U.S. WNT Defeats China 4-1 in Front of 18,573 at PPL Park
CHESTER, Pa. (May 27, 2012) – A crowd of over 18,000 watched the U.S. Women’s National Team defeat China 4-1 on Sunday at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
“I’m very happy scoring goals but the happiest thing for us was we changed the game,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “We struggled a bit in the first half but we turned it around in the second half and the crowd was great. You look at the crowd like this and it makes a difference. In the Olympics we’ll have big crowds and in the World Cup we had big crowds. You have to deal with that feeling and you should take advantage of it. Playing in front of this crowd is almost like having a 12th player and it’s fantastic.”
China scored first in the 22nd minute against the run of play after Lloyd was dispossessed by several pressuring defenders near the top of the box on the left side. The ball rolled to Lou Jiahui who drove her dribble at U.S. captain Christie Rampone before dishing into the left side of the penalty area to Zhang Rui. The Chinese attacker was able to dribble uncontested almost all the way to the near post before slotting the ball home low into the right corner.
It took the USA only a dozen minutes to equalize and it came off a turnover in the Chinese defensive third. O’Reilly darted in to win a ball down the right wing and then accelerated into the penalty area before trying to find Morgan again. A defender got a foot on the ball, but it was deflected right into the path of Morgan who clinically bent her left-footed shot into the lower left corner from 14 yards out.
Just two minutes later the USA took the lead as Rapinoe served a free kick from the left wing into a dangerous spot at the far post. The ball was headed up into the air by a defender and it fell to Shannon Boxx, who sent her header back into the pack of players inside the six yard box. Wambach then got a head on it to nod the ball towards the net where it bounced in front of defender Zhou Gaoping, who found her body in poor position to clear. She tried to head the ball away, but instead sent it past her own goalkeeper and trickling into the lower right corner.
Morgan added her second of the game, and team-leading 14th of the year, in the 50th minute off a fantastic long ball from Rampone. Under pressure after a back pass from Amy LePeilbet, Rampone hit a first time ball over the back line to the streaking Morgan, who out-muscled and then out-ran the center back before placing her left-footed shot past Zhang and into the lower right corner from 18 yards out.
The fourth and final goal originated from a throw-in from the right side as Morgan threw the ball to Wambach, who spun around a defender to the end line and let the ball skip through into the penalty area. She then smashed her shot into the upper left corner from a sharp angle, giving Zhang no chance.
Abby Wambach’s goal was the 135th of her international career. She sits only behind Mia Hamm (158) on the USA all-time scoring list.
Alex Morgan upped her career goal total to 24 in just 39 caps.