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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

June 2, 2013
SECOND-HALF SURGE
USA women score 3 times in the final 23 minutes to register 3-0 win over Canada


Alex Morgan had two second half goals as the U.S. defeated Canada 3-0 on Sunday
Alex Morgan had two second half goals as the U.S. defeated Canada 3-0 on Sunday
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
TORONTO -- So much for the grudge match.

The U.S. Women's National Team rebounded from a lackluster first half to strike three times after the break, two on similar finishes from Alex Morgan and a stoppage time goal from Sydney Leroux, en route to a 3-0 victory against Canada in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,453 fans on Sunday night.

A partisan crowd filled BMO Field to watch the first match between the two teams since the epic semifinal of the 2012 Olympics, a match the USA won 4-3 on a goal from Morgan in the third minute of stoppage time of the second extratime period.

The Canadians were hoping to avenge that defeat because several players felt they were robbed of a win by some controversial decisions by the referee.

This game did not have the same drama, but after neither team could generate much offense in the first half on a windy day, the USA found the net three times in the final 23 minutes.

Abby Wambach, who entered the game with 155 international goals, did not score and remained three goals behind Mia Hamm in her quest to become the all-time women's goal-scorer in the world.

The USA's second half, which was played with the wind at their backs, was much stronger than the first and it seemed a goal was coming after Morgan's breakaway in the 53rd minute was thwarted by a last-second tackle and Wambach's diving header off a corner kick in the 55th was cleared off the line by Kadeisha Buchanan.

Canada played a five-woman back line that made it difficult for the Americans to find space in the attacking third, but in the 70th minute Wambach finally unlocked the defense with a slipped pass to Morgan who was streaking into the left side of the penalty area. Morgan powered through Canadian defender Emily Zurrer and drove her shot low from a steep angle across the goal and just inside the left post from 15 yards out.

Less than three minutes later, Morgan hit almost exactly the same piece of net, this time off a pass from Tobin Heath, who lofted her serve from the center of the field, setting Morgan free behind the defense. Morgan shot from perhaps an even sharper angle this time, and the ball scooted just inside the left post once again to make it 2-0.

The USA outshot Canada, 13-2, and did not allow a shot on goal, but the Canadians pushed hard for a score until Leroux put a capper on the afternoon with a goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

Leroux, who was born in Vancouver, B.C., to a Canadian mother and American father, played for Canada at the youth level before switching affiliation to the USA in 2008. When she entered the match in the 74th minute, boos rained down on the field, as they did every time she touched the ball during the game.

She provided a signature moment in her career when Wambach sprung her behind the defense with seconds left in the game. Leroux accelerated away from a defender, got Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod to commit, then rounded her to the left and stuffed the ball into the open net from close range. It was her 17th international goal, 16 of which have come off the bench.

Leroux received a yellow card for her emotional celebration in front of the enthusiastic Canadian supporters section.

The U.S. Women's National Team will come together next on June 10 as the squad heads into preparation for a pair of friendly matches against the Korea Republic on June 15 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (7 p.m. ET on ESPN3) and on June 20 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network).


   
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