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U.S. Women’s National Team Earns Fourth Olympic Gold Medal with 2-1 Victory Against Japan in Front of 80,203 at Wembley Stadium

  • Carli Lloyd Scores Both Goals for USA, Including Second Straight Olympic Gold Medal Game-Winner; Earns Bud Light Woman of the Match Honors
  • U.S. Soccer Takes Gold Medal Lead for Combined Women’s and Men’s Olympic Competition
  • U.S. WNT Kicks Off Victory Tour with Sept. 1 Match Against Costa Rica in Rochester, N.Y., and Sept. 16 Game Against Australia at The Home Depot Center; Both Games will be Televised on NBC

LONDON, England (Aug. 9, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Team captured the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics with a 2-1 victory against Japan in front of a crowd of 80,203 at the famed Wembley Stadium.

U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd, the gold medal hero of the 2008 Olympics, led the way once again with both goals for the United States as they upended 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Japan and captured their third-consecutive Olympic championship.

The USA won its fourth gold medal in the five Olympic competitions featuring women’s soccer. The U.S. has also taken the overall soccer gold medal lead for combined women’s and men’s Olympic Games. Both the men’s soccer teams from Great Britain and Hungary have earned three gold medals.

The attendance at Wembley was an Olympic record crowd for women’s soccer and the largest crowd the U.S. WNT has played in front of outside of the United States.

The U.S. WNT will savor the moment of Olympic gold and participate in the Closing Ceremonies in London before returning to the home front for matches starting in September. The team kicks off their victory tour when they host Costa Rica on Sept. 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., the hometown of U.S. forward Abby Wambach. The U.S. will then face Australia on Sept. 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (12:30 p.m. PT). Both matches will be broadcast live on NBC.

“This was a year's worth of work and the sacrifices all of us have had to make for our friends and families, for the players that didn't make the roster, this goes out to all of our fans that cheered us on last summer and were equally as heartbroken as we were,” said U.S. forward Abby Wambach. “This year has been trials and tribulations, we lost to Japan a few times, and this win feels like everything has come full circle. I'm so proud of this team for never giving up. It was a team effort for this entire tournament and it shows what it takes to win championships -- it's teamwork and loyalty and trusting in each other.” [More Quotes]

On Thursday, the USA got off to a flying start in the gold medal match when Lloyd gave her side an early lead in the eighth minute. Shannon Boxx worked the ball from right to left to Kelley O’Hara and then Tobin Heath. Heath slipped a low cross into the box for Alex Morgan, whose first touch took her to the end line left of the goal. She deftly crossed the ball across the front of the goalmouth with her next touch towards Wambach who had crashed towards the net. While it appeared Wambach was poised to get a goal in her sixth straight game London, she remained tightly marked and Lloyd darted into the scene from her midfield run and headed the ball into the right side of the net. Morgan’s assist was her team-leading fifth of the Olympics.

Japan found a long spell of possession after the USA goal and ultimately an array of scoring chances. In the 17th minute, Homare Sawa slipped Nahomi Kawasumi through into the left side of the penalty area and the defender took a shot toward the far right post that got past U.S goalkeeper Hope Solo, but team captain Christie Rampone hustled to get a body on the ball and prevent a goal. The rebound deflected off Solo’s back and bounced in the six-yard box where Yuki Ogimi came rushing in to try and finish the opportunity, but Solo did well to get back into position and made a point-blank save.

The American ‘keeper came up with a huge save on Ogimi again one minute later, when the Japanese forward snapped a high-header on goal. Solo leapt to get her left glove on the shot and push the ball off the crossbar. U.S. defender Rachel Buehler’s headed clearance fell back to Ogimi for another sniff, but her strike from close range went wide right and high.

The U.S. avoided a potential game-changing moment in the 26th minute when Miyama’s free kick from just outside the box struck the left arm of U.S. midfielder Tobin Heath, who was positioned near the wall inside the penalty area. Japan’s appeals for a penalty were denied as referee Bibiana Steinhaus signaled for play to continue.

Maintaining a one-goal lead to start the second half, the USA gave itself a bit more breathing room in the 54th minute with Lloyd’s second goal of the game. Rapinoe dished to Lloyd just inside the Japanese half and she did the rest, dribbling for more than 25 yards through the center of the park and slicing towards goal before unleashing a wicked right-footed blast from 20 yards out that streamed into the left side netting, giving Japan’s diving goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto no chance. The strike would prove to be the game-winner, her second straight in Olympic gold medal matches as she scored the deciding goal in the USA’s 1-0 overtime victory against Brazil in Beijing in 2008.

Japan’s continual possession and pressure eventually paid off with Ogimi’s rebound goal in the 63rd minute. Japan strung together a bevy of passes before a slicing ball was put into the right side of the penalty area for the streaking Shinobu Ohnu. She took a quick touch before cutting the ball back to Sawa who was wide open at the penalty spot. Sawa hit a first-time shot that got past Solo, and once again Rampone blocked the goal-bound shot off the line. The ball fell back to Sawa, and this time she touched it to her left for Ogimi and the forward buried the easy finish from two yards out.

Japan’s offense had another similar scramble in the 74th minute after Lloyd was called for a handball outside of the box on the right side. Miyama took the free kick and the delivery was deflected to Azusa Iwashimizu who hit a volley on target that seemed destined for goal, but U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet stood resolute and blocked the shot while on her knees. The ball remained loose, but Japan’s Saki Kumagai was eventually called for a foul and the USA maintained their slim advantage.

Lloyd searched for a hat trick and she came close with a screaming shot in the 82nd minute that rose just inches over the crossbar.

In the final 10 minutes, Japan nearly equalized when Mana Iwabuchi stole the ball from Rampone near the top of the box and closed in one-on-one with Solo. Coming in from the left side, Iwabuchi tried to curl a shot towards the back post but Solo was up to the challenge and made a monster diving save to keep the U.S. in the lead.

Solo made six saves on the night, and after two minutes of added time the U.S. were once again crowned Olympic champions.

Additional Notes:

  • Midfielder Shannon Boxx returned to the starting lineup for the first time since injuring a hamstring during the USA’s Olympic-opening 4-2 win against France on July 25. She replaced Lauren Cheney, who injured her ankle during the USA’s semifinal victory against Canada on Aug. 6.
  • Cheney entered as a 56th-minute sub for Megan Rapinoe.
  • Defender and team captain Christie Rampone played in her 22nd career Olympic match.
  • Though she did not find the back of the net Thursday, Abby Wambach’s five goals in the first five games of the Olympics led the USA. She has nine career Olympic goals.
  • The U.S. currently is on an 11-game winning streak and 13 games unbeaten overall. The last time the U.S. settled for less than three points was April 1 against Japan, a 1-1 draw in the Kirin Challenge Cup.
  • The USA improves to 24-1-5 all-time against Japan.
  • Canada defeated France 1-0 in Thursday’s bronze medal game after Diana Matheson’s 92nd minute tally. Canada, which was defeated in the semifinal round by the USA, earned its first medal in women’s soccer.


- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Date: Aug. 9, 2012
Competition: 2012 Olympic Games; Final
Venue: Wembley Stadium; London, England
Kickoff: 7:45 p.m. local (2:45 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 80,203
Weather: 75 degrees, warm

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 1 2
JPN                         0 1 1

USA – Carli Lloyd (Alex Morgan)      8th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (Megan Rapinoe)  54
JPN – Yuki Ogimi (Homare Sawa)    63

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 16-Rachel Buehler (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 80), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 15-Megan Rapinoe (12-Lauren Cheney, 57), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 17-Tobin Heath; 13-Alex Morgan, 14-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 11-Sydney Leroux, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

JPN: 1-Miho Fukimoto; 2-Yukari Kinga, 3-Azusa Iwashimizu, 4-Saki Kumagai, 5-Aya Sameshima (16-Mana Iwabuchi, 77); 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (14-Asuna Tanaka, 59), Aya Miyama (capt.), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi, 10-Homare Sawa; 11-Shinobu Ohno (13-Karina Maruyama, 86), 17-Yuki Ogimi

Subs not used: 18-Ayumi Kaihori, 12-Kyoko Yano, 7-Kozue Ando, 15-Megumi Takase
Head coach: Norio Sasaki

Statistical Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 15 / 12
Shots on Goal: 8 / 7
Saves: 6 / 6
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 16 / 8
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Abby Wambach (caution) 90th minute

Officials:
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Marina Wozniak (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Katrin Rafalski (GER)
Fourth Official: Jesica Di Iorio (ARG)

Bud Light Woman of the Match:
Carli Lloyd


2012 U.S. Women's National Team Olympic Statistics

Name Pos. GP GS Min G A Pts. Y R
Barnhart, Nicole GK 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Boxx, Shannon M 2 2 106 0 0 0 0
Buehler, Rachel D 6 6 532 0 0 0 0
Cheney, Lauren F 6 5 486 0 0 0 1
Heath, Tobin D 6 4 459 0 3 3 0
LePeilbet, Amy D 5 5 435 0 0 0 0
Leroux, Sydney F 4 0 77 1 0 2 0
Lloyd, Carli M 6 5 554 4 0 8 1
Mitts, Heather D 1 1 90 0 0 0 0
Morgan, Alex F 6 6 543 3 4 10 0
O'Hara, Kelley M 6 6 570 0 1 1 0
O'Reilly, Heather M 4 2 196 0 1 1 0
Rampone, Christie D 6 6 570 0 0 0 0
Rapinoe, Megan M 6 6 453 3 4 10 0
Rodriguez, Amy F 4 0 34 0 0 0 0
Sauerbrunn, Becky D 3 0 38 0 0 0 0
Solo, Hope GK 6 6 570 0 1 1 0
Wambach, Abby F 6 6 557 5 0 10 2  
TOTAL 6 6 570 16 14 46 4 0
Opponents 6 6 570 6 4 16 5 1
GOALKEEPING STATISTICS
GP GS Min W L T GF GA SO GAA
Solo, Hope   6 6 570 6 0 0 16 6 3 0.95
Opponents 6 6 570 0 6 0 6 16 0 2.53

U.S. Women's National Team vs. Japan Quote Sheet

U.S. WNT vs. Japan
2012 Olympic Games - Final
Wembley Stadium; London, England
Aug. 9, 2012


U.S. Women's National Team head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On her overall feelings:
“Unbelievable. There are no words. I can’t even try to do it in Swedish. This is just unbelievable. Winning a gold (medal) at Wembley is phenomenal. The thing with Carli Lloyd is we didn’t have her in the starting lineup before the Olympics. She has proven that I was wrong. Today, I think she was one of the best players.” 

On Hope Solo's performance in goal:

“She played very well and helped us big time when we struggled a little bit in defending. I think Japan played very well, but give credit to our defending and give credit for the way we counterattacked.”

On Carli Lloyd stepping up in big games:
“I'm so proud of her because she played so many games and all of a sudden I thought she wasn't good enough. Then she just comes back and helps the team tremendously and she proved that I was wrong. I love that.”

U.S. forward ALEX MORGAN
On the match:
“It was amazing. Our team just battled through to the end and we finished it off strong. We're just so happy right now, we just want to celebrate and enjoy the rest of the time we have together.”

On the overall tournament experience:
“It was such a journey. It was so emotional. It was up-and-down and we all did it together. We were such a unit and we leaned on each other when we needed to. We ended up on top and I'm so happy. We're the best in the world right now.”

On Abby Wambach's performance through the tournament:
“Abby has just been so great for this team. In this tournament she has contributed in every game. She had a goal in almost every game. She's just been huge for me and this team. I'm really happy she's with us on this medal stand with a gold medal.”

U.S. midfielder CARLI LLOYD
On her performances in big Olympic matches:
“Coming in, I was coming off the bench and I didn't know what to expect. I prepared harder than anyone. I don't think there is anyone who trains harder than I do. I was ready for the moment and I took it game-by-game. I focused and I kept on it every single day. Hard work pays off.”

On restoring head coach Pia Sundhage's confidence in her play:
“When someone tells me I can't do something, I'm going to prove them wrong. That's what a champion is all about and that's what I am - a champion. I fought harder, dug deeper and I wanted to make all those doubters out there wrong and that's what I did.”

On how the loss against Japan has driven the U.S. team:
“If you look at the last World Cup final, it was a tough game into overtime and a penalty shootout. We played Japan a lot this year so we knew what to expect. We just gained a bit of confidence knowing that we can beat them. Hope (Solo) had some brilliant saves, everyone fought hard and I was lucky enough to get two goals. Everything came together and fell into place. We weren’t going to No one can stop this team.”

On the goals she scored:
“I was happy to have my attacking role back today since Boxy was in. I knew that I just had to get in the box. I saw Alex, and I just ran for the ball. I passed Abby – I don’t even know how close she was to me – but I was just going for it. The second one I was doing what I do best is taking the space and dribbling at players. I kept dribbling and didn’t think about and just unleashed the shot and saw it go in.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH
On the feeling of winning a gold medal:
“This was a year's worth of work and the sacrifices all of us have had to make for our friends and families, for the players that didn't make the roster, this goes out to all of our fans that cheered us on last summer and were equally as heartbroken as we were. This year has been trials and tribulations, we lost to Japan a few times, and this win feels like everything has come full circle. I'm so proud of this team for never giving up. It was a team effort for this entire tournament and it shows what it takes to win championships -- it's teamwork and loyalty and trusting in each other.”

On what the win does to the memories of losing in the 2011 World Cup:
“It makes everything sweeter. I can rest assured that the rest of my life won't be spent in nightmare status. I'm not going to be upset for the rest of my life. We put so much of ourselves in this. We sacrificed our families and friends. This means everything to us. It seems surreal in the moment. We really want to say thank you to all of our fans for cheering us on and being a part of this.”

On how the team responded after Japan’s goal:
“It all happened so fast. We conceded the goal, and of course it creeps in your brain ‘Oh my god, is this really going to happen? Are they going to come back and tie this up?’ We fought. We dug deep.  We were screaming at each other that we cannot let them back in this game. Hope and Carli had fantastic games today. Obviously Carli with two goals, but you can’t go without saying that Hope saved the day literally five times. I’m so proud of us; the resilience of this team for never giving up and always believing in ourselves even when the score line said otherwise. This is what the Olympics is all about. It was two great teams that faced off against each other today that have mutual love and respect for each other, and sometimes the ball bounces your way and today that was the case for us.”

On the team’s gritty performance:
“We knew that it was going to be that way, especially after having 120 minutes in our legs after the last game. We knew in the last 15 or 20 minutes they were going to do whatever they can to get the equalizing goal. At that point I just kept pounding my chest going “Guys, this is only about heart. We’re all tired. All 22 players on the field are tired. It’s about who wants it more. Right here. Right now.” Today we proved that we did.”

On what this win means for her after last year’s disappointment in the World Cup:
“We all know I broke my leg in 2008 and this team went on to win gold. That was obviously very hard for me. It’s been eight years since I’ve been a champion of the world. Yes my team won, but I wasn’t a part of it so that’s a totally different feel. We can so close to winning a World Cup, which I’ve not yet done. That in and of itself was devastating, but I knew that if we put our energy and our belief in each into this year we could pull of something special. And we did.”

U.S. midfielder MEGAN RAPINOE
On the team's effort:
“I think it just took everyone. Carli (Lloyd) not even starting and comes back with a killer performance, Hope (Solo) was on fire tonight and I think (Shannon) Boxx, she was probably our player of the game. It was such a team effort.”

On erasing the feeling of the loss in the 2011 World Cup:
“It still hurts a little bit, but there's no pain when you have a gold medal around your neck. This is unbelievable. This reverses the nightmare and now this is just such a beautiful dream.”

On the medal ceremony:
“It was crazy. We came back out and everybody was still here, I don't think a soul had left the building. It was electric in here all night really.”

On her emotions after the game:
“I was just super happy, and then I looked up and saw my family and I just lost it. I’m sure I’ll lose it again when I see them.”

U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO
On the match:
“I have to be patient as a goalkeeper and I have to let the game come to me. I haven't been tested too much in this tournament, there were some awkward goals against Canada in the semifinal. There was going to be one game in the tournament where I had to show up and play and I hadn't had it in five games straight. You can't win a major tournament without good goalkeeping and today you saw good goalkeeping from not just myself but from the Japanese goalkeeper. I'm so proud that women's goalkeeping has come this far.”

On Carli Lloyd being well suited in big moments:
“It's not just the skill on the ball and the physical aspect of the game, but she's got what it takes. It doesn't matter what she goes through. She's mentally strong and that's what I admire most about Carli. Nobody can affect her play, not being benched, she'll come back on the field and make plays. She's just a winner. She's a veteran on this team and she'll find a way to win.”

On the tournament:
“It truly felt like it was a team effort and everybody participated. This team is special and things don't always pan out the way you predict, but we went 6-0 and that shows how special this team really is.”

U.S. Women's National Team Defeats Canada 4-3 in Drama Filled Overtime Match to Qualify for Gold Medal Game at 2012 Olympics

  • Alex Morgan Scores Game-Winner in 123rd Minute
  • Abby Wambach Equalizes at 3-3 with a Penalty Kick, Her Fifth Goal in Five Games
  • Megan Rapinoe Tallies First Two U.S. Goals, the First Directly Off a Corner Kick
  • USA Faces 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Japan in Olympic Gold Medal Game on Thursday, Aug. 9, Live on NBC Sports Network

MANCHESTER, England (Aug. 6, 2012) – Alex Morgan scored the game-winning goal in the 123rd minute of the Olympic semifinal match as the U.S. Women’s National Team overcame three deficits during regulation to defeat Canada 4-3 in overtime in one of the most exciting and dramatic matches in Olympic history.

The USA advances to its fifth straight gold medal game where it will face Japan in a rematch of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. Japan defeated France 2-1 in the other semifinal.

The gold medal match between the U.S. and Japan kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 9, at Wembley Stadium in London. The match will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe scored the first two goals for the USA and Abby Wambach scored her fifth goal in five Olympic matches to force overtime in what was the 500th international match in U.S. Women’s National Team history.

In rollicking match that saw Canada take the lead three times – all scored by star forward Christine Sinclair – the Americans battled back to tie each time and that set the stage for Morgan’s dramatic game-winning goal. The USA out-shot Canada 27-7 for the match but Sinclair showed why she is one of the best goal scorers in women’s soccer history.

Morgan had not scored since her two-goal performance in the USA’s 4-2 victory against France in the Group G opener on July 25, but she had caused all kinds of problems for every U.S. opponent with her tremendous speed, fight and strength. She was due for a goal and it came at the most dramatic of times.

The speedy U.S. forward has shown a knack for scoring huge goals at opportune moments in her young career and this goal may have been the biggest. With just 30 seconds left in the third and final minute of stoppage time, Morgan rose over defender Chelsea Stewart to meet a cross from Heather O’Reilly and loop her header over Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod to seal an historic victory. O’Reilly had entered the game in 101st minute for Lauren Cheney and picked up her first assist of the 2012 Olympics.

Despite the USA’s strong first 20 minutes and multiple set piece opportunities, Canada broke through for the game’s first tally as Canada worked the ball from the left side through Marie-Eve Nault and then Melissa Tancredi’s nice touch found Sinclair running into the middle. Sinclair quickly dribbled to her right to get around Kelley O’Hara and fired into the lower left corner for the early lead in the 22nd minute.

It took the USA until the 55th minute to tie the game and it came on the USA’s fifth corner kick of the match. Taking the corner kick from the left side, Rapinoe curled her right-footed in-swinger just inside the near post for an unassisted goal. Canada had several players in the vicinity, but the ball snuck through several defenders and the goalkeeper.

The match then saw three goals in a six-minute span starting in the 67th when Tancredi’s cross from the left wing found the head of Sinclair, who made a great run before powering her header into the lower left corner for the 2-1 lead.

Rapinoe brought the USA level again in the 70th minute on a world class strike from distance. O’Hara crossed all the way from the left side of the field over to Rapinoe just above the right side of the penalty box. She took a settling touch in front of Canada defender Nault and then unleashed a thrilling long-distance strike that deflected off the left post and ricocheted into the right netting.

Three minutes later, however, Canada scored off a set piece chance. Midfielder Kaylyn Kyle took the corner kick from the left and Sinclair completed her hat trick with another header, rising over her mark to place the ball inside the left over leaping U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet. The strike gave Sinclair 143 career goals and briefly moved her past Wambach for second on the all-time women’s goal-scoring list behind only Mia Hamm (158 career goals).

Like everything else during Monday’s game, things changed on a dime as Wambach would tie Sinclair with her 143rd career international goal by burying a penalty kick in the 80th minute.

Referee Christina Pedersen had warned McLeod for time wasting earlier in the match and finally penalized her with a whistle for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the USA an indirect free-kick a couple yards inside the penalty area. Tobin Heath tapped the free kick to the right and Carli Lloyd took a right-footed shot that hit Nault’s arm. Pederson did not hesitate to point to the spot.

Wambach calmly placed the penalty kick to the left side of the net past the diving McLeod.

The USA had a great chance to gain the lead in regulation when Morgan eluded her defender and forced McLeod to commit toward her at the near post in the 85th minute. Morgan crossed the ball toward the right side of the box where Wambach was crashing, but she pushed her sliding shot wide right of the net.

The match then went into two 15-minute overtime periods and both sides had chances. In the 100th minute, Wambach had a snap header that she directed toward the near right post but McLeod pounced on the shot.

In the 102nd minute, Canada earned a dangerous free kick just a few feet outside the right side of the penalty area, but Diana Matheson’s service went over everyone and wide left of the goal. In the 104th minute, Matheson made a strong run down the right side and saw Sinclair in the middle of the box, but Rachel Buehler broke up the attack for a corner kick.

In the second overtime, O’Reilly darted into the box and was just a shade out of reach on Morgan’s cross from the left that got past McLeod in the 117th minute. Two minutes later, Morgan set up Wambach for a looping header that hit the crossbar.

With the match looking destined for penalty kicks, Morgan had her moment of brilliance and the USA team now prepares for Japan in the gold medal game. The two sides battled in the championship of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the U.S. had two different leads but Japan eventually triumphed in the penalty kick shootout.

Additional Notes:

  • Alex Morgan scored the 30th goal of her young career, moving into a third-place tie with Brandi Chastain for 15th place in career U.S. WNT tallies.
  • Morgan has a team-high 20 goals this year, moving into a tie for fourth place on the all-time list for goals during a calendar year with Mia Hamm (1998), Kristine Lilly (1999) and Abby Wambach (2007), who all had 20 goals in their respective campaigns.
  • The USA improved to 93-2-5 all-time when Wambach scores a goal.
  • In games where Morgan and Wambach have both contributed at least one goal, the team is now 9-0-0 this year.
  • The U.S. improved to 389-57-54 all-time in its 500th international match on Monday.
  • Defender Christie Rampone played in her 21st career Olympic match.
  • The USA has won gold in three out of the four Olympic women’s soccer tournaments that have been contested previously while also taking a silver medal in 2000.
  • Becky Sauerbrunn entered the game in the 110th minute – seeing action in her second game of the tournament – and played an excellent 10 minutes to help the USA to victory.


- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: Aug. 6, 2012
Competition: 2012 Olympic Games; Semifinal
Venue: Old Trafford; Manchester, England
Kickoff: 7:45 p.m. local (2:45 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 26,640
Weather: 66 degrees, mostly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1  2 ET1 ET2  F
USA                        0  3    0     1    4
CAN                        1  2    0     0    3

CAN – Christine Sinclair (Melissa Tancredi)    22nd minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe                                 54
CAN – Christine Sinclair (Melissa Tancredi)    67
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Kelley O’Hara)           70
CAN – Christine Sinclair (Kaylyn Kyle)            73
USA – Abby Wambach (penalty kick)             80
USA – Alex Morgan (Heather O’Reilly)           120+3

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet (11-Sydney Leroux, 76), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 16-Rachel Buehler (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 110), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 15-Megan Rapinoe, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney (9-Heather O’Reilly, 101), 17-Tobin Heath; 13-Alex Morgan, 14-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 7-Shannon Boxx, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

CAN: 18-Erin McLeod; 7-Rhian Wilkinson, 4-Carmelina Moscato, 10-Lauren Sesselmann, 20-Marie-Eve Nault (3-Chelsea Stewart, 101); 8-Diana Matheson, 11-Desiree Scott, 13-Sophie Schmidt; 12-Christine Sinclair, 14-Melissa Tancredi, 16-Jonelle Filigno (6-Kaylyn Kyle, 67)
Subs not used: 1-Karina LeBlanc, 2-Emily Zurrer, 5-Robyn Gayle, 9-Candace Chapman, 15-Kelly Parker, 17-Brittany Timko
Head coach: John Herdman

Statistical Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 24 / 7
Shots on Goal: 11 / 7
Saves: 4 / 7
Corner Kicks: 13 / 5
Fouls: 20 / 22
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
CAN – Desiree Scott (caution)       60th minute
CAN – Melissa Tancredi (caution)  79

Officials:
Referee: Christina Pedersen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Hege Steinlund (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Lada Rojc (CRO)
Fourth Official: Hong Eun Ah (KOR)

Bud Light Woman of the Match:
Megan Rapinoe


U.S. Women's National Team Downs New Zealand 2-0 to Advance to Olympic Semifinal in Manchester

  • Abby Wambach Scores Fourth Goal in Four Olympic Games to Lead USA
  • Sydney Leroux Tallies Her First Olympic Goal in 87th Minute to Seal Quarterfinal Win
  • USA Advances to Fifth Consecutive Olympic Semifinal and will Face Canada on Aug. 6 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Live on NBC Sports Network at 2:45 p.m. ET

NEWCASTLE, England (Aug. 3, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Team downed New Zealand 2-0 in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Olympics as Abby Wambach scored in the first half and the USA’s youngest player – forward Sydney Leroux – tallied a clinching goal in the 87th minute.

The win kept the USA’s record intact of advancing to the semifinals of all five Olympic Games in which women’s soccer has been contested. The USA has also advanced to the semifinals of all six FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments.

In the semifinal on Monday, Aug. 6, at Old Trafford in Manchester, the USA will face Canada. The match will kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET and can be watched live on the NBC Sports Network and NBC Olympic Soccer Channel. The USA, which is vying for its fourth Olympic gold medal and third in a row, will also be playing the 500th international match in its history on Monday. Following the victory against New Zealand, the U.S. WNT improved to 388-57-54 in 499 games.

“It’s a winning team, so they’ve been living with the pressure,” said U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage. “I just look at the team and it feels like they perform under pressure. They like the pressure. The harder it is, the more you get out of the team.”

Wambach’s game-winning goal in the 27th minute marked her fourth in as many matches and gave her eight career Olympic goals. Wambach now has 142 goals in her international career. Leroux, making just her third Olympic appearance off the bench, tallied her first career goal in a senior world championship and the eighth of her international career. Alex Morgan notched her third assist in this year’s Olympic Games, providing the service on Wambach’s goal in the 27th minute.

Morgan sprinted to the left corner to run down a long ball from Rachel Buehler and then beat New Zealand captain Rebecca Smith to the inside before smacking her shot towards the net. Wambach stayed just onside and snuck behind Abby Erceg to redirect a right-footed shot into the net from close range.

Morgan had her fair share of chances throughout the match, including the game’s first big opportunity in the 10th minute when she found herself one-on-one against New Zealand goalkeeper Jenny Bindon. U.S. left back Kelley O’Hara sent the ball forward and Erceg had a poor touch on the ball allowing it to skip through. Morgan easily eluded the on-rushing Bindon with a dribble to the left, but had a sharp angle to shoot. She rolled her left-footed shot across the face of the open net but it skidded just wide of the right post.

The USA was back in the attack six minutes later when an excellent U.S. build-up got midfielder Megan Rapinoe behind the defense down the right wing. Her driven cross on the ground just eluded the sliding Morgan at the near post, but rolled to the far post where Wambach smacked it wide left of the goal from close range.

Morgan was equally as dangerous in the second half and just three minutes after the restart she got past Erceg down the right side only to slice her shot into the side netting at the right post. Seconds later, Tobin Heath sent the ball into the box where Morgan and Smith collided, sending Morgan to the ground, but no penalty was awarded.

The oddest point in a strangely officiated match came in the 73rd minute when Morgan got free behind the New Zealand defense on a Carli Lloyd pass straight up the middle. Bindon came out of the penalty area to challenge as Morgan touched the ball around her. The two collided with Morgan’s knee smacking Bindon in the face, causing Morgan to go sprawling to the turf. Amazingly no foul was called on the play even though Bindon was the last defender, and instead, after a brief delay when both Bindon and Morgan were treated for the knocks, Argentinean referee Jesica Di Iorio restarted play with a drop-ball.

Leroux came into the match with 10 minutes remaining and certainly made the most of her limited action, running at the New Zealand defense with speed and power, both which helped create the clinching goal. The goal came when Heath sent a pass down the left wing to Leroux, who fought off New Zealand’s Smith on the left side of the box and then cut hard toward goal. She shot hard and low from a stiff angle on the left, sending her shot through Bindon’s legs and into the net. Leroux soaked in the thrill of the moment with a memorable celebration and the look on her face was equal parts excitement and disbelief as her teammates embraced her.

New Zealand’s offense relied mostly on long-range attempts, putting four shots on goal compared to the USA’s eight. Solo was solid in the nets, cleanly and securely holding any of New Zealand’s shots from distance that were put on frame. Solo posted her 10th shutout of 2012 and the 65th clean sheet of her international career.

Additional Notes:

 

  • The U.S. is 4-0-0 in this year’s Olympics and has posted three consecutive shutouts.
  • The USA improved to 92-2-5 all-time when Abby Wambach scores a goal.
  • Midfielder Tobin Heath made her second start of the 2012 Olympics. She started in the first match of the Olympics, a 4-2 win against France on July 25, and then was a second-half sub for Heather O’Reilly against Colombia and halftime sub for Megan Rapinoe against Korea DPR.
  • Defender Christie Rampone moved into sole possession of fourth place all-time on the WNT list with her 235th career international start. Rampone passed former U.S. defender Joy Fawcett, who had 234 career starts in 17 years.
  • Rampone made her 20th career Olympic appearance, a USA record previously held by Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly and Kate Markgraf, who all played 16 Olympic matches.
  • Four a fourth straight game, Amy Rodriguez came off the bench, replacing Lauren Cheney in the 90th minute.
  • The USA picked up two yellow cards in the game – one to Abby Wambach and one to Carli Lloyd – but as yellow cards are wiped away after the quarterfinals, the USA will have no danger of suspensions for the rest of the tournament. Cheney came into the match with a yellow card, but as she did not receive one vs. New Zealand, she is also free and clear for the semifinal.

 

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. New Zealand
Date: Aug. 3, 2012
Competition: 2012 Olympic Games; Quarterfinal
Venue: St. James’ Park; Newcastle, England
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. local (9:30 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 10,441
Weather: 65 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 1 2
NZL                         0 0 0

USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)    27th minute
USA – Sydney Leroux (Tobin Heath)      87

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 16-Rachel Buehler, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 15-Megan Rapinoe (9-Heather O’Reilly, 71), 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney (8-Amy Rodriguez, 90+1), 17-Tobin Heath; 13-Alex Morgan (11-Sydney Leroux, 80), 14-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Shannon Boxx, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

NZL: 1-Jenny Bindon; 2-Ria Percival, 5-Abby Erceg, 6-Rebecca Smith (capt.), 7-Ali Riley; 4-Katie Hoyle (16-Annalie Longo, 90+4), 11-Kirsty Yallop (8-Hayley Moorwood, 57), 12-Betsy Hassett, 10-Sarah Gregorius; 9-Amber Hearn, 17-Hannah Wilkinson (13-Rosie White, 77)
Subs not used: 18-Rebecca Rolls, 3-Anna Green, 14-Kristy Hill, 15-Rebekah Stott
Head coach: Tony Readings

Statistical Summary: USA / NZL
Shots: 16 / 8
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 4 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 6
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Abby Wambach (caution)    43rd minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution)           79

Officials:
Referee: Jesica Di Iorio (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Marina Corbo (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Rocco (SWE)
Fourth Official: Therese Neguel (CMR)

Bud Light Woman of the Match:
Sydney Leroux

U.S. Women's National Team vs. Canada Quote Sheet

U.S. WNT vs. Canada
2012 Olympic Games – Semifinal
Old Trafford; Manchester, England
Aug. 6, 2012

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On what scoring late goals says about the U.S. team:
“I think it says everything about this team. The team refuses to lose and always finds a way to win. If you look in their eyes, if you listen to Abby (Wambach), there is something special about this team. I would say it reminds me so much about last year against Brazil. They have an extra gear. I’ve been lucky to coach them for five years and it is unique. It’s wonderful.”

On Canadian forward Christine Sinclair’s hat trick against the U.S.:
“What a wonderful player. Scoring goals in a semifinal and the way she scored the goals, she’s a very good player and she was a handful for our defenders. We’ve been talking about our defending and still our defending is pretty good. But she scored three goals and it tells you a little bit about how good she is.”

On where the game ranks in her coaching career:
“I put this game right up with the Brazil game last year. Last year was a quarterfinal, extra time and we went to penalty kicks. This time we scored a goal and we didn’t have to go to penalty kicks, so it’s right up there.”

On whether the thoughts of last year’s World Cup final still bother her:
“I don’t know. Right now, I just need to sleep and I need to enjoy the moment. That will be an interesting question tomorrow.”

On a change in the way Alex Morgan has approached the game after a scoreless streak:
“She continues to bring her game in every single game. I think she’s been great. She creates a lot of interesting situations for us and she brings players into the game. You can tell that whoever she plays against they have so much respect for her speed and strength, but also that she keeps the ball. I’m very happy for her that she scored, that’s good for her confidence.”

On the productivity of the players off the bench:
“I think as a team we’ve done a good job of reinforcing that everyone plays the game no matter if you start or if you’re coming off the bench. They have embraced that. Right now it’s fairly easy because it’s a good team and we have good players. Everybody is playing the game on the bench and I give them a lot of credit for that.”

U.S. forward ABBY WAMBACH

On the match:
“For some reason we like to make things dramatic. I’m really happy that Alex Morgan is on my team. This team doesn’t give up. This is what we’re about. This is what we’ve been working for since the day we lost to Japan in the World Cup final. We know that it’s not going to be easy. We didn’t anticipate a game like this, but we’re willing to deal with whatever is thrown at us. I’m so thankful that people kept believing in us, that we kept believing in ourselves. We stuck with it until the end.”

On her reaction to Alex Morgan’s goal:
“I think I told her that I was in love with her in the dog pile that we had. I’m just so proud of her. What a great goal by a young kid who has big expectations for herself. She hasn’t scored a goal in the last couple games and I told you she’d score a goal that would make everybody kind of shut up and I think she did tonight. You can’t put words into this experience. It’s epic. This game, this win, getting into the gold medal game – this is what we’re working for.”

On Christine Sinclair’s performance for Canada:
“I’m not sure she could’ve done more for her team. She literally put the Canadian team on her back and carried them through 90 minutes. Credit to Canada, they’re a great team. Their coach did a really good job with them in a short period of time with them and made them into believers. Thankfully, we didn’t give up and we didn’t believe that they were going to win that game. We fought to the end.”

On advancing to the gold medal match against Japan:
“It’s everything. It’s why we’re here. This is what we are. This is who we are. This is what we’ve been working for. I know that this team is willing and ready to show up. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

On the team’s ability to come back in matches:
“This team has a belief in itself even when the going gets rough and everything is stacked against us. It’s inspiring and I’m really proud to be on this team.”

On looking forward to playing Japan since the World Cup:
“In order to win championships, you’ve got to play the best teams. Japan is one of the best in the world, they proved that last summer. If they have healthy players and are fit and if we have healthy players and are rested, it’s going to be a great game to watch. They’re very possession oriented; they’re dangerous when their players are on. I think that tonight we showed that we’re not willing to give up no matter what.”

U.S. forward ALEX MORGAN
On the match:
“I’m still in shock. We’re in the final. I don’t care who scores as long as we score and we win, that’s all that matters. I just got my head on it at the end. I didn’t even see it go in.”

On her thoughts when Heather O’Reilly crossed the ball into the box:
“Just get in the air and get my head on it. Heather (O’Reilly) is great with crosses. She’s so great getting down the end line and putting the cross in. I was just trying to be in the right position and it just so happened that I was. I still can’t believe it.”

On reaching the gold medal match:
“It was a crazy battle, but credit to Canada for coming back and back. I couldn’t believe after we scored, they scored. We saw right before the game that Japan had won. We wanted the rematch, but we wanted to put everything out on this field because we weren’t going to get the rematch with them if we didn’t win this game. Now we’re up against Japan and we really want that rematch. We’ve got to recover our bodies because that was 120 minutes of soccer.”

On coming back after three, one-goal deficits against Canada:
“For the team, we’ve believed from the first minute to the last minute. We’re just playing so well together. Each player individually, I think is better than Canada individually, and when you come together as a team, you can’t break us.”

On the satisfaction after scoring a goal:
“I’ve been waiting for a couple of games now to finally put the ball in the back of the net. I wanted Abby (Wambach) to get a goal. I’m really happy with (Megan) Rapinoe’s goals. She came up huge for us. I didn’t care who put the ball in the back of the net, I just wanted to beat Canada so bad. I wanted to get that rematch with Japan.”

On the celebration that ensued after the game-winning goal:
“I remember being in shock, wanting to laugh and cry at the same time, and being so proud of the team for coming back so many times and sticking in it and coming out on the top at the end.”

On scoring the game-winning goal for the U.S. with just seconds remaining on the clock:
“I can’t remember ever feeling this way after scoring a goal, it’s just so exhilarating. I’ve never wanted to cry on a field after I scored a goal. It was the best feeling ever.”

U.S. midfielder HEATHER O’REILLY
On her thoughts after the goal:
“This team is unbelievable. We make it a little dramatic sometimes, but we know how to fight for each other. I love this team and I love what we’re about. I think that is was just the undeniable will to win that we are so proud of.”

On coming off of the bench to make a difference:
“It took a couple minutes because I didn’t touch the ball for a few minutes. A lot of my early on heading into that overtime was work defensively and keeping good shape, but I needed to get some touches on the ball to feel into the game. Once that happened, I felt in the rhythm and knew I could help the team.”

On facing Japan in the gold medal match:
“I think it’ll be an exceptional final. I think to face them again in the gold medal match is going to be a lot of fun. I know that, even though we’ve seen them since last summer in a couple friendly matches and at the Algarve Cup, we remember very vividly last summer and we’re excited to see them again.”

On the importance of recovery before the gold medal match:
“It’s massive. This is the sixth game in a two-week span. That’s the thing about the Olympics is you have even less recovery time than in the World Cup. That’s why our depth is so important to this team. We’ve been covering all of our bases physically with our assistant coach Dawn Scott. She’s our fitness coach and she’s taught us all about certain recovery strategies. We’ve got ice baths, massage, protein shakes, we’re covering everything. We’re making sure to control everything we can control to get ready for this final.”

U.S. midfielder CARLI LLOYD
On the U.S. WNT’s flair for dramatic finishes:
“I think we’re trying to gain more fans, I don’t know. I think we’re trying to give people back home heart attacks and people here heart attacks. You know what’s special about this team is that we go down one-goal, two-goals and we find a way. It took all 18 players to get it done. Everybody embraced their role and did it. If we don’t walk away with a gold medal it’s going to really hurt especially after the World Cup.”

On Heather O’Reilly’s impact on the game:
“I think Heather is such a special player. She had fresh legs and gave us that little bit of juice there at the end. She was playing in some fantastic balls and with tired legs we were just trying to get the balls in the box and hope Abby (Wambach) or Alex (Morgan) would get one. I knew that one of those balls we were going to finish and it was a world-class finish by Alex.”

On the game’s physicality:
“It was really physical. It was kind of a weird game. I look back and don’t really remember too much of the ball being on the ground and playing. There were a lot of fouls and a lot of goals scored so it was a back and forth direct game. They were physical. We knew it was going to be a battle; it’s always a battle against Canada and they stepped it up an extra few notches. We were ready for it and came away with the victory.”

On looking at the final as a defense of the 2008 Olympics gold medal or redemption for the World Cup:
“I think making up for the World Cup. This is a rematch. This is redemption for us. We know how hard it was for us after that game. It hurt us for a really long time. We’re going to take every advantage to close out and get it done whether it’s one goal or two goals, we can’t let any in.”

U.S. goalkeeper HOPE SOLO
On playing Japan in the final:
“I haven’t even thought about playing Japan yet. I had heard they won prior to going out for warm ups. It’s always a great game against Japan, its sophisticated soccer which the fans like. I don’t really care who we play in the final.”

U.S. midfielder MEGAN RAPINOE
On scoring directly off of a corner kick and striking a second remarkable goal against Canada:
“I wish I could say that I was definitely meaning to do that, it was a bit of a mistake on my part. I’ll take a goal no matter what. The second goal was probably the goal of my life. I just hit it as hard as I could. It’s pretty cool that it was at Old Trafford, too.”

On how the team was able to come back three times:
“It’s huge heart or maybe we’re just blind and never think we’re out of it. There’s huge fight in this team. We’re tough to beat.”

On the performance of Canada forward Christine Sinclair:
“She’s unbelievable. She’s definitely one of the best forwards in the world and probably one of the best players ever. She had an unbelievable game and some really great goals. She’s the heart of that team.”

Abby Wambach Goal Gives U.S. Women’s National Team a 1-0 Victory Against Korea DPR and Group G Title at 2012 Olympics

  • Wambach Scores in Third Straight Olympic Game, Upping Career Total to 141
  • U.S. WNT Posts 3-0-0 Record for First Time in Olympic Group Stage
  • USA Will Face New Zealand in Quarterfinal on Friday, Aug. 3, at St. James’ Park in Newcastle Live on NBC Sports Network

MANCHESTER, England (July 31, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Team swept the group stage of the 2012 London Olympics with a 1-0 victory against Korea DPR as Abby Wambach scored her third goal of the tournament in the 25th minute.

The goal for the USA’s star striker gives her one in each of the USA’s three group matches and gave the Americans the Group G title in front of 29,522 fans at Old Trafford, the legendary home of Manchester United. Heading into the match, U.S. needed a win or a draw to finish first in the group, and Wambach’s goal proved more than enough as the North Koreans sat back, playing five players across the defensive line for most of the match.

The win marked the first time the USA has taken the full nine points from a group stage at the Olympics, going 2-0-1 in 1996, 2000 and 2004 and 2-1-0 in 2008.

The U.S. will now face New Zealand – the third place finisher in Group E -- in the quarterfinal round on Aug. 3 at St. James’ Park in Newcastle. The game will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network at 9:30 a.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match via ussoccer.com’s Match Tracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

New Zealand came into the final round of group matches with a 0-2-0 record, having lost tight 1-0 contests to both England and Brazil. In their group finale, the Kiwis pulled out a 3-1 victory over winless Cameroon to take third place in the group – and earn a berth to the quarterfinals as one of the two best third-place finishers along with Canada from Group F. The win also knocked North Korea out of the quarterfinal round on the basis of goal difference. The North Koreans finished third in Group G, also on three points, but ended group play with a minus-4 goal difference while the Football Ferns ended the first round at zero after scoring three goals and allowing three.

“Abby scored a great goal, which feels good for all of us,” said U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage. “She’s been playing well and just shows how important she is for the team. We got a chance to save some legs in the second half and we slowed down the game quite a bit and now we look forward to the quarterfinal with a healthy, happy team.”

The USA held a heavy possession advantage over Korea DPR from the start and played a first half that deserved more than one goal. That one score came in the 25th minute as midfielder Lauren Cheney orchestrated the play with a superb pass looped over the Korea DPR back line to Alex Morgan. The U.S. forward collected the ball well under pressure, fought off a pair of Korea DPR defenders and slipped a square pass to Wambach in the middle of the penalty area. Wambach, who stayed just onside, had the entire goal to work with and slotted her right-footed shot into the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead.

It was Wambach’s seventh career goal in the Olympics – most in U.S. history – and the 141st of her career, second only in world history to Mia Hamm’s 158.

The USA piled up a 16-3 shot advantage for the match and forced the North Korean goalkeeper into several quality saves. In the fifth minute, Morgan drove across the top of the penalty area and struck left-footed shot toward the lower left corner that was pushed away by the diving O Chang Ran.

Two minutes later, Morgan again worked her way free but her shot was blocked up in the air. Morgan sent the falling ball on goal again, but it was deflected up in the air to Wambach who pulled off a quasi-bicycle kick that snuck into the net at the right post only to be nullified by the offside flag.

One of the best scoring chances of the first half came in the 15th minute when Wambach did well to elude a defender on the left sideline and split two other North Korea players with her pass to Morgan. The speedy striker latched onto the ball with a touch into the box and then struck her shot across the face of the goal and off the right post.

The second half was played at a slower pace as the North Koreans seemed content to sit back and try to counter while the Americans were in no rush to expend needless energy with the quarterfinal match just three days away. That led to the USA possessing the ball quite a bit in the last 45 minutes while holding the Korean attack, which had a few nice moments, at bay.

In the 49th minute, Heather O’Reilly tenaciously won the ball from Korea DPR in the midfield and delivered a pass at the top of the penalty box. Wambach and then Morgan moved the ball from right to left, with Morgan providing a left-footed poke to halftime substitute Tobin Heath on the left side. Heath elected to try a chip over Ran, but put a bit too much on her shot and it sailed over the crossbar.

Korea DPR’s best attacking spell came through a couple of chances in the 67th minute. Ri Ye Gyong hit a shot from the left side that USA defender Amy LePeilbet partially blocked allowing U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo to grab it easily. Seconds later, Kim Su Gyong timed her run to get behind the U.S. defense on a ball from Ri Ye Gyong. Kim Su Gyong pushed her shot wide left and Korea DPR didn’t create anything of note the rest of the way.

The Koreans proved to be a physical opponent, throwing down some vicious tackles that resulted in three yellow cards and one red. Second-half sub Choe Mi Gyong’s malicious physical play was duly noted by referee Jenny Palmqvist, who booked her twice in a five-minute span, the second earning the sending off. She received a yellow card for a hard challenge against Carli Lloyd in the 77th minute and then took down Cheney from behind in the 81st minute.

The Americans were content to possess the ball in the second half, but still created a few good chances. Cheney’s well struck shot from about 25 yards on a free kick was saved by Ran in the 84th minute. Morgan, who picked up her second assist in as many games on the goal to Wambach, was once again trouble for the defense and came close to scoring on a few occasions, but her last chance with just a few minutes left was thwarted by a pair of defenders who were literally on her back.

Additional Notes:

  • Korea DPR did not put a shot on goal during the match as the USA held an 8-0 advantage in that category.
  • Christie Rampone tied Joy Fawcett for fourth on the U.S. WNT all-time list with her 234th career start.
  • U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe played in the first half and was replaced by Tobin Heath at halftime.
  • Sundhage made one change from the lineup that started against Colombia in the second group match, inserting Amy LePeilbet at right back in place of Heather Mitts.
  • U.S. center back Becky Sauerbrunn saw her first ever Olympics minutes as a 75th-minute substitution for Rachel Buehler.
  • U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has now played 17 of the 18 players on the roster as only back-up goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart hasn’t seen the field.
  • The USA improved to 91-2-5 all-time when Abby Wambach scores a goal.
  • Abby Wambach has scored seven goals in the USA’s past seven games this year, starting with the team’s 4-1 win against China on May 27. She has scored at least one goal in every game except the 2-1 win against Canada on June 30 during this current stretch.
  • For a third straight game, Amy Rodriguez came off the bench when she replaced Lauren Cheney in the 84th minute.
  • The USA improved to 4-0-1 all-time against Korea DPR with the previous four meetings all coming in Women’s World Cup play.
  • The USA holds an 8-1-0 all-time record against New Zealand with the most recent meeting a hard-fought 2-1 come from behind victory in Frisco, Texas, on Feb. 11 that saw Alex Morgan score two late goals.


- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Korea DPR
Date: July 31, 2012
Competition: 2012 Olympic Games; Group G
Venue: Old Trafford; Manchester, England
Kickoff: 5:15 p.m. local (12:15 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 29,522
Weather: 63 degrees, light rain

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                          1 0 1
PRK                          0 0 0

USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)        25th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 16-Rachel Buehler (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 75), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Cheney (8-Amy Rodriguez, 84), 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Tobin Heath, 45); 13-Alex Morgan, 14-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Sydney Leroux, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

PRK: 18-O Chang Ran; 2-Kim Nam Hui, 3-Kim Myong Gum, 14-Pong Son Hwa, 20-Choe Yong Sim; 7-Ri Ye Gyong, 8-Jon Myong Hwa, 6-Choe Un Ju, 11-Kim Chung Sim (capt.) (12-Kim Un Hyang, 80); 10-Yun Hyon Hi (21-Kim Su Gyong, 31), 16-Kim Song Hui (9-Choe Mi Gyong, 63)
Subs not used: 1-Jo Yun Mi, 5-Yun Song Mi, 15-Ri Nam Sil, 13-O Hui Sun
Head coach: Sin Uin Gun

Statistical Summary: USA / PRK
Shots: 16 / 3
Shots on Goal: 8 / 0
Saves: 0 / 7
Corner Kicks: 7 / 0
Fouls: 5 / 12
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
PRK – Ri Ye Gyong (caution)          13th minute
USA – Lauren Cheney (caution)      16
PRK – Kim Song Hui (caution)         42
PRK – Choe Mi Gyong (caution)      77
PRK – Choe Mi Gyong (sent off)      81

Officials:
Referee: Jenny Palmqvist (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Anna Nystrom (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Helen Karo (SWE)
Fourth Official: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)

Bud Light Woman of the Match:
Abby Wambach



Rampone Returns to Her Roots

It’s a story almost too amazing to be true.

Around 1920, a Scottish immigrant named William Dowie traveled to the New World in search of the American dream, leaving behind a 10-year career as a goalkeeper for Raith Rovers, a small club founded in 1883 in Kirkcaldy, about 45 miles east of Glasgow.

Is it possible that nearly 92 years later his great-granddaughter would return to Scotland – Glasgow, in fact! – to captain the United States in the 2012 Olympics?

It is. And she has.

U.S. captain Christie Rampone (née Pearce) grew up knowing only her great-grandfather’s name, that he was from Scotland, and that he might have played professional soccer around the turn of the century, but little else.

On the USA’s trip to Scotland in April of 2011 (piggybacked off a match in London) to play a closed-door scrimmage during the Women’s World Cup preparations, Rampone mentioned her Scottish roots to U.S. Women’s National Team press officer Aaron Heifetz, who took this wee bit of information and asked the Scottish Football Association if it was possible to track down anything else on her great-grandfather.

The USA’s team liaison, Shirley, placed a few calls to the proper folks back at the federation headquarters in Glasgow and struck gold. Lo and behold, in a country that can trace its history as an independent sovereign state back to the early Middle Ages and seems to chronicle that history – especially the football history – extremely well, they found some information on Mr. Bill Dowie.

In the humorously-named Always Next Season: 125 Years of Raith Rovers Football Club, there is a listing for a goalkeeper named William Dowie, who played for the club from 1905-1915. He was signed from Dunnikier Athletic and played 130 games for Raith, oddly scoring two goals! (Maybe on penalty kicks?)

A phone call to Christie’s mom (William Dowie’s granddaughter) back in New Jersey revealed he was born in 1886, which would have made him a very appropriate 19 years old when he debuted for Raith Rovers. Mrs. Pearce also said he came over to the United States at the age of 34, which would have been in 1920, five years after he had finished his career at Rovers. Once again, entirely plausible.

In the book, Dowie was described thusly in a report on a match from around 1905:

“Rovers’ young goalkeeper Dowie was a veritable octopus in goal, and gave a marvelous display of fistic prowess, punching the ball clear in all directions and repeatedly over the bar.”

And we thought Christie’s amazing athleticism came from her father’s side of the family? She has never been called an octopus, though.
Rampone
In 1906, Dowie helped preserve a win over St. Bernards, who were granted a penalty kick late in the game, but “Bill Dowie saved both the kick and the rebound.”

The real find in the book, though, was a picture of William Dowie. After staring intently at the photo, Christie said that he did in fact look like her uncle Bill Dowie (the name was passed down), her mom’s brother.

By the time Rampone returned to Scotland for the Olympics, word had spread that the captain of the USA had some real Scottish blood

That fact has made her popular with the Scottish media in Glasgow, who are intrigued and excited about her story and have almost embraced her as one of their own.

In fact, a crew from the Olympic Broadcasting Service, which is in charge of producing content for all the Olympics rights holders, produced a feature on Rampone. The crew traveled to Raith Rovers to find out some more about Bill Dowie, came back with even more photos of their former goalkeeper and got a jersey signed for Rampone by the current team. In fact, the folks at the club were over the moon that Rampone had returned “home.”

Perhaps the best thing about the story is that Bill Dowie, despite leaving this world years ago, has brought his family together in his homeland.

No fewer than 16 members of the Dowie/Pearce clan were inspired to come to Scotland to experience the country of their ancestor.

“The cool thing is I never would have discovered any of this had I not made it to the national team and played long enough to travel to Scotland last year and then make it to this Olympics,” said Rampone. “We never really had any information on him and we’ve all learned a lot. My mother wasn’t originally coming to the first two games, and then my uncle decided to come when he found out it was in Scotland, then my aunt jumped on board…it’s pretty special to have so many family members here in the bRamponeirthplace of my great-grandfather.”

Neither Rampone’s mom nor her own father (who worked on ships to carve out a better life for his family) played soccer, so the soccer gene seems to have skipped two generations. In retrospect, perhaps all those genes were saved up for the U.S. captain, who at age 37 and after having two children is still one of the fittest, fastest and strongest players on the U.S. team.

What Rampone appreciates most is the warm welcome she has received in Scotland. It’s an Olympic memory she’ll carry forever.  

“The reception has been fantastic,” said Rampone. “I never even thought they would take me under their wing as one of their own. Even though I’m from a different country, part of me is from Scotland, and they’ve been supporting me like a long-lost daughter. I hope the Scottish fans appreciate our team and our team spirit. We’ll always remember Glasgow fondly. It’s been pretty cool.”

Suffice it to say, William Wallace would have been honored to ride with Rampone.

Results

Date Matchup Result Venue Attendance Goal Scorers
July 25, 2012 WNT vs France 4-2 W Hampden Park; Glasgow, Scotland 18,090
July 28, 2012 WNT vs Colombia 3-0 W Hampden Park; Glasgow, Scotland 11,313
July 28, 2012 WNT vs Korea DPR 1-0 W Old Trafford; Manchester, England 29,522
August 3, 2012 WNT vs New Zealand 2-0 W St. James' Park; Newcastle, England 10,441
August 6, 2012 WNT vs Canada 4-3 W a.e.t. Old Trafford; Manchester, England 26,640
August 9, 2012 WNT vs Japan 2-1 W Wembley, Stadium; London, England 80,203
PLAYER POS. HT. BIRTHDATE HOMETOWN CLUB/COLLEGE
Nicole Barnhart GK 5-10 10/10/81 Gilbertsville, Pa. FC Kansas City
Shannon Boxx M 5-8 6/29/77 Redondo Beach, Calif. Chicago Red Stars
Rachel Van Hollebeke D 5-5 8/26/85 Del Mar, Calif. Portland Thorns FC
Lauren Holiday M 5-8 9/30/87 Indianapolis, Ind. FC Kansas City
Tobin Heath M 5-6 5/29/88 Basking Ridge, N.J. Portland Thorns FC
Amy LePeilbet D 5-7 3/12/82 Crystal Lake, Ill. Chicago Red Stars
Sydney Leroux F 5-7 5/7/90 Los Angeles, Calif. Seattle Reign FC
Carli Lloyd M 5-8 7/16/82 Delran, N.J. Western New York Flash
Heather Mitts D 5-5 6/9/78 Cincinnati, Ohio Boston Breakers
Alex Morgan F 5-7 7/2/89 Diamond Bar, Calif. Portland Thorns FC
Kelley O'Hara D 5-5 8/4/88 Fayetteville, Ga. Sky Blue FC
Heather O'Reilly M 5-5 1/2/85 East Brunswick, N.J. Boston Breakers
Christie Rampone D 5-6 6/24/75 Point Pleasant, N.J. Sky Blue FC
Megan Rapinoe M 5-7 7/5/85 Redding, Calif. Seattle Reign FC
Amy Rodriguez F 5-4 2/17/87 Lake Forest, Calif. FC Kansas City
Becky Sauerbrunn D 5-7 6/6/85 St. Louis, Mo. FC Kansas City
Hope Solo GK 5-9 7/30/81 Richland, Wash. Seattle Reign FC
Abby Wambach F 5-11 6/2/80 Rochester, N.Y. Western New York Flash

Group E

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
GBR 3 3 0 0 5 0 +5 9
BRA
3 2 1 0 6 1 +5 6
NZL 3 1 2 0 3 3 0 3
CMR 3 0 3 0 1 11 -10 0

Group F

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
SWE 3 1 0 2 6 3 +3 5
JPN 3 1 0 2 2 1 +1 5
CAN 3 1 1 1 6 4 +2 4
RSA 3 0 2 1 1 7 -6 1

Group G

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
USA 3 3 0 0 8 2 +6 9
FRA 3 2 1 0 8 4 +4 6
PRK 3 1 2 0 2 6 -4 3
COL 3 0 3 0 0 6 -6 0
 

 

First Round

No. Date Match Time (ET) Venue
1 July 25, 2012 Great Britain 1, New Zealand 0 11 a.m. Millenium Stadium;
Cardiff, Wales
2 July 25, 2012 Japan 2, Canada 1 12 p.m. City of Coventry Stadium;
Coventry, England
3 July 25, 2012 USA 4, France 2 12 p.m. Hampden Park;
Glasgow, Scotland
4 July 25, 2012 Cameroon 0, Brazil 5 1:45 p.m. Millenium Stadium;
Cardiff, Wales
5 July 25, 2012 Sweden 4, South Africa 1 12:45 p.m. Millenium Stadium;
Cardiff, Wales
6 July 25, 2012 Colombia 0, Korea DPR 2 12:45 p.m. Hampden Park;
Glasgow, Scotland
7 July 28, 2012 Japan 0, Sweden 0 7 a.m. City of Coventry Stadium;
Coventry, England
8 July 28, 2012 New Zealand 0, Brazil 1 9:30 a.m. Millenium Stadium;
Cardiff, Wales
9 July 28, 2012 Canada 3, South Africa 0 9:45 a.m. City of Coventry Stadium;
Coventry, England
10 July 28, 2012 USA 3, Colombia 0 12 p.m. Hampden Park;
Glasgow, Scotland
11 July 28, 2012 Great Britain 3, Cameroon 0 12:15 p.m. Millenium Stadium;
Cardiff, Wales
12 July 28, 2012 France 5, Korea DPR 0 2:45 p.m. Hampden Park;
Glasgow, Scotland
13 July 31, 2012 Japan 0, South Africa 0 9:30 a.m. Millenium Stadium;
Cardiff, Wales
14 July 31, 2012 Canada 2, Sweden 2 9:30 a.m. St. James' Park;
Newcastle, England
15 July 31, 2012 USA 1, Korea DPR 0 12:15 p.m. Old Trafford Stadium;
Manchester, England
16 July 31, 2012 France 1, Colombia 0 12:15 p.m. St. James' Park;
Newcastle, England
17 July 31, 2012 New Zealand 3, Cameroon 1 2:45 p.m. City of Coventry Stadium;
Coventry, England
18 July 31, 2012 Great Britain 1, Brazil 0 2:45 p.m. Wembley Stadium;
London, England

Quarterfinals

No. Date Match Time (ET) Venue
19 Aug. 3, 2012 France 2, Sweden 1
7 a.m. Hampden Park;
Glasgow, Scotland
20 Aug. 3, 2012 USA 2, New Zealand 0 9:30 a.m. St. James' Park;
Newcastle, England
21 Aug. 3, 2012 Brazil 0, Japan 2 12 p.m. Millenium Stadium;
Cardiff, Wales
22 Aug. 3, 2012 Great Britain 0, Canada 2 2:30 p.m. City of Coventry Stadium;
Coventry, England

Semifinals

No. Date Match Time (ET) Venue
23 Aug. 6, 2012 Japan 2, France 1
12 p.m. Wembley Stadium;
London, England
24 Aug. 6, 2012 USA 4, Canada 3 (a.e.t)
2:45 p.m. Old Trafford Stadium;
Manchester, England

Bronze Medal Match

No. Date Match Time (ET) Venue
25 Aug. 9, 2012 Canada 1, France 0 8 a.m. City of Coventry Stadium;
Coventry, England

Gold Medal Match

No. Date Match Time (ET) Venue
26 Aug. 9, 2012 USA 2, Japan 1 2:45 p.m. Wembley Stadium;
London, England
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