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December 1, 2012
US women get only two goals past veteran Ireland netminder

Megan Rapinoe netted the insurance tally as the US Women blanked Ireland 2-0 on Saturday night.
Megan Rapinoe netted the insurance tally as the US Women blanked Ireland 2-0 on Saturday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
GLENDALE, Ariz.---Goals by Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe gave the United States Women’s National Team a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at the University of Phoenix Stadium Saturday night.

Like they did four nights ago in Portland, the United States dominated the game, but the difference in the scoreline was the performance of veteran Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne, who made six saves in the second half.

It looked like the game was going to be a repeat of Wednesday’s 5-0 win when the United States took a quick lead just 49 seconds in.

Shannon Boxx sent a ball out wide, finding Morgan on the left side. Morgan settled it and sent a shot across the goalmouth, slotting it inside the far post.

Morgan set up the second goal, in the 38th minute, making a long run to catch up to a ball from Amy LePeilbet. Morgan cut the ball back to a trailing Rapinoe, who fired from the edge of the 18 yard box under Byrne.

Despite plenty of chances, that was it for the United States. In the 53rd minute, Byrne made a foot save on a shot by Carli Lloyd, moments after she dove to parry Lloyd’s long-range blast away from the goal.

In the 62nd minute, Byrne made a point blank save on a shot by Abby Wambach, and three minutes later, the Ireland goalkeeper made a fingertip save that tipped Lloyd’s 25-yard rocket off the bar.

Lloyd tried another shot from distance in the 74th minute, but the Irish ‘keeper again was up to the task. She then stopped a point blank shot by Sydney Leroux, who scored twice in Wednesday’s game in Portland.

Byrne almost had a flub in the 81st minute, letting a slow roller from the left side by Cheney go through her legs, only to have it cleared off the line by a defender.

The Untied States used all three of its goalkeepers, and none was tested. Starter Hope Solo made way for Jillian Loyden in the 23rd minute. Nicole Barnhart took over in the 47th minute, and made the only U.S. save of the game, pushing a shot in the 80th minute by Sophie Perry out for a corner kick.

The win was the second straight for the U.S. on their post-Olympic Fan Celebration Tour, after playing back-to-back ties with Germany, the only real test on the exhibition schedule.

The ten-game slate closes out with three games against China, on December 8 in Detroit, December 12 in Houston and December 15 in Boca Raton. Interim coach Jill Ellis will handle the team through the rest of the tour, but new coach Tom Sermanni is expected to attend the final three games.

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