SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Saturday, June 14, 2003) - The U.S. Women's National Team got two goals from Chevrolet Woman of the Match Abby Wambach and a goal and two assists from midfielder Julie Foudy in a dominating 5-0 win over Ireland at the spectacular and scenic Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah.
A boisterous crowd of 19,584 enthusiastic fans came out on a beautiful summer evening to watch the U.S. women in its third-to-last match before the 2003 Women's World Cup. The crowd was the largest to see the WNT play in the U.S. this year.
"Tonight seemed like a World Cup crowd, because there was so much energy out there," said Foudy. "It really helped the team get motivated, and it sparked us in the first half."The USA got on the board just 74 seconds into the game, but at great cost, as 18-year-old forward Heather O'Reilly was injured while scoring on a header. It was O'Reilly's first start for the full national team after coming on as a reserve in 17 previous matches. The goal and injury occurred after Foudy chipped a cross from the right side into the penalty area and O'Reilly ran onto the bouncing ball, heading it past onrushing Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne, who crashed into the U.S. forward's legs as the ball bounced into the net. O'Reilly was replaced by Tiffeny Milbrett and taken to the hospital, where X-Rays confirmed a broken left fibula. The high school senior, who is set to graduate next week, will be out a minimum of six weeks.
"This creates an opportunity to have others step in," said Heinrichs of the injury to O'Reilly, who scored her third international goal. "Part of my job is to plan for injuries. But that said, it doesn't look like she's out for the World Cup."
The USA scored again in the 12th minute as Kristine Lilly fired a shot from deep in the left side of the penalty area that was knocked down by Byrne. Cindy Parlow kept the ball alive by crashing into an Irish defender that was trying to clear the ball, and it squirted to Foudy, who quickly fired a left-footed shot inside the near post from five yards out.
The third goal came from a great over-lapping run by left back Christie Pearce, who drove into the penalty area before cutting a pass back to Wambach, who cracked her first-time shot into the right corner from 10 yards out in the 21st minute.
Twenty minutes later, Wambach added the fourth goal - the seventh of her international career - as she powerfully headed a Foudy cross from the right flank into the right corner of the net. The match marked the first start of the year for Wambach, who earned her 11th cap, and just the second time she has played the full 90 minutes for the USA.
The U.S. opened the second half with wholesale substitutions, using five of their remaining six subs, and it was two subs that combined for the final goal.
"The best asset of our team is versatility and the ability to be flexible and adjust to the situation," said Heinrichs, who won her 50th career game as head coach of the United States.The final score was created by midfielder Tiffany Roberts in the 79th minute when she dribbled to the end line on the right side and cut a short pass back to Mia Hamm, who delighted the crowd by tucking her 140th career international goal into the left corner from eight yards out. Hamm had entered the game in the 60th minute to a thunderous ovation.
Byrne, the starting goalkeeper for the Arsenal Ladies in England, played a brave match in the nets for Ireland, making 12 saves and catching a handful of difficult crosses as the USA fired 24 shots.
Ireland failed to earn a corner kick and did not take a shot as Briana Scurry and LaKeysia Beene combined for the shutout.
The U.S. women will face Brazil in their next match on July 13 at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, La., and then play two matches in early September before beginning Women's World Cup play later that month.
"This year we only have three and a half weeks between the end of the WUSA season and the start of the World Cup," added Foudy. "When we're only playing an average of one game a month, a game like this is a great chance for us to come together and gel."
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Participants: United States Women's National Team vs. Ireland
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium - Salt Lake City, Utah
Date: June 14, 2003; Kickoff - 7 p.m. MT
Weather: Hot, crystal clear - 85 degrees
1 2 F
USA 4 1 5
IRE 0 0 0
USA - Heather O'Reilly (Julie Foudy) 2nd minute.
USA - Julie Foudy (Unassisted) 12.
USA - Abby Wambach (Christie Pearce) 21.
USA - Abby Wambach (Julie Foudy) 42.
USA - Mia Hamm (Tiffany Roberts) 79.
USA: 1-Briana Scurry (24-LaKeysia Beene, 46); 21-Thori Bryan, 4-Cat Reddick, 15-Kate Sobrero, 3-Christie Pearce (Danielle Slaton, 46); 2-Lorrie Fair, 11-Julie Foudy - C (5-Tiffany Roberts, 46), 13-Kristine Lilly (19-Angela Hucles, 46), 12-Cindy Parlow (10-Aly Wagner, 46), 22-Abby Wambach, 7-Heather O'Reilly (16-Tiffeny Milbrett, 4; 9-Mia Hamm, 60).
Subs not used: 6-Brandi Chastain, 14-Joy Fawcett.
IRE: 1-Emma Byrne; 2-Ronnie Gibbons, 3-Sharon Boyle, 4-Denise Thomas, 5-Yvonne Tracy (15-Delores Deasley, 58); 6-Sonya Hughes, 7-Ciera Grant, 10-Clarie Scanlan (14-Grainne Kierans, 90), 12-Elaine O'Connor; 11-Olivia O'Toole-C (9-Caroline Thorpe, 62), 13-Stefanie Curtis (8-Laura Hislop, 77).
Subs not used: 16-Jennifer Kett, 17-Noelle Meeke, 18-Becky Wachsberger.
Corner Kicks: 9/0
USA - Cindy Parlow (caution) 27th minute.
Referee: Sandra Hunt (USA)
Referee Asst.: Feliciano Palomino (USA)
Referee Asst.: Randall Ploeger (USA)
4th Official: Gunther Haidenthaller (USA)
Chevrolet Woman of the Match: Abby Wambach