EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (June 23, 2007) – The U.S. Women’s National Team got a goal just 58 seconds into the game from team captain Kristine Lilly and rolled to a 2-0 win over Brazil in the first meeting between the teams since the 2004 Olympic gold medal game. A crowd of almost 17,000 watched the match on a beautiful New Jersey afternoon as the USA improved its record to 9-0-2 in 2007 with four games left in the team’s Send-Off Series before leaving for China and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Abby Wambach added her 74th career goal in the 17th minute in a physical match that featured 31 fouls and seven yellow cards, five for Brazil.
The win also stretched the team’s unbeaten streak in regulation time to 43 games, 42 of those under head coach Greg Ryan. The fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played from Sept. 10-30 in five Chinese cities.
“It was great to play Brazil because they are so different than any kind of team,” said Lilly. “They are technically so good, they’re quick, but they also a bit rough. They get in there and are always right around you. As a team, we did well to stay composed and try to play. I think it’s good for these young players to go up against Brazil. They had to weather the storm. I also think it was good for us to see it now. I think some of the young players were surprised, but they held their own.”
The USA came out in a 3-4-3 formation with Sierra Mist Woman of the Match Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone marking Brazil’s slithery forwards Cristiane and Katia, who were for the most part rendered ineffective throughout the match.
The USA scored one of the quickest goals in team history after Lilly was taken down right at the left elbow of the penalty area just seconds into the game. She took the kick herself and powered a spectacular bending left-footed shot that sailed over Brazilian goalkeeper Andrea and stuck into the netting at the upper left corner. It was Lilly’s 123 career goal and sixth of 2007.
Wambach made it 2-0 in the 17th minute after Brazil’s incessant fouling earned the USA another free kick just a step behind the midfield stripe. Center back Cat Whitehill drove a perfect long ball that dropped over the Brazilian back line and to the head of Wambach, who had timed her run perfectly. With Andrea glued to her goal line, Wambach struck a glancing header from seven yards out that bounced into the left side of the net. For Wambach, who has scored in four straight matches, it was her 74th career goal in just 91 games and team-leading eighth of 2007.
“We’ve been working a ton on set pieces because we know most of the World Cups and Olympics have come down to set pieces in the final,” said Ryan, whose team has scored its last four goals from set plays. “I didn’t think we’d get this many. We work on them constantly and probably spend four or five days a week doing some set piece work.”
The USA could have easily had two goals from the run of play in the first half as midfielder Carli Lloyd got loose on a breakaway in just the fifth minute after Wambach played her behind the defense off a counter attack, but her first touch was too hard and Andrea came out to sweep the ball away. Midfielder Shannon Boxx also saw her great strike from the left side of the box tipped outside the right post on a stretching save from Andrea.
Brazil had some decent possession in midfield, but the Americans won almost all of the one-v-one battles in their own defensive third, holding Brazil to just four shots on goal.
U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry, starting her second consecutive match for the first time since the end of 2004, made four saves to pick up her 76th career shutout. Scurry was not troubled by several Brazilian shots from outside the box, but did come off her line well on several occasions to snuff out a few dangerous chances.
U.S. forward Heather O’Reilly suffered a mild shoulder injury early in the match and had to leave in the 24th minute, replaced by Lindsay Tarpley. Ryan made four more substitutions in the match, sending on Leslie Osborne for Boxx at halftime, inserting Tina Ellertson for Tarpley in the 76th minute and also giving Angela Hucles and Natasha Kai the last few minutes of the match.
The U.S. team will now go on a break before re-grouping on July 6 in Hartford, Conn., in preparation for a match against long-time rival Norway at Rentschler Field on July 14 as Lilly makes a triumphant return to her home state. After facing Norway, the USA will travel to Northern California to face Japan at Spartan Stadium in San Jose on July 28, before taking on New Zealand in Chicago on Aug. 12 at Soldier Field. The U.S. team will finish up against Finland in Los Angeles on Aug. 25 at The Home Depot Center in the final match before the team heads to China. For complete details and ticket information for the entire Send-Off Series, visit to ussoccer.com.
- U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT -
Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J.
Date: June 23, 2007; Kickoff – 5 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, breezy – 74 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
BRA 0 0 0
USA – Kristine Lilly (unassisted) 1st minute.
USA – Abby Wambach (Cat Whitehill) 17.
USA: 1-Briana Scurry; 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill, 15-Kate Markgraf; 14-Stephanie Lopez, 7-Shannon Boxx (12-Leslie Osborne, 46), 17-Lori Chalupny, 11-Carli Lloyd (16-Angela Hucles, 86); 9-Heather O’Reilly (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 24; 8-Tina Ellertson, 76), 20-Abby Wambach, 13-Kristine Lilly – Capt. (6-Natasha Kai, 85)
Subs not used: 21-Nicole Barnhart, 24-India Trotter.
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
BRA: 1-Andrea; 2-Jatobá, 3-Aline – Capt. (20-Bagè, 72), 4-Tania, 19-Michele (18-Ester, 46); 6-Maicon, 7-Daniela Alves, 8-Renata Costa, 10-Formiga, 9-Katia (13-Grazielle, 59; 15-Maurine, 76), 11-Cristiane.
Subs not used: 5-Pitty, 12-Barbara, 16-Renata Diniz.
Head Coach: Jorge Luiz Barcellos
Statistical Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 14 / 9
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 20
Offside: 2 / 0
BRA – Katia (caution) 17th minute.
BRA – Daniela Alves (caution) 20.
USA – Boxx (caution) 25.
BRA – Formiga (Caution) 30
BRA – Aline (caution) 39.
BRA – Jatoba (caution) 39.
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution) 42.
Referee: Rachel Woo (USA)
AR1: Sharon Wheeler (USA)
AR2: Kim Oberle (USA)
4th Official: Sandra Serafini (USA)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Kate Markgraf