PITTSBURGH (Aug. 16, 2015) – The World Champion U.S. Women’s National Team opened its Victory Tour in style with an 8-0 win against Costa Rica in front of a crowd of 44,028 at Heinz Field. The attendance set a record for the largest crowd for a stand-alone U.S. WNT match on home soil.
In a special homecoming, Pittsburgh native Meghan Klingenberg scored early in the second half, by which time the USA already held a substantial lead. Christen Press and Heather O’Reilly led the scoring for the USA with a hat trick and a pair of goals respectively. Defenders Julie Johnston and Whitney Engen also put their names on the scoresheet with header goals while Ashlyn Harris and Hope Solo split the goalkeeping duties for the shutout. Solo made three saves in the second half on Costa Rica’s only three shots.
The team entered the stadium to a rapturous standing ovation from the Heinz Field crowd and will likely see a similar scene when it next travels to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it will face a rematch with Las Ticas before a sold-out crowd of more than 20,000 at Finlay Stadium on Aug. 19. That match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.
After the double-header with Costa Rica, the USA continues its Victory Tour with a pair of matches against Australia, at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, and Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama on Sept. 17 and 20, respectively. From there the Victory Tour continues with a pair of games against Brazil in October before taking a break in November and then finishing with four matches in December. Dates and venues for those games will be announced in the near future.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Heather O’Reilly, 4th minute: As Costa Rica attempted to play out of the back, O’Reilly stripped a defender and raced into the Ticas’ penalty area. From the right side of the box, O’Reilly powered her show low into the near post past the wrong-footed ‘keeper for her 42nd international goal. USA 1, CRC 0 SEE GOAL
USA – Christen Press, 29th: Megan Rapinoe chipped the ball through the Costa Rica defense to Press inside the penalty area. After a nice collection that opened up space for a shot, Press saw her first, right-footed effort blocked by a defender but was first to the rebound and drilled a left-footed shot into the right side of the net. USA 2, CRC 0 SEE GOAL
USA – Julie Johnston (Megan Rapinoe), 36th minute: Megan Rapinoe whipped in a corner kick from the left side that found an unmarked Johnston steaming toward the near post. The U.S. center back sent a powerful header into the middle of the next past a falling Diaz for her fourth career goal. USA 3, CRC 0
USA – Christen Press, 45th minute: Press continued her offensive outburst as Rapinoe sent in another dangerous corner kick that connected with Shannon Boxx at the back post. Boxx sent a header back across goal that Diaz tried to swat away, but her clearance fell to the feet of Press in the center of the six-yard box and she slammed the ball home from close range just before the halftime whistle. USA 4, CRC 0
USA – Meghan Klingenberg (Tobin Heath), 56th minute: The Pittsburgh crowd erupted into a frenzy as second half substitute Tobin Heath carried the ball at pace down Costa Rica’s left side to the end line and cut the ball back into the middle of the box. Klingenberg ran onto the service and with a great bit of skill, redirected the ball with her left foot into the far side netting from 10 yards out. In a wild celebration, she ran to her teammates on the sideline, high-fived the whole bench and then grabbed a Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel from U.S. head coach Jill Ellis before waving it aloft in tribute to her hometown fans. USA 5, CRC 0 ( SEE GOAL)
USA – Heather O’Reilly, 60th minute: Lori Chalupny got forward to play Christen Press into the right side of the Costa Rica penalty area. Press brought down the chipped pass, swiveled 180 degrees and sent a beautiful curling chip shot off the cross bar that fell to Heather O’Reilly who was crashing the back post. With the net wide open, O’Reilly had time to collect before smashing the ball home for the second multi-goal game of her career. USA 6, CRC 0
USA – Whitney Engen (Abby Wambach), 63rd minute: From yet another set piece, the USA targeted Wambach at the far post, and the world’s all-time leading goal scorer headed the ball down toward goal. As it bounced back up off the ground, Engen snuck in front of a waiting Diaz to snap a header into the back of the net for her fourth international goal. USA 7, CRC 0
USA – Christen Press (Heather O’Reilly), 68th minute: O’Reilly drove down the left flank and picked out Press who was making a delayed run into the Costa Rica box. With one deft touch, Press controlled the ball, stole a look at goal and then snapped a shot from near the top of the box into the upper left-hand corner of the goal to put the finishing touch on the second hat trick of her career and the day’s goal scoring. USA 8, CRC 0 (FINAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
CRC – Dianna Diaz, 8th minute: With the USA threatening down Costa Rica’s right flank through some nifty combination play that nearly put Meghan Klingenberg in alone on goal, Diaz made a diving stop, charging out of her goal to smother the ball a step before Klingenberg arrived.
CRC – Dianna Diaz, 17th minute: Shannon Boxx unleashed a rocket from a wide angle on Diaz’s left that swerved toward the middle of the goal, but the Costa Rica goalkeeper punched the shot up over the crossbar to deny the U.S. adding to its early lead.
USA – Hope Solo, 50th minute: Solo has called into action right away after coming on at halftime. A chipped diagonal pass put Karla Villalobos in alone on goal. Solo charged out of the net, cut down the angle and got a piece of Villalobos’ shot, forcing it to skid wide of the left of the goal.
Next on the Schedule: The WNT continues the 2015 Victory Tour with a stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Aug. 19, where it will take on Costa Rica before a sold out crowd of over 20,000 at Finlay Stadium.
Broadcast information: ESPN2, WatchESPN (6:30 p.m. ET; Aug. 19)
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram
- Christen Press scored the second hat trick of her career. Her first came in a four-goal performance against Argentina at the International Tournament of Brasilia in December of 2014.
- Heather O’Reilly notched her second multi-goal game of her career. The first came on Jan. 20, 2012, when she scored a hat trick against the Dominican Republic during Olympic Qualifying.
- The 8-0 wins ties the USA biggest win in the history of its series with Costa Rica. The WNT beat the Ticas by the same score line on two previous occasions, in 2000 and 2012.
- The crowd of 44,028 at Heinz Field is the largest stand-alone attendance on home soil in the history of the U.S. WNT.
- Ashlyn Harris got the start for the USA in goal for the first time since pitching a 1-0 shutout against England in Milton Keynes in February of this year. Hope Solo replaced her in net for the U.S. at halftime.
- This is the first game of the year that Becky Sauerbrunn did not start for the USA. She had previously started all 17 matches, playing the most minutes on the team with 1,509.
- Veterans Shannon Boxx and Christie Rampone, who played all 90 minutes, both made their first starts of 2015. Boxx was removed at halftime for Morgan Brian.
- The USA remains perfect against Costa Rica, improving its all-time record to 11-0-0.
- Julie Johnston has scored all four of her WNT goals off set plays.