Wambach Becomes Fourth Player in WNT History to Score Five Goals in a Game; U.S. Next Meets Denmark on Nov. 3 at Giants Stadium in N.J., and Nov. 6 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
Wambach's Five Goals
HOUSTON (Oct. 23, 2004) - The U.S. Women's National Team dominated Ireland for the second match in a row, breaking the game open in the second half with an amazing onslaught from the forward tandem of Abby Wambach and long-time Texas resident Mia Hamm to record an exciting 5-0 win in front of 16,991 fans at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. It was just the third time in history that the U.S. women had played a match indoors as the retractable roof was closed on the state-of-the-art stadium.
In a performance perhaps indicative of Hamm's complete talents and unselfishness throughout her career, she assisted on four of Wambach's five second-half strikes. The quintet of goals gave the 24-year-old forward a whopping 28 goals in 2004 and made her only the fourth player in WNT history to score five goals in a match.
"All game I was telling her that we had to get her (a goal) so it's ironic that she kept giving me balls that I had to finish," said Wambach of her striking partner Hamm. "But this is for the fans. We wanted to score some great goals and I think we gave that to them tonight."
The 28 goals, combined with 12 assists, give her a total of 68 points in 2004 and move her past Hamm (60 points in 1998) for the second-most points in a year behind only Michelle Akers (85 pts in 1991). The USA also improved to 37-0-1 in games in which Wambach has scored.
The crowd total allowed the U.S. Women's National Team to break the 100,000 attendance mark at this seventh stop on the "Fan Celebration Tour," totaling 106,898 for an average of 15,271 per game. The USA is 7-0-0 during the FCT.
With the victory, the U.S. WNT broke the record for wins in a calendar year with 27, besting the 26 wins that the U.S. Women earned in 2000. The USA, currently at 27-1-3 in 2004, has a chance to add to the record as it shoots to finish the 10-game tour with a perfect mark with three matches remaining.
The tour next heads next to the East Coast where the U.S. will face Denmark on Nov. 3 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.Y., (7:30 ET) and again on Nov. 6 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., (4 p.m. ET), before ending with yet-to-be confirmed match in early December.
After some early energy by the Irish, the match settled into a rhythm that saw Ireland drop back into a bunker and the USA launch attack after attack at the packed defense. Ireland was content with the occasional counter attack that was inevitably thwarted by the U.S. backs before they could become dangerous.
The best U.S. chances in the first half came off headers by Wambach and Cindy Parlow that flew just feet past the goal, and a shot by Wambach the flew wide right after a great Parlow dribbling run produced a near post cross.
Once the second half started and Wambach took over, scoring five goals in a 42-minute span, the last four amazingly in the final 15 minutes of the match.
The first goal came less than two minutes into the second half as Hamm hit a long, looping cross from the right flank. Wambach ran under it, beating her defender to the spot and sent a header back across the goal and into the right corner.
"It was so nice to be able to come back to Texas," said Hamm. "I had a lot of my friends and family here and the crowd was unbelievable. This tour has been an opportunity to say thank you for 17 very special years. To see the sport continue to grow and know you've been a part of it is a great feeling, but if the fans didn't come out and support us, we wouldn't get the recognition and funding we need to continue to get better. It's so great to see all these young girls in the stands, getting excited and wanting to be out here representing their country one day."
The second goal came in the 76th minute as Hamm once again streaked down the right flank and drew a pair of defenders before playing a square ball across the goalmouth to the far post. Wambach held off a defender to bounce her half-volley into the net past the helpless Irish goalkeeper Sarah Peters.
"The people who are retiring from this game are lifelong friends, and obviously Mia has been an instrumental part of my career," said Wambach. "I don't know what is going to happen when she retires, but she is leaving the team in good hands and we're going to take care of this thing."
Wambach completed the hat trick three minutes later on a goal reminiscent of her game-winner in the 2004 Olympic gold medal match. Hamm's corner kick from the left side found Wambach in the middle of the penalty area and she snapped a header into the net from seven yards out.
The fourth goal came in an unconventional fashion as defender Christie Rampone floated a long ball into the penalty area from the left flank. With Wambach challenging, Peters punched it off the head of an Irish defender and back over her own head towards the goal. Wambach held off another defender and toe-poked it into the net from close range.
She got her record-tying score in the 90th minute after Hamm pulled off a nifty heel flick inside the penalty area into the path of Wambach, who easily slipped her shot inside the right post. With the goal, Wambach joined Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett as the only players to score five goals in a full international match for the U.S. Women's National Team.
For each ticket purchased during the 10-game U.S. Women's National Team "Fan Celebration Tour" of cities throughout the country, NikeGO will donate $1 of Nike soccer product to support the increase of girls soccer participation in each city. NikeGO is a grassroots community outreach program designed to achieve NIKE's overarching corporate goal of promoting youth health and fitness through sport. Nike has also purchased 50 tickets for each game for youth involved with the recipient organization.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Ireland
Competition: International Friendly - "Fan Celebration Tour"
Venue: Reliant Stadium; Houston, Texas
Date: Oct. 23, 2004; Kickoff - 7:00 p.m. CT
Weather: Roof closed - 72 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 5 5
IRL 0 0 0
USA - Abby Wambach (Mia Hamm) 47th minute.
USA - Abby Wambach (Mia Hamm) 76.
USA - Abby Wambach (Mia Hamm) 79.
USA - Abby Wambach (Unassisted) 84.
USA - Abby Wambach (Mia Hamm) 90.
USA: 1-Briana Scurry (18-Kristin Luckenbill, 46); 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Cat Reddick (15-Kate Markgraf, 46), 6-Brandi Chastain, 3-Christie Rampone; 11-Julie Foudy - C (8-Angela Hucles, 62), 7-Shannon Boxx, 13-Kristine Lilly; 12-Cindy Parlow (10-Aly Wagner, 46), 9-Mia Hamm, 16-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: 14-Joy Fawcett.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs.
IRL: 1-Sarah Peters; 2-Ronnie Gibbons, 3-Sharon Boyle, 4-Dolores Deasley, 5-Yvonne Tracy (15-Kariena Richards, 76); 6-Elaine O'Conner, 13-Katie Taylor, 8-Michelle O'Brien, 12-Grainne Kierans (0-Michelle Walsh, 90), 17-Claire Scanlan; 11-Olivia O'Toole.
Subs Not Used: 14-Kacey O'Driscoll, 16-Jennifer Kett.
Head Coach: Noel King.
Shots: 25 2
Shots on Goal: 15 1
Saves: 1 8
Corner Kicks: 10 0
Fouls: 4 5
Offside: 2 0
Misconduct Summary: None
Referee: Kari Seitz (USA)
Assistant Referee: Jeff Kattawar (USA)
Assistant Referee: Paul Hooks (USA)
Fourth Official: Shelly Landry (USA)
Chevrolet Player of the Game: Abby Wambach
2004 U.S. WNT “Fan Celebration Tour” Schedule
# Date Match-up / Result Venue City Kickoff/Attendance
1 Sat., Sept. 25 USA 4, Iceland 3 Frontier Field Rochester, N.Y. 14,870 (Sell out)
2 Wed., Sept. 29 USA 3, 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 vs. Denmark Giants Stadium East Rutherford, N.J. 7:30 p.m. CT
9 Sat., Nov. 6 USA vs. Denmark Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pa. 4 p.m. ET
10 TBD TBD TBD TBD