(Washington D.C.)-The U.S. Women’s National team ended the summer on a high note with a 7-0 victory over Mexico in front of 12,594 fans at RFK stadium in the nation’s capitol.
A game that started out tight for the first ten minutes quickly turned around for the U.S. when veteran forward Abby Wambach scored in the 11th minute. It was the 161st career international goal for Wambach who also had three assists on the night.
But it was Sydney Leroux who was given the start opposite Wambach on the forward line in place of an injured Alex Morgan that stole the show and sealed the game for the Americans. Leroux scored three goals within a nine minute span and then finished off her night by adding a fourth goal minutes before the first half ended.
Rachel Buehler scored in the second half only minutes after she entered the game replacing captain Christie Rampone on the back line. It was the fifth international goal for Buehler. And newcomer Morgan Brian playing in only her second game for the U.S. Women’s senior team added the seventh goal of the night.
Leroux spoke with U.S. Soccer after the game about her performance against Mexico.
“I’ve been feeling confident. I think that NWSL [National Women’s Soccer League] did help me in my confidence and being able to take people on more and use my speed. You never think that you’re going to score four goals but it ended up working out. I was in the right place at the right time and I had great service.”
The international friendly featured an opportunity for women’s soccer to capitalize on the end of the National Women’s Soccer League, which held its championship game this past weekend in Rochester. The league is made up of several Mexican players thanks to the Mexican Soccer Federations cooperation with U.S. Soccer in subsidizing their players.
For Coach Sermanni last night proved that he has a lot of depth on his squad and he has a problem that most coaches would envy-he may have too much talent. Last night’s starting eleven lacked several national team veterans that have played a key role in the success of the team over the past few years. Notable players who were not with the team were Tobin Heath, Ali Krieger and Megan Rapinoe. Heath scored the game-winning goal for the Portland Thorns last Saturday in the NWSL championship game over the Western NY Flash. Then she quickly set off for France to be with her European club PSG as they begin their season. Krieger also is playing in Europe and Rapinoe has been given a few weeks to rest up before she returns to her French team as well.
Sermanni knowing that he still has a few months before qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup begins in 2014 is using this time to give his younger players an opportunity to prove that they belong full time with the team. Erika Tymrak was called up for this game after having a breakout season with her squad FC Kansas City that earned her NWSL rookie of the year honors. Tymrak who will spend the winter playing in Germany for Bayern Munich played 70 minutes for Sermanni and should expect to see more time with the national team.
Leroux however has posed an even bigger quandary for Sermanni as she made just her sixth career start for the national team but with her four goals is clearly making a push for a starting spot. Leroux has taken over the title of “super sub” but when given a starting position it is hard to deny just how good she is for ninety minutes.
Yet Wambach and Morgan proved in their Olympic run last year that they make a dynamic duo on the top line so it will be interesting if Sermanni looks to break up the pair that accounted for 55 goals in 2012. Wambach spoke with U.S. Soccer after the game about the depth on the national team.
“I’ve said time and time again that Tom has a difficult job over the next two years deciding what the team is going to be, who are going to be the starters. In the end it’s going to be about who is playing well at the time and who is healthy. Some of that is a little bit of luck and the other part of it is his job and that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.”
The U.S. Women will get approximately six weeks off before returning to action in mid-October, game still to be announced.