Channel at 7:30 p.m. ET
OMAHA, Nebraska (July 13, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Team tied Sweden 1-1 in front of a record crowd at Morrison Stadium on a hot and muggy evening in Omaha, Neb.
Amy Rodriguez scored her eighth career international goal just one minute before halftime, but Sweden answered in the 57th minute on a Linda Forsberg goal before 6,493 fans, the most ever to see a soccer game at the Creighton University soccer stadium in the USA’s first visit to Nebraska.
The goal scored by Sweden was the first allowed by the U.S. at home in 884 minutes dating back to a Nov. 1, 2008, win against Korea Republic in Richmond, Va. The tie ended an eight-game winning streak for the U.S. at home.
The two-game series against Sweden concludes on Saturday, July 17, in East Hartford, Conn., with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff live on Fox Soccer Channel.
“It was a great crowd to begin with,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage. “We scored a great goal, and I thought in our first half we did well. Then we made some changes that were decided before the game, and I think it wasn’t as good in the second half. We lost a little bit when we decided to go 4-3-3, and we lost too much in the midfield and that’s how they created chances. We had a chance to score to make it 2-0, and they scored to make it 1-1. It’s good to have another game coming up, and we can try again.”
The U.S. forward duo of Abby Wambach and Rodriguez accounted for the goal (Rodriguez), assist (Wambach) and all seven of the USA’s shots on goal. All told, 14 of the 18 total shots came from the pair that each played 90 minutes.
Rodriguez got things going in the first minute, getting the ball on the right side and hitting a good strike toward the right corner. Sofia Lundgren, who made five saves in her 72 minutes of action, denied the chance.
In the sixth minute, Lori Lindsey sent in a dangerous corner that Wambach got her head to initially before it was knocked around in the box. The ball fell to Wambach for another header that was blocked before she had one more chance when she hit a strike that she wasn’t able to get on frame with a hoard of players crowded in front of the goal.
Megan Rapinoe was active early in the match, making some darting runs up the left flank and in the 15th minute she got the ball inside the box with some space, but her strike went wide left.
Two minutes later, Wambach once again made her presence felt with two chances within 30 seconds of each other, both of which were set up by Shannon Boxx. The first came when Boxx dribbled up the heart of the Swedish defense forcing a central midfielder to step up and she slipped a nice through ball for Wambach, but the forward’s toe-poke was blocked by the onrushing goalkeeper Lundgren. The next chance came from the left as Boxx served in a low cross to Wambach near the corner of the six yard box and she attempted to flick it toward goal, but didn’t get much power on the redirection to cause Lundgren any trouble.
The U.S. was controlling the match with six shots on goal before Sweden finally got their first opportunity in the 20th minute when Jessica Landstrom ripped an shot from well outside the box that went over the bar.
Sweden created a much more dangerous opportunity eight minutes later when Annica Svensson curled in cross from the right sideline that took a high hop off the turf and bounced over the head of Amy LePeilbet and Landstrom, falling to a wide-open Linda Forsberg at the back post. Forsberg slid to get a foot on the service but Nicole Barnhart met her there to block the shot out for a corner.
Kate Markgraf, who wore the captain’s armband in recognition of her 200th cap (the seventh U.S. player in history to reach that mark), created the USA’s next chance with a nifty run down the right sideline that started when she beat her defender near the midfield stripe. Markgraf slipped the ball into the box for Wambach, who cut back twice to create some space in front of Segerstrom and then hit a shot that looked destined for the top right corner before Lundgren got a hand to knock it out for a corner.
It appeared the teams would head into the locker room scoreless before Boxx once again started the attack for the U.S. from the midfield. She found Wambach to her right, and the forward quickly sent a ball inside the penalty area for a streaking Rodriguez who held off her defender and was able to get just enough on the ball to get it past Lundgren and into the back of the net.
With qualifying on the horizon, Sundhage made a couple changes to start the second half as she continues to look at a number of different players and systems, bringing on Kelly O’Hara for Rapinoe and Sarah Huffman, making her WNT debut, replacing Lindsey.
The U.S. just missed a stellar opportunity to take a two-goal lead in the 57th minute, before Sweden quickly turned the tables to pull even. The U.S. chance started when Boxx won the ball with a crunching tackle 25 yards out which allowed the ball to fall to the feet of Heather O’Reilly. The midfielder calmly surveyed her options before dropping a ball into the box for Rodriguez whose header banged off the crossbar.
Once the ball was cleared out, Sweden quickly created their opportunity and earned a better result. Defender Stina Segerström knocked the ball up the right side over the top of the U.S. backline that was pushed up high linking up with a darting Forsberg. The midfielder brought the ball down in stride, took two touches towards goal and cooly chipped the ball over the onrushing Barnhart to tie the game. The goal was just the third allowed by Barnhart in 23 career games.
Sweden kept up the pressure and in the 73rd minute a nice give and go in the U.S. penalty area between Liljegard and Seger almost gave them the lead, but the return pass in front of the goalmouth was a foot behind Seger and she was unable to take a shot on goal.
Ali Krieger came into the match in the 77th minute when LePeilbet came down awkwardly on her left ankle after challenging for a header near the penalty spot.
Goalkeeper Kristin Hammarstrom, who replaced Lundgren halfway through the second half, almost gave up the winning goal when Rodriguez headed a cross from Boxx on frame and the ‘keeper pushed the shot off the crossbar.
Sweden had the last opportunity when Liljegard crossed the ball in from the right side to second half substitute Sara Linden. The midfielder brought the ball down, cut inside to her right and ripped a shot but Barnhart kept the draw with a fine save, diving low to her left.
U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: July 13, 2010
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Morrison Stadium; Omaha, Neb.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Weather: 85 degrees; Humid, hot
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
SWE 0 1 1
USA – Amy Rodriguez (Abby Wambach) 44th minute
SWE – Linda Forsberg (Stina Segerström) 57
USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 15-Kate Markgraf (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet (16-Ali Krieger, 80), 26-Rachel Buehler, 14-Stephanie Cox; 9-Heather O’Reilly (13-Kristine Lilly, 83), 5-Lori Lindsey (22-Sarah Huffman, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Megan Rapinoe (19-Kelly O’Hara, 46); 20-Abby Wambach, 8-Amy Rodriguez
Subs not used: 1-Hope Solo, 12-Lauren Cheney, 21-Alex Morgan
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
SWE: 21-Sofia Lundgren (12-Kristin Hammarström, 73); 22-Annica Svensson, 7-Sara Larsson, 3-Stina Segerström, 6-Sara Thunebro; 10-Kosovare Asllani (11-Linnea Liljegärd, 64), 5-Caroline Seger (capt.), 18-Nilla Fischer (17-Lisa Dahlkvist, 46), 16-Linda Forsberg (13-Lina Nilsson, 73), 15-Therese Sjögran; 9-Jessica Landström (8-Sara Lindén, 82)
Subs not used: 1-Hedvig Lindahl, 2-Charlotte Rohlin, 4-Linda Sembrant, 19-Louise Fors, 20-Malin Levenstad
Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Statistical Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 18 / 8
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 2 / 6
Offside: 5 / 2
Referee: Felisha Mariscal (USA)
Assistant Referee: Debbie Coleman (USA)
Assistant Referee: Jason Francois (USA)
Fourth Official: Jennifer Bennett (USA)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Abby Wambach