COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (July 13, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team defeated Brazil, 1-0, on a 71st minute goal from 21-year-old forward Amy Rodriguez in front of an appreciative crowd of 15,071 on a sweltering day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
With on-field temperatures hitting 100 degrees, the U.S. team put together an excellent overall performance against a talented Brazilian side, out-shooting the South Americans 19-10 while putting 11 shots on goal to Brazil’s four.
“I said at halftime to take the chance and keep possession,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “You feel like you are under pressure, but (the U.S.) is such a good team that we can keep possession under pressure and let them run instead. I think we did that in the second half. The fact that we were more patient, kept possession in the midfield and in the back, and at the same time we had A-Rod up top. That was the difference in the second half.”
Rodriguez came on at halftime replacing Natasha Kai and immediately gave the USA an offensive spark, the high point being her fifth international goal 26 minutes into the second half.
The scoring sequence came about after the U.S. team dug a ball out of a scramble on the left wing. Substitute Tobin Heath played a short pass to Abby Wambach on the wing, and Abby spun a cross through the penalty area on the ground. The ball skipped through the legs of a Brazilian defender and took a slight deflection right into the path of Rodriguez, who crushed a rising shot into the roof of the net at the near post from 10 yards out. Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara got a hand on it but couldn’t turn the blast over the goal frame.
It was the second time this year that Rodriguez has scored the winning goal against Brazil. Her 41st minute strike on June 17 in Suwon, South Korea at the Peace Queen Cup gave the USA that 1-0 win over Brazil.
Both teams played much better this afternoon than they did during the encounter in South Korea, but in the first half, both countries struggled to produce quality scoring chances.
The USA managed to create two dangerous opportunities and Kai was involved in both of them. In the 17th minute, Kai got into the penalty area on the right side but didn’t get enough on her shot, and it was saved by Brazilian goalkeeper Andrea with a drive to her right.
In the 35th minute, Carli Lloyd fired a shot from distance that bounced off Andrea’s chest. Kai was able to get to the rebound first and took a touch by the Brazilian goalkeeper to the end line, but with Wambach open in the middle, her cross was too soft and it was cleared out for a corner kick by a retreating defender.
Brazil’s best chance of the first half came through Pretinha in stoppage time but she had two defenders on her hips and could only toe-poke the ball a few yards outside the left post.
Despite the oppressive heat and high altitude, the U.S. was able to play some quality, rhythmical soccer in the second half, and the defense was rock solid while keeping the crafty Brazilians in front even as they probed for an equalizer in the last 15 minutes. Most of Brazil’s shots came from distance and didn’t trouble the U.S. ‘keepers.
Just before the goal, a U.S. free kick was sent deep to the left post but kept in bounds and knocked back across the goal mouth by Wambach. The ball was falling onto Rodriguez’ left boot before a Brazilian defender headed it away.
In the 77the minute, Lloyd popped free in the left side of the box but her shot rattled the top of the near post from a tight angle.
Under the blazing sun, both teams used all of their allowed seven substitutions. Sundhage emptied her bench in the second half, making four changes at halftime and three more during the second half. Both teams changed goalkeepers at half with the USA’s Nicole Barnhart replacing Hope Solo for the final 45 minutes.
The match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park marked the second-ever match for the USA in Colorado. The American women defeated Brazil at the old Mile High Stadium in the fall of 1999.
The USA will travel to San Diego to face Brazil on Wednesday, July 16, in the second match of this two-leg series that will serve as the send-off match to the 2008 Olympics. The match at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego will kickoff at 7 p.m. PT and be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel.
Wambach, who created the goal but did not come up with one of her own, heads to San Diego with 99 career goals in 126 appearances. She could hit the magical 100-goal mark and join just eight other women in international soccer history to score 100 or more goals in front of what will be a sell-out crowd in San Diego. Only a few seats remain for the match at Torero Stadium, and once they are sold out, U.S. Soccer will begin selling some standing room only tickets. For tickets, log onto ussoccer.com.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colorado
Date: July 13, 2008; Kickoff – 2 p.m. MT
Weather: Clear skies, hot – 90 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
BRA 0 0 0
USA – Amy Rodriguez (Abby Wambach) 71st minute.
USA: 1-Hope Solo (18-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 17-Lori Chalupny, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt, 15-Kate Markgraf (4-Rachel Buehler, 83), 2-Heather Mitts (14-Stephanie Cox, 46); 7-Shannon Boxx (10-Aly Wagner, 83), 9-Heather O’Reilly (13-Tobin Heath, 62), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (16-Angela Hucles, 46), 11-Carli Lloyd; 6-Natasha Kai (8-Amy Rodriguez, 46) 12-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: None.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
BRA: 12-Andrea (1-Barbara, 46); 2-Jatoba (15-Maurine, 75), 4-Tania, 10-Erika (5-Andreia Rosa, 12); 7-Formiga, 9-Maicon, 14-Ester, 17-Francielle (6-Rosana, 42, 16-Daiane, 87), 19-Renta Costa; 11-Pretinha (20-Raquel, 57), 18-Fabiana (3-Pitty, 59).
Subs not used: 8-Juliana, 13-Dani.
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos
USA / BRA
Shots: 19 / 10
Shots on Goal: 11 / 4
Saves: 3 / 9
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 1 / 3
BRA – Rosana (caution) 64th minute.
BRA – Raquel (caution) 69.
Referee: Dallas Malhiwsky (USA)
Asst. Referee: Scott McCaslin (USA)
Asst. Referee: Eric Bryan (USA)
Fourth Official: Robert Keiffer (USA)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Amy Rodriguez