyd’s shot hit Kai in the mid-section, but the Hawaiian pounced on the rebound and finished under Perez from just inside the six-yard box. It was Kai’s second goal of the year and first since January when she scored against China in the championship game of the Four Nations Tournament in China.
Lloyd, who scored against Mexico in St. Louis after coming on late in the match, did so again, heading in from 10 yards out just three minutes from time after another long Whitehill free kick. The assist for Whitehill was her seventh of 2007, tying a record for most assists in a calendar year by a U.S. defender. Lloyd broke into double figures in international goals with the 10th of her career.
Nicole Barnhart got the start in goal for the USA, her first match and start since July of 2005, which also came in Portland in a win over Ukraine at the University of Portland. It was her fourth career cap and third career shutout.
Defender Tina Ellertson, who hails from Vancouver, Wash., just a short drive from Portland, had to leave game with quad pull in 34th minute, and was replaced by Angela Hucles, who is usually a midfielder and sometimes a forward. With the USA already short of defenders with the injuries to Kate Markgraf and Marian Dalmy, Hucles had to mark in the USA’s three-back alignment and did a fine job.
Mexico had a strange chance in the 50th minute as Evelyn Lopez tried to beat Barnhart from more than 40 yards out. Barnhart raced back and seemed to have the shot covered with a leap to the crossbar, but the ball hit the top of the bar and went out for a goal kick.
Mexico’s best chance of the game came in the 74th minute as Lopez popped free in right side of penalty box and cracked a shot across the goal that Barnhart first knocked down with a dive to her right, then smothered.
The USA’s Stephanie Lopez, a senior at the University of Portland, who the youngest player and only collegian on the 2007 Women’s World Cup Team, was on the U.S. bench but did not play as she has two matches for the Pilots this weekend.
The U.S. team will travel to Albuquerque tomorrow, train on Friday and then finish the year with the match against Mexico on Saturday, kicking off at 4:30 p.m. MT. Fans can follow all the action on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. For ticket information, fans can go to ussoccer.com.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Mexico
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: PGE Park – Portland, Oregon
Date: Oct. 17, 2007; Kickoff – 7 p.m. PT
Weather: Cold, rainy – 51 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Kristine Lilly (unassisted) 46+.
USA – Abby Wambach (Lindsay Tarpley ) 76.
USA – Natasha Kai (Carli Lloyd) 82.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Cat Whitehill) 87.
USA: 21-Nicole Barnhart; 4-Cat Whitehill, 8-Tina Ellertson (16-Angela Hucles, 34), 3-Christie Rampone; 7-Shannon Boxx (12-Leslie Osborne, 46), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (11-Carli Lloyd, 78), 10-Aly Wagner (6-Natasha Kai, 68), 17-Lori Chalupny; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 20-Abby Wambach – Capt., 13-Kristine Lilly.
Subs not used: 1-Briana Scurry, 2-Marian Dalmy, 14-Stephanie Lopez, 15-Kate Markgraf, 18-Hope Solo
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
MEX: 20-Sophia Perez; 3-Rubi Sandoval, 4-Monica Gonzalez, 5-Maria de Jesus Castillo, 13-Lulu Gordillo; 15-Luz Saucedo, 6-Monica Vergara, 7-Evelyn Lopez (11-Patricia Perez, 80), 8-Carmen Padilla; 9-Monica Ocampo, 10-Guadalupe Worbis.
Subs not used: 1-Pamela Tajonar, 2-Ana Lilia Gomez, 12-Eriak Vanegas, 14-Isabel Valdez, 16-Arelli Martinez, 17-Tania Morales.
Head Coach: Leo Cuellar
USA / MEX
Shots: 12 / 7
Shots on Goal: 8 / 2
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 14
Offside: 2 / 0
Misconduct Summary: None
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Asst. Referee: Veronica Perez (USA)
Asst. Referee: Cindy Brooks (USA)
4th Official: Jessica Baumann (USA)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Cat Whitehill