Women's Soccer

Wambach, Rapinoe lead USWNT past China in Fan Tribute Tour finale

Photo by ISIphotos.com


Boca Raton, Fla. — The U.S. Women’s National Team capped off their golden year in style.

The U.S. finished a busy 2012 and their Fan Tribute Tour after ousting China, 4-1, behind two goals from Abby Wambach at FAU Stadium on Saturday night. Megan Rapinoe netted the winner in the game on a shot from 40 yards and Sydney Leroux also found the back of the net for the Americans, who improved to 8-0-2 on the tour with a strong performance in front of a crowd of 10,493.

“You never know what you miss until maybe you come after a long absence,” said Wambach, who played for the now-defunct, Boca Raton-based Magicjack team of WPS. “This has been a really great year and everyone’s really happy.”

Wambach scored her goals on each side of halftime, heading home crosses from Morgan and Rapinoe in the 18th and 64th minutes, respectively. The goals gave Wambach 152 in her career, putting the veteran striker six shy of Mia Hamm’s record for most international goals all-time.

Sandwiched in between Wambach’s goals was the winning strike from Rapinoe in the 36th minute. A poor backpass from China led to a hurried clearance by goalkeeper Wang Fei well off her line and it fell to Rapinoe, who then shot the ball from distance into the open net.

“As soon as it came off, I knew it was going in because I didn’t hit it that hard, wasn’t swerving,” said Rapinoe. “I hit it kind of right down the center, so it felt good as soon as it came off.”

China made things interesting when Han Peng turned Amy LePeilbet inside out before rifling a low shot to the far corner past a helpless Hope Solo, but the U.S. again took a two-goal lead through Wambach’s second headed finish just after the hour-mark.

Leroux capped the scoring three minutes from the final whistle, heading home a Heather Mitts cross to put an exclamation point on a successful 2012.

“This year has been the most amazing year of my life,” said Leroux. “I have teammates who have turned into some of my best friends and it’s been an emotional year and a great year. We’re ready to see our families but we’ve been together pretty much for a year straight, so I’m so happy to end on such a good note.”

The Americans are set to return to the field on Feb. 9 when they host Scotland at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. for the first game under new head coach Tom Sermanni.

    • ...

      This year they played 34, which is unusually high (5 Olympic Qualifying, 6 Olympics, 10 Fan Tribute Tour, 13 miscellaneous friendlies). They played 20 in 2011 (including the 6 World Cup games), and 18 in 2010.
      For comparison, over the past three years the MNT has averaged about 15 games per year.


      • Joe+G

        Of course, if they hadn’t won the Olympics, they would have played only 1 game vs. 10 afterward. Playing the games is what gets these ladies paid (and none of them played professionally elsewhere in 2012).


      • ...

        Right, that’s why I noted it was unusually high. They usually play 18-20 games/year, which isn’t all that much more than the men’s usual 14-18.


    • Mike

      It should be noted, they played a lot of games this year because of the Olympic victory and because of the lack of a pro league for them to play in.


  • jerp

    i think this title suggests a lot – mainly that wambach and rapinoe have been more influential than morgan this year


    • beachbum

      yet Morgan is the only US woman not named Hamm to score at least 20 goals and register at least 20 assists in the same season

      if Rapinoe and Wambach were more influential, it’s not because Morgan wasn’t incredibly influential too. If your point is that all three led the USWNT charge in kicking the world’s butt this year, OK. Otherwise, what’s your point?


    • kernel thai

      The title refers to the final game in which Wambach had two goals and Pinoe had a goal and an assist. It isnt a comment on the whole season.


  • juan

    Its a cash cow tour, designed to generate $$$$ with a secondary function of padding stats against weak teams.

    I’d be ashamed if I got a record buy playing a ton of games against these teams. It’s embarassing


  • Matt

    Elitist much Juan? You Think every single record hasnt been broken with a significant amount of weak teams in the mix? You think Messi’s goal scoring record was by playing in an overly balanced and competitive spanish league? HAH! you think Mia Hamm’s record was set playing only top 3 teams in the world? what a joke


    • Jay

      However, Messi only plays who’s in front of him. He doesn’t pick the teams he gets to play to get his record. This is more like a boxer padding his stats by fighting tomato cans. While a win is a win, a win setup against poor competition is looked down on.


  • kernel thai

    The only record broken was Sydney Leroux extended her own record for goals off the bench in a season to 14. Abby Wambach moved to with 6 goals of tying Mia Hamm’s record for most goal in a career. Wambach has 152 goal in 198 games compared to Hamm’s 158 in 275 games. Morgan & Wambach tied for the most goals by a strike team with 55. They r tied with Akers & Jennings from the 1991 team. As to strength of opponent, 1991 team had ten wins a margin of 5 goals or greater, four those with a margin of 10 goals or greater.


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