December 15, 2012
by Norb Ecksl
Wambach, Morgan tie WNT scoring record
Soccer News Net Contributor
BOCA RATON, Fla.---It was a record setting year in every sense of the word for the gold medal winning US Women’s National Team. And they added a few more lines to the record book as they finished the 2012 season with a 4-1 win over China PR in front of 10,493 wildly enthusiastic fans at FAU Stadium Saturday night.
|Alex Morgan set up Abby Wambach’s 18th-minute goal against China. Together, the pair have scored 55 times this year.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Abby Wambach scored two goals, her 26th and 27th of the year and the 151st and 152nd of her career, to lead the way. Alex Morgan, who scored 28 goals this year and assisted on Wambach’s first score, notched her 21st assist. That feat tied her with Carin Jennings Gabarra for second place all-time in a year. The dynamic duo of Wambach and Morgan also combined for 55 goals this year, tying Michelle Akers’ and Gabarra’s record set in 1991 for the best performance by two scorers on the USWNT.
“I’m proud of Alex Morgan,” said Wambach, who went over to the US bench to hug Morgan after Wambach’s record-tying score. “I don’t want to really focus on my records or talk about them. We spend a lot of time together at practice working on shot after shot and keep ourselves motivated. I’m glad she’s got part of it,” stated Wambach.
Wambach was beaming and you could tell she was proud of the way the team finished play this year. “We’re here to win games and to share these records with those two (Akers and Gabarra). They are icons and legends of the sport to me.”
Morgan was replaced by interim Coach Jill Ellis at the beginning of the second half. “I’m so happy that she (Wambach) scored in the second half,” stated Morgan after the game. “Now at least we share the record. It was set so long ago. Those two (Akers and Gabarra) meant so much to women’s soccer. This is something unique and I cherish that.” And as far as Wamabch is concerned, “we have a mutual admiration for each other. She (Wambach) wants me to get better and I want her to get better.”
Megan Rapinoe capitalized on a China PR mistake to widen the US lead in the 36th minute by taking sharp aim at the net and sending a loose ball homeward. “The pass had quite a bit of pace on it,” explained Rapinoe about the goalkeeper’s errant outlet pass. “I took a little bit off as I shot it and I didn’t hit it that hard but I took dead aim at the net.” That made it 2-0.
Rapinoe assisted on Wambach’s second goal in the 64th minute. Rapinoe sent a pass to Wambach in the penalty box, Wambach’s favorite place on the field. The US now led, 3-1.
And Sydney Leroux put the icing on the cake when she took a cross from Heather Mitts and made it 4-1 in the 87th minute. It was Leroux’ 14th goal of the year.
The crowd was very vocal and that made quite an impression on the players. Rapinoe said, “it’s quite a wonderful atmosphere here. Just look at the crowd…they’re loud.”
Wambach added, “the turnout was great and I’m proud of all the fans here. It’s been quite a year for us and a good way to finish it off.”
The USWNT finished with a 28-1-3 record for 2012. They regroup early next year, facing Scotland on February 9 at EverBank Field