U.S. Women Defeat Norway, 4-0, in Fredrikstad; Wambach Scores 99th Career International Goal
FREDRIKSTAD, Norway (July 2, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Team won for the first time ever in Norway, defeating the host country, 4-0, on goals from four different players including three in the second half.
U.S. forward Abby Wambach capped the scoring in the 87th minute with her 99th career goal, running onto a through ball from substitute Amy Rodriguez before slotting her left-footed shot into the lower right corner. The goal gives Wambach 99 in 124 games and puts her within one of becoming the fifth U.S. player, and ninth female player in world history, to notch 100 career international goals.
The American women put together an excellent all-around performance as the back line did a fantastic job of repelling Norway’s repeated counters while the U.S. attack slowly wore down the home team with quick possession that eventually produced three second half goals, including two in the last seven minutes.
"It's hard to play against us,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “You can keep up for 45 minutes, but after a while, because you have to run so much and stay so focused in defending, at the end of the day, so many times we look stronger at the end of the game."
Lindsay Tarpley got the USA started in just the fourth minute after Wambach received a throw-in inside the penalty area from deep on the left sideline. Wambach spun to the inside and played a pass to Tarpley, who pushed the ball centrally past a defender and slid to cut her right-footed shot back into the left corner from 10 yards out.
The goal was Tarpley’s 10th of the year, marking the first time she’s achieved double-figures in a calendar year for the U.S. National Team.
After a relatively quiet first half, Norway produced a flurry of chances right before the break. The home team fired three shots in about a 90-second span, but could not turn the first two on goal – one a flying volley attempt from Lene Storlokken that went just wide left. U.S. ‘keeper Hope Solo grabbed the third one off the foot of Isabell Herlovsen.
The USA struck quickly in the second half as well. Just seven minutes after the break, Tarpley slid a nice ball down the left wing to Natasha Kai, who turned on the jets and blew past Norway’s left back into the penalty area. Lloyd was wide open making a slot run and smacked her first-time left-footed shot off the leg of Norwegian defender Marit Christensen and past goalkeeper Erika Skarbo from 12 yards out. It was Lloyd’s 16th international goal and sixth of 2008.
The USA got one more goal to seal the game in spectacular fashion after a short clearance from Skarbo landed at the feet of Hucles, who was about 40 yards from the net. Spying Skarbo way off her goal line, Hucles took a short touch and hit a screamer that soared over the Norwegian goalkeeper and just under the crossbar before stretching the back of the net. It was Hucles third goal of the year, all of which have come in dramatic fashion. She has scored two stoppage game-winners this year to add to her Beckham-like strike today.
Solo’s game consisted mostly of helping direct a back line that did extremely well to cut off Norway’s final passes. She also fielded numerous long services herself with some excellent reading of the game and quick sprints out of the net to corral bouncing balls. Solo came up big on her toughest chance of the game, denying substitute Leni Larsen Kaurin with a diving save in the 86th minute after the Norwegian attacker had an open look at the goal from 12 yards away in the right side of the penalty area.
Wamach could have made it 100 goals in this game as she had a great chance in the 22nd minute after Kai got behind the Norwegian defense in the left side of the penalty area, running onto an errant shot from Boxx. She cut the ball back with a hard cross on the ground that was cleared up in the air by a defender. Wambach came crashing through, but sent her header at a relatively open net over the crossbar from eight yards out.
Wambach had a good chance in the 78th minute as well, once again gettting around the Norwegian left back, but Skarbo made a nice save when the U.S. forward tried to blast her shot low into the near post.
The win marked the USA’s 10th consecutive victory over the Norwegians, which in the previous 10 games before this streak had beaten the USA six times and tied them once. The USA had lost and tied in its only previous two matches in Norway, those coming in 2000.
The U.S. team will leave Norway early on Thursday morning and travel to northern Sweden to prepare for its match against the Swedes on July 5 at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) at Norrvalla Stadium in Skelleftea. The game will mark the return of Sundhage to her home country where she is widely hailed as one of its best-ever female players. Sundhage, who finished sixth in the voting for FIFA Player of the Century in 2000, will be coaching the USA against her homeland for the first time.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Norway
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Fredrikstad Stadium; Fredrikstad, Norway
Date: July 2, 2008; Kickoff – 6 p.m. local / Noon ET
Weather: Clear, breezy – 70 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
NOR 0 0 0
USA – Lindsay Tarpley (Abby Wambach) 4th minute.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Natasha Kai) 52.
USA – Angela Hucles (unassisted) 84.
USA – Abby Wambach (Amy Rodriguez) 87.
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts, 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 17-Lori Chalupny (13-Tobin Heath, 88); 9-Heather O’Reilly (16-Angela Hucles, 67), 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (19-Amy Rodriguez, 81); 6-Natasha Kai, 20-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: 1-Briana Scurry, 8-Lauren Cheney, 10-Aly Wagner, 14-Stephanie Cox, 21-Kacey White, 22-Ali Krieger, 24-Nicole Barnhart, 26-Rachel Buehler
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
NOR: 1-Erika Skarbø; 2-Ane Stangeland Horpestad (5-Siri Nordby, 46), 3-Gunhild Følstad, 15-Marita Skammelsrud Lund, 19-Marit Christensen; 4-Ingvild Stensland, 6-Marie Knutsen (7-Trine Rønning, 81), 21-Lene Storlokken; 8-Solveig Gulbrandsen, 17-Lene Mykjåland (14-Guro Knutsen, 70); 9-Isabell Herlovsen (11-Leni Larsen Kaurin, 60).
Subs not used: 10-Melissa Wiik, 12-Ingrid Hjelmseth, 13-Christine Nilsen, 16-Runa Vikestad, 18-Anneli Giske, 20-Kristin Lie, 22-Elise Thorsnes
Head Coach: Bjarne Berntsen
USA / NOR
Shots: 17 / 9
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 0
Fouls: 10 / 8
Offside: 7 / 6
USA – Shannon Boxx (caution) 30th minute.
Referee: Claudine Brohlet (BEL)
Asst. Referee: Leen Martens (BEL)
Asst. Referee: Anne Cheron (BEL)
4th Official: Ann Wenche Kleven (NOR)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Shannon Boxx