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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

February 8, 2015
UNDERACHIEVERS
France beats USA women, 2-0


Abby Wambach failed to convert a penalty kick against France on Sunday.
Abby Wambach failed to convert a penalty kick against France on Sunday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
LORIENT, France - It's a good thing the kickoff of the Women's World Cup is four months away or the United States women would be in a whole lot of trouble.

The USA surrendered two goals within as many minutes and could not recover en route to a 2-0 loss to France in an international friendly before 15, 663 at Stade du Moustoir Sunday night.

Head coach Jill Ellis and her staff will have plenty to think about before the USA meets England at Milton Keynes on Friday. The Americans have now suffered back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 2002, and lost to the French for the first time in 17 meetings (14-2-1).

Deploying a lineup without several veteran players, the Americans looked inexperienced and endured some midfield woes against one of the favorites to win the Women's World Cup in Canada this summer. The USA started the match without goalkeeper Hope Solo (one-month suspension), veteran central defender Christie Rampone and midfielder Megan Rapinoe (both injured) and strikers Abby Wambach, who has scored a world-record 177 international goals, and Sydney Leroux (ankle injury).

Carli Lloyd, the goal-scoring hero of the past two Olympic gold-medal matches, was used at left midfield and was hardly a factor until she went back into central midfield.

Goalkeper Ashlyn Harris, trying to impress Ellis to secure a spot on the WWC team in Solo's absence, was solid in the opening half, making several vital stops. She proved to be mortal during the final 45 minutes.

Eugénie Le Sommer gave the hosts the lead in the 50th minute when she found room between two defenders and headed home Élodie Thomis' right-wing cross past Harris.

Barely a minute later, France celebrated yet again as Harris misjudged Jessica Houara’s right-wing crossed that barely made it into the left post for a 2-0 advantage.

It appeared the USA was going to be gifted a goal when the Swedish referee Pernilla Larsson ruled that a French player had fouled Wambach inside the penalty area although replays clearly showed that the veteran striker was fouled outside the area and tumbled in.

Justice was served as Wambach took a weak shot aimed at the lower left corner that goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi dived to make an easy save. Bouhaddi was credited with six saves, the USA's Harris three.
   
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