Wambach leads U.S. past Scotland before record crowd at LP Field

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 11:07pm

Abby Wambach scored in her 200th appearance and the U.S. dominated Scotland, winning 3-1 before an announced crowd of 14,224 at a cold LP Field on Wednesday.

Wambach's header from forward Sydney Leroux in the 52nd minute was the 153rd goal of her career and pulled her within five of Mia Hamm's all-time U.S. and international records. After the game, Wambach, the U.S. captain, downplayed the achievement.

"I don't honestly like to hype [milestones] up for the sole reason that it's a team game," she said. "As many games as I've played for this team, you need your teammates to score goals and win games. It was pretty appropriate, Sydney is my roommate and I've seen her grow up on this team, so it was fitting for her to give me that assist."

The crowd broke an attendance record for the U.S. women in Tennessee, eclipsing a 1997 mark of 13,081 at a 1997 game in Chattanooga.

"Fantastic [crowd]. The fans since the 2011 World Cup, we're playing to more than 10,000 fans in every stadium and you couldn't be more proud from my perspective because it's taken us a long time to get back there," Wambach said. "It's taken a lot of hard work from U.S. Soccer and from the players, and I'm proud of the fact that these stadiums are getting full — though obviously not in football-sized stadiums."

With only one Scottish player who made the combined Great Britain team for the Olympics, midfielder Kim Little, there was a clear talent deficit on the field. The visitors countered a potent U.S. attack with an attempt to clog the field. They played as many as five defenders and four in the midfield.

After an opening 10 minutes during which the sides traded possessions, the U.S. pushed the Scots into their own end for a string of chances. In the 21st minute, Megan Rapinoe settled her own headed ball and coolly curled a right-footed ball into the far side of the net for a 1-0 U.S. lead.

The partisan audience was in the mood to see Wambach score on her milestone, but the forward failed to find the range in the first half, missing headers in the 13th and 39th minutes. Finally, in the second half, she broke through.

"You only get so many opportunities to play for your country. You only get so many opportunities to score in front of the net," she said. "I've been given the gift of scoring goals, and I hope I can continue to do this same thing for as long as I possibly can. It was a nice night. Megan scores a great goal. I thought Sydney was going to get one."

Newcomer Cristien Press, who replaced Wambach, added a third in the 64th minute and the game was essentially over. Scotland pulled one goal back in the 81st minute as a substitutes Emma Mitchell and Joelle Murray combined to beat keeper Hope Solo.

Coach Tom Sermanni told Wambach at halftime that she had to get a goal.

"I told her that she wasn't coming off until she scored," he said, laughing. "I mean, what a career. And it's still continuing. You know every game she plays she either scores or she's in the mix and creates so many opportunities that stuff happens for other players. It's a great way for her to celebrate her 200th game."



• The U.S. outshot Scotland 19-7 and held a whopping 10-1 advantages in shots on goal. It was a relatively clean match with only 14 fouls and no cards between the two sides.

• The game was the second of a two-game series with the Scots ahead of next month's Algarve Cup in Portugal, where they will face Iceland, China and Sweden. 

• Olympic star Alex Morgan didn't dress for the game after coming off with an ankle injury in the first-half of the 4-1 win over Scotland in Jacksonville.

• Six of the the U.S starting lineup also started in the 2-1 victory over Japan in last summer's gold medal match at the London Olympics.

• With 200 caps, Wambach is eighth on the all-time appearance list and, barring injury, will likely pass Kate Markgraf (201) and Tiffeny Milbrett (204) at the Algarve Cup next.



U.S. (4-4-2)
1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger (27-Crystal Dunn, 69), 28-Whitney Engen, 19-Rachel Buehler, 5-Kelley O’Hara (Lori Lindsey, 85), 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx (10-Carli Lloyd, 67), 12-Lauren Cheney, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 14-Sydney Leroux (17-Tobin Heath 81), 20-Abby Wambach (Capt.) (22-Christen Press, 61)

Substitutions Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone, 21-Jill Loyden 

Scoring: Rapinoe (21'), Wambach (54'), Press (54')

Scotland (5-4-1)
1-Gemma Fay (capt.) (12-Shannon Lynn, 46); 2-Rhonda Jones, 10-Jennifer Beattie (17-Frankie Brown, 56), 4-Elish McSorley, 3-Rachael Small; 14-Leanne Crichton (18-Emma Mitchell, 66), 5-Leanne Ross, 7-Hayley Lauder (15-Joelle Murray, 78), 8-Kim Little, 13-Jane Ross9- (Suzanne Malone, 89), 6-Joanne Love (11-Suzanne Grant, 76)

Substitutions Not Used: 16-Lisa Evans

Scoring: Grant (82')

2 Comments on this post:

By: joe41 on 2/15/13 at 3:16

If you are going to say announced crowd, then you better doing it for EVERY sporting event you have in this newspaper.

By: courier37027 on 2/16/13 at 2:44

Joe, I agree. Event sponsors probably got some comped tickets. Sponsor employees likely passed on attending soccer game, but that ticket was counted in announced number.