February 13, 2013
MUSIC CITY MASTERY
USWNT beats Scotland 3-1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ----A diving header by Abby Wambach, her 153rd career goal, was the game winner as the Untied States defeated Scotland 3-1 in front of 14,224 fans at LP Field Wednesday night. It was the largest crowd ever to watch the U.S. Women in the state of Tennessee.
|Abby Wambach scored her 153rd career goal while earning her 200th cap against Scotland on Wednesday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Wambach earned her 200th cap in the match, becoming the eighth U.S. player to reach that milestone, and her goal puts her just five short of tying Mia Hamm (158 goals) on the world's all-time scoring list.
Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring in 21st with a superb strike and Christen Press came off the bench to supply a clinical finish of her own, giving the 24-year-old her third goal in just two caps. She is the first player in U.S. history to score three goals in her first two games.
Rapinoe, who sat out Wednesday’s match after arriving from France (where she is playing club soccer), scored her 20th-career goal to make it 1-0.
The goal came after Heather O'Reilly beat a defender to the end line on the left wing and got off a cross that was headed up in the air by the Scotland defense. Rapinoe brought the ball under control, weaved away from pressure and spun a perfect shot with the outside of her right foot into the left-side netting from 12 yards out.
Forward Sydney Leroux, who set a U.S. record for goals as a substitute last year, made her first-career start after earning her 29 previous caps off the bench. Leroux was a menace all game long and had numerous chances to score, especially in the second half when she saw two shots from close range kick-saved by Scotland's back-up goalkeeper Shannon Lynn, who came on for Gemma Fay at halftime. Center back Whitney Engen, who earned her first two caps at the 2011 Algarve Cup, also made her first-career start and went 90 minutes alongside Rachel Buehler.
Leroux almost scored a brilliant individual goal in the 48th minute when she beat a defender with a nifty nutmeg on the left end line, then beat another defender with a touch to the inside, but sprayed her shot wide right of the goal.
The Americans dominated the second half, out-shooting Scotland 11-3 after the break and were rewarded with two goals and a slew of close chances. Wambach made it 2-0 in the 51st minute after O'Reilly ran onto a pass slipped down the right wing. She pushed it forward into the penalty box for Leroux, who struck a low cross into the middle that Wambach finished with power on a diving header from close range.
Press came off bench in 61st minute for Wambach and played forward after getting her first start and scoring her first two goals from right midfield on Saturday.
Press made it 3-0 just three minutes after entering the game as midfielder Shannon Boxx led a break up the middle before playing a pass to her right into the penalty area. Press was wide open and had time to settle and choose a corner, crisply side-footing it into the right side of the net from 10 yards out.
Scotland pulled a goal back in the 81st minute as forward Suzanne Grant, who was playing in her 100th match for her country, skillfully volleyed home a cross from the left side, but by that time, the match had been decided.
Defender Crystal Dunn, a member of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, earned her first cap at the senior level when she came on for Ali Krieger in the 69th minute. U.S. forward Alex Morgan did not suit up for the match for precautionary reasons after twisting her anjle on Saturday.
U.S. captain Christie Rampone sat out the match to give some minutes to Whitney Engen and Rachel Buehler. It was the first U.S. match she had not played in since July 13, 2010 against Sweden in Omaha, Neb.