March 6, 2013
IT'S ABOUT THE CUP ...
... not about breaking any scoring records, Abby Wambach says
ALBUFEIRA, Portugal -- If she is wondering about passing Mia Hamm on the all-time goal-scoring list, it certainly isn't on the mind of Abby Wambach.
The USA striker took another step toward tying and then surpassing Hamm's record of 158 goals by tallying No. 154 in the 3-0 victory over Iceland in the opening match of the Algarve Cup on Wednesday.
“Right now, my thoughts are not about that," Wambach said. "It’s about the Algarve Cup and getting the wins we need to get to the final. This isn’t an easy tournament to win. There are great teams in this tournament, and if the goals come from me, or Alex [Morgan], or Boxxy [Shannon Boxx] or [Rachel] Buehler, so be it. As long as we are on the right side of the scoreboard with the amount of goals that we need to with that game, that’s the most important part.”
In the first half, the Americans hardly looked like the team that captured its third consecutive Olympic gold medal in London last summer. They had trouble stringing together passes and establishing a rhythm.
“We started off slow," Wambach said. "There weren’t one or even two reasons for it, but in the end, often times we get in the locker room and sort things out. We really needed to get our outside backs into the attacking third and that really did sort out a lot of the lethargy we felt in the first half.
Wambach scored the U.S.'s third goal, putting home an Alex Morgan pass, into the Iceland goal in the 74th minute.
"The fact that we can recover and still make a go of it in the second half says a lot about who we are as a team and shows a lot to the younger players about the expectations of what this team is about.”
Wambach, the FIFA women's World Player of the Year, said she realized it was quite a responsibility after winning that honor in January.
“Whenever you are awarded such an honor, you want to represent it in the right way," she said. "The only way we can keep women’s football moving forward is to come back stronger and better," she said. "We’ve had a long four years, so I definitely took a break. Getting back into the swing of things is a bit more difficult as an older player, but I am optimistic about the way our team is playing."