- USA Wins Battle of FIFA’s Top Two Ranked Women’s National Teams
- U.S. Back Line and Hope Solo Are Stellar as Americans Contain Talented German Attack
AUGSBURG, Germany (Oct. 29, 2009) – Abby Wambach scored her 101st career goal on a header in the 34th minute and a world class performance by the U.S. defense made sure it held up for a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Germany in front of a sold-out crowd at Impuls Arena.
Impuls Arena, a new venue which will host matches of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, was sold out last week and 28,377 singing and chanting German fans filled the stadium to cheer for their defending European and Women’s World Cup champions against the defending Olympic champions. It was the first international match at the stadium and also set a record for the largest crowd to see a match at the venue in its young history. The crowd was also the largest to see a stand-alone U.S. WNT friendly match outside of the USA, and the third-largest home or away crowd for a stand-alone friendly.
The Germans were by far the better attacking team on the night, out-shooting the USA 17-7, but some suspect finishing and tremendous individual and team defending from the Americans were the themes of the night. Young center backs Amy LePeilbet and Rachel Buehler were phenomenal and outside backs Heather Mitts and Lori Chalupny put in miles of running while chasing down many a German attack on the flanks. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was a calming presence in the back for the USA, handling her duties expertly, especially on high balls.
The Germans came out attacking with impressive speed and numbers and never really slowed down over the 90 minutes. The hosts found their way around the outside of the U.S. defense on numerous occasions, but either the retreating U.S. backs were there to clear or Solo managed a great catch or a timely punch. It was Solo’s fourth straight shut-out against Germany in the four games she has played against them.
Germany had the first chance of the game when Mitts scythed down German star Birgit Prinz about 22 yards straight in front of the goal. Linda Bresonik spun a hard free kick over the wall, but Solo flew to her right to punch the ball away.
The Germans tormented the USA down the left flank early on, led by Fatmire Bajramaj, who got around the U.S. defense three times in the first half and dribbled straight at the near post. Each time, she laid a short passes into the six yard box, but on all three occasions, the U.S. defenders somehow managed to get to the ball before a German.
The crosses were flying into the U.S. penalty area from both sides of the field for much of the match, but a supremely confident Solo and her defenders managed to repel almost every one. The services the Germans did get a head or a foot on invariably went high or wide.
The U.S. goal came clearly against the run of play and it stunned the sell-out crowd. The stage for a classy bit of finishing from Wambach was set after midfielder Yael Averbuch, who was making her first start in just her third cap, looped a cross in from the left wing. German defender Saskia Bartusiak got a foot on it, but cleared poorly and the ball spun up in the air. Wambach got good position under the falling ball and beat charging German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer to nod a header into the net from near the penalty spot.
It was Wambach’s 101st career international goal, moving her past Tiffeny Milbrett into fourth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list behind Mia Hamm (158) who attended the match, Kristine Lilly (129) and Michelle Akers (105).
Right after the goal, a German attack resulted in a cataclysmic collision in the right side of the penalty area between Solo, Chalupny and Prinz, but Solo came up with the ball and Prinz was called for the foul. The play was representative of the way the U.S. players put their bodies on the line all night to keep Germany off the scoreboard.
Averbuch, normally a central midfielder, put in 60 solid minutes on the flank after 21-year-old Tobin Heath fell ill yesterday with flu-like symptoms and could not play. Heath would likely have started at left outside midfield, a spot occupied this year mostly by Megan Rapinoe, who missed this trip due to minor knee surgery. Defender Brittany Bock also could not play after suffering a foot injury earlier in the week during training.
U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage gave a first-ever cap to forward Ella Masar, sending her on in the 73rd minute for Amy Rodriguez. Masar became the eighth player to earn a first cap under Sundhage.
The U.S. team struggled to keep possession in the midfield and in Germany’s defensive third, but did enough in the second half to take a little bit of steam out of the German attack even though they continued to throw numbers forward with some exquisite passing in search of a tying goal.
The U.S. had two excellent chances in the second half, the first coming in the 55th minute when Rodriguez burst through the German defense into the right side of the penalty area, but Angerer was out quickly to sweep the ball away before the U.S. forward could get a good strike on it.
In the 77th minute, the U.S. fell victim to a missed call by referee Gyoengyi Gaal as Wambach raced in on a breakaway and was clearly tripped from behind. The usual red card offense inside the penalty box didn’t result in a penalty kick, or even a foul.
Mitts put her body on the line near the end of regulation to acrobatically win a header and was blasted by a German defender, sending her flipping in the air. Mitts popped up in seconds while the German seemed to get the worst of the confrontation. In stoppage time, Germany earned the last of its six corner kicks, but a header floated harmlessly over the end line and the final whistle blew.
The match, which was the first meeting with Germany since 2007 and pitted the first (USA) and second (Germany) ranked teams in the last FIFA Women’s World Rankings marked the first international for the American women since defeating Canada, 1-0, on July 22 in Charleston, S.C. The U.S. players will have a month off before reconvening at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. in December for a training camp.
Germany will host the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup from June 26-July 17, 2011, in nine cities: Augsburg, Berlin, Bochum, Dresden, Frankfurt, Leverkusen, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim and Wolfsburg.
- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Germany
Date: Oct. 29, 2009
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Impuls Arena; Augsburg, Germany
Kickoff: 6 p.m. Local / 1 p.m. ET
Attendance: 28,377 (Sell Out)
Weather: 48 degrees; cold, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
GER 0 0 0
USA – Abby Wambach 34th minute
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 26-Rachel Buehler, 17-Lori Chalupny (capt.); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Yael Averbuch (15-Kacey White, 60); 8-Amy Rodriguez (16-Ella Masar, 73), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 3-Brittany Bock, 4-Cat Whitehill, 5-Lori Lindsey, 13-Tobin Heath, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
GER: 1-Nadine Angerer; 3-Saskia Bartusiak, 4-Babett Peter, 5-Annike Krahn, 6-Simone Laudehr, 10-Linda Bresonik, 14-Kim Kulig, 18-Kerstin Garefrekes (22-Bianca Schmidt, 83), 8-Inka Grings (11-Anja Mittag, 67), 9-Birgit Prinz (16-Martina Müller, 89), 19-Fatmire Bajramaj (13-Célia Okoyino da Mbabi, 67)
Subs not used: 12-Ursula Holl, 15-Sonja Fuss, 20-Jennifer Zietz
Head Coach: Silvia Neid
Statistical Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 7 / 17
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 10 / 6
Offside: 0 / 1
Referee: Gyoengyi Gaal (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Inka Muller (GER)
Assistant Referee 2:Marija Kurtes (GER)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Rachel Buehler