TORONTO, Canada (May 25, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team scored twice in each half, getting goals from four different players to defeat Canada 4-0 in front of 10,255 fans at BMO Field. It was the USA’s first match in Canada since 2001.
Midfielder Shannon Boxx opened the scoring just 93 seconds into the match and midfielder Megan Rapinoe added a second just before the halftime. The USA put two more in the net during a four-minute span late in the game. Both second-half goals came from substitutes, as Lindsay Tarpley scored her 30th career goal in the 77th minute and 21-year-old Lauren Cheney knocked in a fantastic header in the 80th minute.
The USA dominated possession in a match played on the artificial surface at BMO Field and put together some excellent attacking soccer while out-shooting its northern neighbor by a 19-6 margin.
“I am happy about the performance and I am happy that we scored a goal on a corner kick,” said U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage. “That’s something we are starting to work on and I believe that come 2011, when the games are so tight, that set plays will be very, very important. So, four nice goals and a pretty good game on turf.”
Boxx’s strike, which was the USA’s first shot of the game, was her second goal of the year after scoring just once in 2008 and it came against her club teammate on the Los Angeles Sol in Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. It was also Boxx’s 20th international goal as she became the 16th female player in U.S. history to score 20 or more goals in her career.
The goal was created on the USA’s first piece of possession as right back Heather Mitts played a penetrating pass forward to Boxx from the right side of the field. Boxx dribbled hard toward the edge of the penalty area, and when no Canadian defender stepped up to challenge, unleashed a 20-yard shot from 10 yards right of the penalty arc that skidded into the lower left side netting.
Canada’s only good chance of the first half came in the 43rd minute on a long free kick from Kara Lang, but the shot flew wide right of Hope Solo’s goal.
The USA got a huge score just seconds before the halftime whistle after Heather O’Reilly fed Rapinoe above the penalty area on the left side. Rapinoe collected and dribbled toward her defender before cutting hard inside, losing Canadian back Brittany Timko. The nifty dribble created a sliver of space for her bending 16-yard shot that actually curved around Abby Wambach and her defender, who were screening LeBlanc, and then spun perfectly into the lower right corner. It was Rapinoe’s fourth international goal in just nine career caps.
The USA struggled to find its rhythm early in the second half as Canada picked up the pressure, but settled down and regained control before putting the match away in the 77th minute after Wambach earned a corner kick on the right side. It was Wambach who jumped over two defenders to get a head on the ball, sending it powerfully toward goal. The ball hit Canadian captain Christine Sinclair near the goal line, but Tarpley pounced on the loose ball to force it over the line and into the open net.
Wambach, who came into the match with 99 goals, will now have the chance to bag her historic 100th goal in her hometown of Rochester, N.Y., where the USA will play Canada in its next match on July 19. Canadian forward Christine Sinclair, who also came into the game with 99 goals, failed to hit the century mark as the U.S. defense did a fine job of keeping the star striker out of dangerous positions.
The final goal came after O’Reilly ran down a long pass on the right flank and struck a hard cross from the wing that deflected off a Canadian defender’s foot, but it had enough steam on it to sail towards the near post. Cheney was making a hard near post run and deftly re-directed the ball with a superbly angled header into the upper right corner from about five yards outside the post. It was Cheney’s fourth international goal in 17 career caps.
Amy LePeilbet got the start in the center defense with team captain Christie Rampone and played an excellent first half in her first cap since Sept. 13, 2006. She was replaced at halftime by Rachel Buehler, who also played an extremely solid 45 minutes, highlighted by a thunderous tackle on Canadian Melissa Tancredi in the waning minutes.
Canada’s best chance of the second half came in the 54th minute as the USA lost a ball in the back, but the Maple Leafs couldn’t capitalize as Jodi-Ann Robinson launched her shot over the goal from 25 yards out.
Besides the header off the corner kick that led to Tarpley’s goal, Wambach didn’t get too many clear chances for her 100th goal, but she did take a good swipe at a loose ball in the 62nd minute that fell close to her after a long free kick.
The USA hit a flurry of shots in the second half, highlighted by an O’Reilly blast from the top of the penalty area on the right side, but couldn’t bust through until Tarpley’s 77th minute score effectively put the game away.
U.S. goalkeepers Solo and Nicole Barnhart split the match, with Solo hitting some booming punts in the first half that caused some danger for the Canadian backline. Barnhart had a bit more to do in the second half in tidying up her penalty area, but was not forced to make a save.
Eighteen-year-old midfielder Christine Nairn became the first member of the USA’s 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup championship team to earn a senior team cap, coming on for Angela Hucles in the 83rd minute. Nairn was the eighth player to be given her first cap by U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage.
The U.S. players now head back to join their WPS clubs and will not come together again until mid-July for two more matches against Canada, on Sunday, July 19, at Rochester Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., and then again three days later on Wednesday, July 22, at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. These will be the USA’s first domestic matches of the year after playing the first five on the road and compiling a record of 4-0-1.
The game in Rochester kicks off at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN. The match in Charleston kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espa