Photo by ISIPhotos.com
BY DAN KARELL
No Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, or Shannan Boxx in the starting lineup?
The US Women’s National Team cruised to a 5-0 victory over China in their second match at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. The Americans currently sit atop Group B with six points in two games, and have one match remaining, against Sweden on March 11.
Becky Sauerbrunn captained a squad that featured a mix of experience and fresh faces trying to break in. Manager Tom Sermanni gave starts to defender Whitney Engen, midfielder Kristie Mewis, and Christen Press, each of whom have less than five caps in their international careers.
The Americans got on the board in the 15th minute, a counter-attack launched speed demon Sydney Leroux into the final third, and she finished easily to give the US a 1-0 lead. The lead was doubled in the 32nd minute, when Ali Krieger scored her first goal for team USA, after getting on the end of a cross from Alex Morgan.
A minute after the second half began, the US extended the lead when China’s Wu Haiyan deflected a trademark Megan Rapinoe free kick into her own net. The lead became four in the 64th minute when Press continued her blisteringly hot form, scoring her fourth goal in four games. Finally, Engen was there in the 84th to put China out of their misery, scoring her team’s fifth goal by collecting a deflected show from substitute Heather O’Reilly. It was also Engen’s first goal for her country.
18-year-old Lindsey Horan won her first cap for team USA when she replaced Christen Press in the 73rd minute. The Golden, Colorado native plays her club soccer for Paris Saint-Germain.
After sitting out Friday’s match, Abby Wambach is likely to return to the field to face Sweden on Monday. Wambach currently has 154 goals, four behind Mia Hamm’s all-time record for the US Women’s National Team.
The USWNT has extended their winning-streak against China to 21 matches.
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