Posted on June 30, 2012
SANDY, UTAH — Second-half substitute Amy Rodriguez broke a 1-1 tie in the 85th minute to boost the U.S. women to a 2-1 victory over rival Canada in the Send-Off match for both teams prior to the London Olympics on Saturday afternoon.
The win increased the Americans’ unbeaten streak over Canada to 26 matches.
“I think the first half was good,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “It was exactly what we expected and worked on. The game plan worked. The second half was a little shaky, we made four changes and it’s hard for the players to adjust right away. Despite that, if you look at the last 15 minutes, when we changed to 3-4-3 and really wanted to get that goal, I am really proud of our players. They believe in what they are doing and do it well.”
Rodriguez, who came on for an injured Alex Morgan early in the second half, connected for her 25th international goal. Megan Rapinoe sent in a left-wing cross that Abby Wambach backheeled to Rodriguez during a scramble in the penalty area. Rodriguez settled the pass down and slotted a three-yard shot home before 16,805 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Morgan was forced from the match after suffering a right leg injury in the 49th minute.
The U.S. received a gift in the 15th minute when Canada’s Carmelina Moscato scored an own goal as a defender accidentally knocked home a Rapinoe cross from the right flank into her own net.
The Canadians equalized in the 56th minute on a brilliant effort by Melissa Tancredi down the left side as she beat goalkeeper Hope Solo after Christine Sinclair’s right-sided pass sprung her.
Both teams had excellent opportunities in the waning minutes of the opening half that were thwarted by impressive individual efforts. In Canada’s first real strike on target, Sinclair unleashed a 20-yard shot that deflected off the sliding Amy LePeilbet, causing the ball to change direction as it skipped towards goal. Solo, who had been leaning towards her right, had to shift her weight and sprawl out to her left to come up with a one-handed diving save. With the ball still loose and teetering along the goal line, Solo covered it up next to the left post and hold off Kaylan Kyle, who was challenging for the rebound.
A minute later, Morgan almost put the U.S. up by two when she ran down a long ball inside the left side of the penalty area, cut back to lose two backtracking defenders and then curl a shot past McLeod. With the keeper beat, it looked like a sure goal, but defender Lauren Sesselmann cleared it off the line.
The U.S. players will head home for some well-deserved rest before traveling to the United Kingdom on July 10 to train at Middlesbrough for a week before making their way into Glasgow, Scotland, the location of their first two Olympic matches.
Photo: Amy Rodriguez scored heer 25th international goals for the USA. Scott Bales/YCJ
Categories: Canada, North America, Olympic Qualifying, U.S.A., Women
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez, Christine Sinclair, Hope Solo, Melissa Tancredi