BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (May 3, 2008) – In a wild match that saw the U.S. Women’s National Team score two own goals and give up a three-goal lead in the second half, substitute midfielder Angela Hucles provided the game-winner in the 94th minute as the U.S. defeated Australia, 5-4, while getting the winning goal in extra time for the second straight game.
The win gives the U.S. women a sweep of Australia in the two-game domestic set after winning, 3-2, in Cary, N.C. on April 27. The victory ups the USA’s 2008 record to 12-0-1 heading into a match against Canada on May 10 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Kick-off is 7 p.m. ET and the match will be streamed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchACCESS.
“There is something with this team that we refuse to lose,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “The way we’re winning is different, but playing in games like this is so important for us to deal with. This is another good result by the U.S. team.”
After giving up an own goal in the 19th minute, the USA scored four times in a 17-minute stretch that included the end of the first half and the first minute of the second, only to let Australia score three consecutive goals in the second half to tie the match at 4-4.
Against the Matildas in Cary, Carli Lloyd was the hero, scoring the winner in the 91st minute. This time, Hucles supplied the dramatics, scoring in the 94th minute as she crisply volleyed home from eight yards with her left foot after running under a flicked header from Wambach, who had won the ball off a long free kick from Cat Whitehill. Just seconds after Australia kicked off, the match was over.
Wambach scored the USA’s second and fourth goals while Lindsay Tarpley, starting at an outside midfielder position for the first time since 2004, supplied the first and third. The two goals for Wambach gave her 95 in just 118 games and put her five short of the magical 100-goal mark. For Tarpley, the two scores upped her career total to 25 and gave her eight in 2008, tying her previous high in a calendar year, achieved in 2004.
There was little clue early on that the game would end 5-4 and Australia actually had the first chance in just the fourth minute as speedy forward Sarah Walsh got behind the defense on a pass that split the USA’s center backs right up the middle. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo came out to challenge and tried to tackle with her feet, but Walsh dribbled around her. Still, Solo delayed her enough that the U.S. defenders could recover and Christie Rampone was able to clear the shot away about three yards from the goal line.
The USA gave Australia a bit of a lift in the 19th minute after Walsh got free down the right flank and hit a hard cross on the ground. Whitehill was retreating and tried to slide and clear, but as she fell, inadvertently knocked the ball into her own net from just a few yards away.
Before and after the own goal the U.S. team was controlling most of the play and held a 7-1 advantage in shots when they struck twice in two minutes to take the lead.
The first U.S. goal came in the 28th minute after a nice series of quick passes led to outside back Stephanie Cox getting an uncontested cross from the left wing. She drove the ball to the far post where Shannon Boxx headed it back into the mix in the middle. The ball deflected off the head of an Australia defender and directly to Tarpley, who slashed through to send a bullet header into the net from five yards out.
About a minute later, it was 2-1 after forward Natasha Kai played her running mate Wambach a nice pass through the defense and into the right side of the penalty box. Wambach beat Clare Polkinghorne with a stutter-step before slapping her shot through the legs of goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri and into the near post from a sharp angle.
The USA added a third goal three minutes before halftime as Kai got behind the defense on the right side and chipped a cross through the goal area. Tarpley took the ball down with her chest inside the penalty area as she moved to her right to separate from a defender and then struck a volley just inside the left post.
The USA had piled up a 14-3 shot advantage by halftime and the match seemed to be sealed when the Americans scored just 19 seconds into the second half to make it 4-1. Outside back Heather Mitts got a ball down the right wing on an overlap and cut a pass back to Boxx who hit a first-time cross into the penalty area over a pulled up Australia back line. Unmarked, Wambach headed powerfully home from just inside the six-yard box.
The Aussie showed fantastic fighting spirit to tie the match, out-shooting the U.S. by an 8-7 margin after the break, but the comeback was not without a little assistance from the USA. Just three minutes after Wambach’s second goal, Australia got one on a bit of a fluke play as Collete McCallum launched a long ball from inside her defensive half. The ball got over the U.S. backs and took a big hop at the top of the box, flying over second half substitute goalkeeper Briana Scurry who had come out of the penalty area to challenge. With U.S. defenders in tow, Walsh was able to run down the loose ball and knock it into the open net from just a few feet away.
Australia made it 4-3 in the 64th minute as Lauren Colthorpe took a short square pass from Joanne Burgess at the top of the right side of the penalty box and lashed her shot into the lower left corner, giving Scurry no chance.
The tying goal came just five minutes later and it was eerily similar to the USA’s first own goal. Burgess got some space in the right side of the penalty area and hit a hard cross on the ground that got past Scurry at the near post, but didn’t seem to be headed to an Aussie player. Rampone tried to clear, but slid and knocked it into the U.S. net from close range.
Tarpley just missed the hat trick in the 68th minute after Boxx once again headed a dropping ball back across the face of the net, but the U.S. midfielder had two tall defenders in her way and couldn’t turn the ball on goal.
U.S. forward Lauren Cheney came into in the match in the 80th and had a chance to settle things just seconds later as Boxx played her a short bouncing ball to the top of the six-yard box. With some space, she fired her uncontested half-volley over the goal from seven yards away.
Australia had its chance to get a winner in 88th minute as Colthorpe unleashed a blast from distance that smacked against the crossbar, but it was Hucles who finished her chance five minutes later to seal the win. The goal, the sixth of her career, was the first for Hucles since Oct. 16, 2004, against Mexico in a match that she also scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory.
The match also marked just the sixth time in 23-year history of the U.S. Women’s National Team that the squad has allowed four goals in a match and first time the team has ever won a game while allowing that many goals against.
For the match against Canada in Washington, D.C., tickets ranging in price levels from $20 to $70, plus special VIP on-field seats for $150, are available online at ussoccer.com, through all Washington-Baltimore Ticketmaster outlets (including Macy’s stores), and by phone (Washington 202-397-SEAT (7328); Baltimore 410-547-SEAT (7328); Northern Virginia 703-573-SEAT (7328); out of state 1 800 551 SEAT (7328)). Groups of 20 or more can obtain a discount order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.
- U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT -
Match-up: USA vs. Australia
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Legion Field; Birmingham, Ala.
Date: May 3, 2008; Kickoff – 4 p.m. CT
Weather: Hot, humid – 74 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 2 5
AUS 1 3 4
AUS – Own Goal (Cat Whitehill) 19th minute.
USA – Lindsay Tarpley (unassisted) 28.
USA – Abby Wambach (Natasha Kai) 29.
USA – Lindsay Tarpley (Natasha Kai) 42.
USA – Abby Wambach (Shannon Boxx) 46.
AUS – Sarah Walsh (Collette McCallum) 49.
AUS – Lauren Colthorpe (Joanne Burgess) 64.
AUS – Own Goal (Christie Rampone) 69.
USA – Angela Hucles (Abby Wambach) 94+
USA: 18-Hope Solo (1-Briana Scurry, 46); 2-Heather Mitts (26-Rachel Buehler, 58), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 4-Cat Whitehill, 14-Stephanie Cox; 21-Kacey White (16-Angela Hucles, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (9-Heather O’Reilly, 74); 6-Natasha Kai (8-Lauren Cheney, 80), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 12-Leslie Osborne, 15-Kate Markgraf.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
AUS: 1-Melissa Barbieri ; 3-Karla Reuter (4-Dianne Alagich, 51), 5-Cheryl Salisbury - Capt., 11-Clare Polkinghorne (2-Kate McShea, 58), 16-Lauren Colthorpe; 19-Kim Carroll, 7-Heather Garriock, 14-Collette McCallum, 20-Joanne Burgess (17-Kyah Simon, 74); 9-Sarah Walsh, 12-Kate Gill (8-Caitlin Munoz, 85)
Subs not used: 6-Amber Neilson, 10-Joanne Peters, 13-Amy Chapman, 15-Sally Shipard, 18-Lydia Williams, 22-Selin Kuralay, 23-Leah Blayney.
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
Statistical Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 21 / 11
Shots on Goal: 7 / 6
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 9 / 16
Offside: 1 / 2
AUS – Collette McCallum (caution) 31st minute.
Referee: Sandra Serafini (USA)
Asst. Referee: Sharon Wheeler (USA)
Asst. Referee: Patrick Baker (USA)
4th Official: William Cleland (USA)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Lindsay Tarpley