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U.S. Women’s National Team Defeats Canada 4-0 To Win CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament

  • Wambach Surpasses Lilly as No. 2 All-Time Goal Scoring Leader with Two Goals
  • Morgan Nets Two Goals, Two Assists in First Start Alongside Wambach
  • U.S. Wins CONCACAF Qualifying for Third Straight Time
  • Up Next for U.S. WNT is Match Against New Zealand on Feb. 11 at FC Dallas Stadium

VANCOUVER, Canada (Jan. 29, 2012) – U.S. striker Abby Wambach moved to No. 2 on the U.S. and world all-time goal scoring list, Alex Morgan tallied two goals and two assists, and the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Canada 4-0 in front of a sold-out crowd of 25,427 at BC Place to take the championship of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Both teams sealed their berths to the 2012 London Olympics with semifinal wins last Friday, but that did nothing to temper the emotion and energy the USA and Canada showcased in front of a CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying-record crowd.

Wambach netted her 130th and 131st career goals in the 24th and 28th minutes, respectively, to surpass former U.S. WNT teammate Kristine Lilly, who retired at the beginning of 2011 with 130 career goals. Wambach now trails only U.S. legend Mia Hamm (158).

Also at the forefront of the U.S. attack was Morgan, who got her first start of the tournament as she paired up with Wambach in a 4-4-2 formation. It marked the first time that Morgan and Wambach started a match together and Morgan contributed to each of the four U.S. goals.

“I think we came out really strong and the early goal took the wind out of their sails a bit,” said Wambach. “It quieted the crowd down a considerable amount, and then of course the second goal is just the backbreaker for them. It's hard to score one goal against the U.S., let alone two to equalize and three to go ahead.”

U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage shook up her starting lineup for the championship game, leaving regulars Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Heather O’Reilly, Rachel Buehler and Amy LePeilbet on the bench. Only Cheney and Buehler eventually saw action, but by that time the game was well in hand.

In the 4-4-2 formation, Heather Mitts got the start at right back, with Christie Rampone and Becky Sauerbrunn in the middle and Kelley O’Hara on the left. Lori Lindsey was inserted to pair with Carli Lloyd at center midfield, and Megan Rapinoe got her second start of the tournament, this time at left midfield. Amy Rodriguez was on the right flank with Morgan and Wambach partnered up front.

In the fourth minute the USA struck on the counter attack as Lloyd sent the ball up to Wambach, who then headed the ball forward for Morgan who had made a strong run up the gut of Canada’s defense. Morgan fended off Canada’s Shannon Woeller and Candace Chapman and then placed the shot low into the left side of the net past onrushing Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod for the 1-0 lead.

In the 24th minute the USA doubled its lead as Rapinoe sent Morgan down the right side and she raced toward the end line before crossing to the near post. Wambach was making a perfect run and darted in to flick a header past McLoed for the 2-0 lead.

The Americans effectively sealed the match in the 28th minute after Canada’s defense was in scramble mode after Lloyd’s initial low driven shot hit the right post. The ball deflected out and Morgan latched onto it before showing great composure to draw a defender and play a short square pass to Wambach on her left. The U.S. striker spun the ball into the lower right corner with a first-time shot to take sole possession of second place in career goals ahead of Lilly with No. 131.

A Canadian team that was energized by the large crowd had two critical scoring chances in the first half, but U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo showed her class on both occasions to keep the momentum on the USA’s side.

The first came in the 18th minute with the U.S. holding onto a 1-0 lead. Canada’s star forward Christine Sinclair, who otherwise had a quiet match, slipped a nice ball behind the U.S. defense to forward Christina Julien. Solo came off her line and smothered that shot, instigating a huge collision with Julien before the ball was cleared out of harm’s way.

Just before the halftime whistle in the 44th minute Julien again had a scoring chance as she timed her run perfectly to stay in an onside position and went one-on-one against Solo. Solo did not commit, holding her ground until Julien shot low to the goalkeeper’s left. Solo made a brilliant point-blank reaction save to keep a three-goal lead through the first 45 minutes.

Sundhage sent Lauren Cheney into the game for Wambach at halftime and Cheney contributed her tournament-leading seventh assist in the 56th minute. Cheney sent a perfectly-timed long ball to the streaking Morgan as Canada’s defense tried to push up. As the flag stayed down, Morgan raced into the penalty box, held off a defender, rounded McLeod, then eluded the slide of another defender before calmly rolling her left-footed shot into the back of the net for her second goal of the match and a 4-0 lead.

Vancouver native Sydney Leroux made her third appearance in the tournament when she replaced Amy Rodriguez in the second half and almost scored the USA’s fifth on a late header.

The victory gave the USA its third straight CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament title, improved its all-time record against Canada to 43-3-5 and improved its current unbeaten streak against its northern neighbors to 25 games. Lloyd, Rodriguez and Wambach were the USA’s top goal scorers for the tournament with six goals apiece. Cheney led in assists with seven, followed by Morgan with six assists.

For Canada, Sinclair had nine goals, but she could not find the net on Sunday. The USA defense did not give up a goal over the five games in the tournament to start off 2012 and the U.S. offense outscored its opponents by a 38-0 margin.

Solo has established a new shutout streak in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament with 454 consecutive scoreless minutes. Solo posted 450 scoreless minutes in this year’s tournament and four scoreless minutes at the end of the 2008 tournament. Canada’s McLeod was the previous shutout streak holder with 399 minutes – the final 21 minutes from 2004, followed by 378 minutes in 2008.

The U.S. team will now go on a short break before regrouping in Frisco, Texas, to prepare for its meeting with New Zealand on Feb. 11 at FC Dallas Stadium (tickets). The match, which pits two 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup participants, will kick off at 3 p.m. CT.

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: Jan. 29, 2012
Competition: 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament – Final
Venue: BC Place Stadium; Vancouver, Canada
Kickoff: 5 p.m. PT
Attendance: 25,427 (Sell-Out)
Weather: Indoors; 72 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        3 1 4
CAN                        0 0 0

USA – Alex Morgan (Abby Wambach)    4th minute
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)    24
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)    28
USA – Alex Morgan (Lauren Cheney)     56

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts (19-Rachel Buehler, 69), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 8-Amy Rodriguez (14-Sydney Leroux, 63), 16-Lori Lindsey, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach (12-Lauren Cheney, 46)
Subs not used: 6-Amy LePeilbet, 7-Shannon Boxx, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

CAN: 18-Erin McLeod; 2-Shannon Woeller, 5-Robyn Gayle (7-Rhian Wilkinson, 54), 9-Candace Chapman, 16-Lauren Sesselmann; 6-Kaylyn Kyle (14-Melissa Tancredi, 46), 15-Kelly Parker, 13-Sophie Schmidt (4-Carmelina Moscato, 61), 11-Desiree Scott; 12-Christine Sinclair, 10-Christina Julien
Subs not used: 1-Karina LeBlanc, 3-Melanie Booth, 8-Alyscha Mottershead, 17-Brittany Timko, 19-Chelsea Stewart, 20-Chelsea Buckland
Head coach: John Herdman

Statistical Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 22 / 8
Shots on Goal: 13 / 6
Saves: 6 / 8
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 9
Offside: 0 / 6

Misconduct Summary:
CAN – Kaylyn Kyle (caution) 32nd minute

Referee: Quetzalli Alvarado (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Shirley Perello (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Kimberly Moreira (CRC)
4th Official: Gillian Martindale (BRB)

Bud Light Woman of the Match: Alex Morgan