USA women defeat Australia in San Antonio
EL Paso, TX — The U.S. Women's National Team won its sixth straight game and stayed unbeaten this year with a 4-0 victory against Australia in front of 19,109 festive fans at the Alamodome.
Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd scored the game's first two goals before 15 minutes were gone. After the break, the USA's all-time leading goal scoring leader Abby Wambach tallied her 162nd before 57th-minute substitute Christen Press scored her seventh goal in just 10 U.S. WNT games in second-half stoppage time.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo had five saves as she recorded her 67th shutout and first clean sheet of 2013. She is now just four behind all-time leader Briana Scurry who had 71 shutouts from 1994-2008.
The USA earned its seventh shutout this year and has out-scored its past three opponents by a 16-0 margin.
The U.S. next heads to San Francisco for the start of a two-game set against New Zealand on Sunday, Oct. 27, at Candlestick Park (kickoff at 3:30 p.m. PT). The two teams will then travel to Columbus, Ohio, for the second leg on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Columbus Crew Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET). Both games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.
For the first time in his tenure, U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni went up against an Australia side that he coached during two different stints over an 11-year span. In 24 all-time meetings, the USA has never lost to Australia (22-0-2; 12-0-1 at home) and that streak was never in jeopardy.
The USA's first two tallies both came off superb volleys. In the sixth minute, 2013 National Women's Soccer League Defender of the Year Becky Sauerbrunn took the free kick from near the right sideline. Australia headed the ball high into the air, but not far enough out of their defensive zone. The ball fell to Holiday, the 2013 NWSL MVP, and she made perfect contact from just inside the penalty box. Holiday's strike clipped and Australian defender and took a deflection into the right side of the net for the opening goal. It marked Holiday's first goal since she changed the name on the back of her jersey following her marriage earlier this year and was the 21st for the former Lauren Cheney.
In the 14th minute, the U.S. added to its lead when North Carolina senior Crystal Dunn pressed the attack up the right side. The ball found forward Alex Morgan, who slipped a pass on the ground across the top of the penalty area. An Australian defender partially deflected the pass, but it bounced twice perfectly to Lloyd who sizzled a left-footed shot into the right side of the net for the 2-0 lead.
With the goal, Lloyd tied National Soccer Hall of Famer Julie Foudy (45 goals from 1988-2004) for ninth place on the USA's all-time scoring list. She also tied Foudy for the most goals ever scored by a player who played exclusively midfield during her WNT career.
Wambach's lone score came atypically with the outside of her right foot. The goal came after the U.S. broke down Australia's defense with swift passes - as they did for most of the afternoon - and the ball came to Lloyd who chipped a cross with great feel that landed right in the path of Wambach at the left post. Wambach was able to reach the pass before Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams could rush off her line to disrupt, and the USA's 5-foot-11 forward redirected the ball with the outside of her right foot, rolling her shot into the lower right corner for a 3-0 lead in the 56th minute.