Sunday, May 27, 2012

USWNT routs China

By John McMullen

CHESTER, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Alex Morgan loves the pitch at PPL Park.

The California native scored her first ever goal for the U.S. Women's National Team in Chester back in 2010 and added two more tonight as well as an assist as the Americans topped China 4-1 in front of a sellout 18,573  on the Delaware Riverfront.

USWNT F Alex Morgan
Only one American soccer team will be going to London this summer for the Olympic Games and it was at PPL on Sunday. The U.S. Women did what our men couldn't, qualify for the Summer Games that begin on July 27.

Preparation has begun in earnest for the games and the No. 1 ranked USWNT routed China after a shaky start.

The women, who are coming off a second place finish to Japan in the World Cup, are the favorites for London after winning the past two Gold Medals and three of the four played.

The U.S. has quite a history with China winning the 1999 World Cup over the country on penalty kicks in front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl. Brandi Chastain capped things there, tearing off her shirt in a celebration that still might be the most famous moment is U.S. Soccer history.

Since then Chinese have fallen on hard times since and are now ranked just 18th in the world and did not qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

However, China surprisingly cashed in first against a rusty American side that hadn't been on the pitch since a 3-1 win over Brazil on April 3 in Chiba, Japan. Zhang Rui got behind the defense in the 23rd minute and beat Hope Solo to the far side.

Morgan evened things from the area in the 34th, finding the right corner of the net behind Zhang Yue, her 23rd marker as a member of the USWNT.

It didn't take long for the Americans to go on top when Chinese captain Zhou Gaoping headed in an own goal after a scrum in front during the 36th minute.

Morgan put things out of reach in the 50th minute, out wrestling the defender for the ball before exploding a left-footed kick past Zhang.

Morgan finally finished things in the 83rd minute with a beautiful throw in from the right side that found fellow veteran forward Abby Wambach, who put it home from a tough angle.

"It's always so awesome to play in front of a sellout crowd," Wambach said after the match. "It lets us know that there is a big tournament coming up for us."

"I'm very happy scoring goals but the happiest thing for us was we changed the game," added U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. "We struggled a bit in the first half but we turned it around in the second half and the crowd was great. You look at the crowd like this and it makes a difference.

"In the Olympics we'll have big crowds and in the World Cup we had big crowds. You have to deal with that feeling and you should take advantage of it. Playing in front of this crowd is almost like having a 12th player and it's fantastic." 


* The only other USWNT game at PPL Park was a 1-1 tie with China on Oct. 6, 2010. Not in an Olympic year that one drew just 2,500. Morgan's first goal as a member of the USWNT came in that game to even it with just seven minutes left.

*The USWNT is 11-1-1 this year with three matches to go before the London Games. The women will play Sweden in Halmstad, Sweden on June 16, Japan in Halmstad on June 18 and Canada in Sandy, Utah on June 30. Their only setback this year was a 1-0 loss to Japan in Portugal back on March 5.

*Wambach has 179 career caps for the USWNT and 135 goals. She sits only behind Mia Hamm (158) on the USA all-time scoring list.

*Lauren Cheney, the UCLA product that is the girlfriend of the Sixers' Jrue Holiday, came on as a substitution for Carli Lloyd in the 46th minute and made a big difference in the midfield, so much so that she was named the Bud Light Woman of the Match over both Morgan and Wambach.

- U.S. Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Women's National Team vs. China
Date: May 27, 2012
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: PPL Park; Chester, Pa.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 18,573 (sell out)
Weather: 82 degrees, warm, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F

USA                        2 2 4
CHN                       1 0 1

CHN - Zhang Rui (Lou Jiahui)                22rd minute
USA - Alex Morgan                              34
USA - own goal (Zhou Gaoping)             36
USA - Alex Morgan (Christie Rampone)  50
USA - Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)    83
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet (11-Sydney Leroux, 81), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 62), 19-Rachel Buehler, 5-Kelley O'Hara; 9-Heather O'Reilly (8-Amy Rodriguez, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd (12-Lauren Cheney 46), 15-Megan Rapinoe; 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 14-Meghan Klingenberg, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

CHN: 1-Zhang Yue; 3-Zhou Gaoping, 4-Li Jiayue, 5-Wang Dongni, 12-Zhao Hongli (17-Pang Fengyue, 85); 6-Ren Guixin (23-Li Wen 56), 14-Liu Shukun, 16-Wang Xin (15-Xu Yanlu, 68; 21-Wang Lisi, 87), 18-Han Peng (19-Zhou Feifei, 39), 25-Zhang Rui (10-Ma Xiaoxu, 78); 11-Lou Jiahui
Subs not used: 22-Wang Fei
Head coach: Hao Wei

Statistical Summary: USA / CHN
Shots: 18 / 5
Shots on Goal: 7 / 1
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 11
Offside: 2 / 3
Misconduct Summary:
CHN --Ren Guixin (caution)       18th minute
USA - Sydney Leroux (caution)  90+1
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marlene Duffy (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Veronica Perez (USA)
Fourth Official: Kari Seitz (USA)
Bud Light Woman of the Match:
Lauren Cheney

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