EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Nov. 3, 2004) – The U.S. Women’s National Team’s impressive 21-game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., as Denmark put together a solid 90-minute performance to record an impressive 3-1 victory over the 2004 Olympic champions. The lone U.S. goal came from Abby Wambach early in the second half, and briefly tied the game at 1-1, but it wasn’t enough to stop a strong Danish attack in the second half.
The loss was the second of 2004 for the USA, who now have a 27-2-4 mark across 33 games during the year. On the USA’s 10-game post-Olympic “Fan Celebration Tour,” the U.S. is now 7-1-1, with the last game of the tour schedule for Dec. 8 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The match will not only end the 2004 schedule for the U.S. Women, it will also mark the end of the illustrious careers of Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett, three of the team’s long-time stalwarts.
“We really love playing here,” said Hamm after the game about the 14,812 fans in Philadelphia that came out to watch the game. “To be able to stop through such an amazing facility, I wish we could have given them a better result. That credit goes to Denmark, they played a phenomenal game and put their chances away.”
As they did in their draw with the U.S. on Wednesday in New Jersey, Denmark again scored first through a strike from Merete Pedersen, who beat U.S. defender Kate Markgraf to a nice little pass in the area from Lene Jensen. Pedersen finished the attempt with authority from eight yards out past starting goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill, giving the Danes a 1-0 lead at the half.
At halftime, U.S. head coach April Heinrichs made a number of substitutions that paid immediate dividends with second-half subs Wambach and Aly Wagner combining on a pretty goal in the 48th minute. To tie the game, Wagner lofted a perfectly weighted cross from the end line across the goal mouth that Wambach snapped home with a powerful header from six yards out.
For Wambach, the goal was her 29th of 2004, putting her one short of the 30-goal milestone, a mark previously reached only by Michelle Akers (who scored 39 goals for the U.S. way back in 1991).
“She’s been a role model for me,” said Wambach after the game about the retiring Hamm. “She has shown me how to play this game. She has shown me the little things that you really can’t be taught unless you are on the field and see the same thing. I feel legitimately like the luckiest person in the world to be able to have had this opportunity to play with her for the past two and a half years.”
The tie-game was short lived for the U.S. though, as Denmark quickly regained the lead in the 52nd minute after Johanna Rasmussen was able to run onto a misplayed backpass from defender Brandi Chastain, another second half substitute, and dribble around Briana Scurry to slot the ball into the empty net.
The best goal of the evening goal came in the 62nd minute and iced the game for Denmark, the ninth-ranked team in the world. For the third time in two games, it was Pedersen tallying, this time on a one-time half volley on a beautifully played ball over the USA’s backline from Anne Dot Eggers. To play the ball, Eggers lifted a bouncing to herself and then calmly floated the ball into the run of Pedersen, who finished her shot into the lower-left corner of the goal from 18 yards out.
“They are a good team. Give them a lot of credit,” said midfielder Julie Foudy after the game. “They were very good. We knew they were good. We thought we’d won the Olympics when we tied them in the last second of the last game in New York, so we knew it was going to be a tough game tonight. But (the loss) doesn’t diminish our year or anything we have done together. If anything, it is good to remind us that the world is catching up. It makes our achievement that much more sweet.”
With more than 14,812 fans filing into Lincoln Financial Field, the “Fan Celebration Tour” crowd total now stands at 140,595 through nine games, an average of 15,622 per game. The USA and the “Fan Celebration Tour” concludes with one final celebration match on Dec. 8 against Mexico (8 p.m. PT) at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Denmark
Competition: International Friendly – “Fan Celebration Tour”
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa.
Date: Nov. 6, 2004; Kickoff – 4 p.m. ET
Weather: 56 degrees, blustery
1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
DEN 1 2 3
DEN – Merete Pedersen (Lene Jensen) 13th minute.
USA – Abby Wambach (Aly Wagner) 48.
DEN – Johanna Rasmussen (unassisted) 52.
DEN – Merete Pedersen (Anne Dot Eggers) 62.
USA: 18-Kristin Luckenbill (1-Briana Scurry, 46); 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone, 15-Kate Markgraf (6-Brandi Chastain, 46), 4-Cat Reddick; 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Julie Foudy – C, 8-Angela Hucles (10-Aly Wagner, 46), 13-Kristine Lilly; 9-Mia Hamm, 12-Cindy Parlow (16-Abby Wambach, 46).
Subs not used: None.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs.
DEN: 1-Tine Cederkvist; 2-Mariann Knudsen, 3-Katrine Pedersen – C, 4-Gitte Andersen, 5-Bettina Falk; 6-Louise Hansen, 7-Cathrine Sørensen (15-Helle Nielsen, 79), 8-Johanna Rasmussen, 9-Lene Jensen (13-Nadia Kjældgaard, 87); 10-Anne Dot Eggers, 11-Merete Pedersen.
Subs Not Used: 12-Janne Madsen, 14-Tanja Christensen, 16-Mette Bjerg, 17-Stine Jensen, 18-Camilla Anderson.
Head Coach: Poul Højmose.
Shots: 12 12
Shots on Goal: 3 7
Saves: 3 2
Corner Kicks: 5 4
Fouls: 10 10
Offside: 2 6
USA – Abby Wambach (caution) 64th minute.
Referee: Jennifer Bennett (USA)
Assistant Referee: Sharon Wheeler (USA)
Assistant Referee: Karalee Sutton (USA)
Fourth Official: Martha Sinclair (USA)
Chevrolet Player of the Game: Abby Wambach
2004 U.S. WNT “Fan Celebration Tour” Results
# Date Result Venue City Attendance
1 Sat., Sept. 25 USA 4, Iceland 3 Frontier Field Rochester, N.Y. 14,870 (sell-out)
2 Wed., Sept. 29 USA 2, Iceland 0 Heinz Field Pittsburgh, Pa. 6,386
3 Sun., Oct. 3 USA 5, New Zealand 0 PGE Park Portland, Ore. 16,554
4 Sun., Oct. 10 USA 6, New Zealand 0 Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati, Ohio 18,806
5 Sat., Oct. 16 USA 1, Mexico 0 Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City, Mo. 20,435
6 Wed., Oct. 20 USA 5, Ireland 1 Soldier Field Chicago, Ill. 12,856
7 Sat., Oct. 23 USA 5, Ireland 0 Reliant Stadium Houston, Texas 16,991
8 Wed., Nov. 3 USA 1, Denmark 1 Giants Stadium East Rutherford, N.J. 18,885
9 Sat., Nov. 6 Denmark 3, USA 1 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pa. 14,812
2004 U.S. WNT “Fan Celebration Tour” Schedule
# Date Opponent Venue City Kickoff (local)
10 Wed., Dec. 8 USA vs. Mexico Home Depot Center Carson, Calif. 8 p.m. PT