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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

July 2, 2008
99 AND COUNTING FOR WAMABCH
Hucles scores again in win over Norway


Angela Hucles scored another goal for the United States in their 4-0 win over Norway.
Angela Hucles scored another goal for the United States in their 4-0 win over Norway.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
FREDRIKSTAD, Norway– Abby Wambach scored the 99th goal of her career, and three other players added goals as the U.S. Women’s National Team won for the first time ever in Norway, 4-0. Lindsey Tarpley, Carli Lloyd and Boston resident Angela Hucles also scored for the U.S.

Tarpley got the USA started in just the fourth minute after Wambach received a throw-in inside the penalty area from deep on the left sideline. Wambach spun to the inside and played a pass to Tarpley, who pushed the ball past a defender and slid to cut her right-footed shot back into the left corner from 10 yards out.

The goal was Tarpley’s 10th of the year, marking the first time she’s achieved double-figures in a calendar year for the U.S. National Team.
After a relatively quiet first half, Norway produced a flurry of chances right before the break. The home team fired three shots in about a 90-second span, but could not turn the first two on goal – one a flying volley attempt from Lene Storlokken that went just wide left. U.S. ‘keeper Hope Solo grabbed the third one off the foot of Isabell Herlovsen.

The USA struck quickly in the second half as well. Just seven minutes after the break, Tarpley slid a nice ball down the left wing to Natasha Kai, who turned on the jets and blew past Norway’s left back into the penalty area. Lloyd was wide open making a slot run and smacked her first-time left-footed shot off the leg of Norwegian defender Marit Christensen and past goalkeeper Erika Skarbo from 12 yards out. It was Lloyd’s 16th international goal and sixth of 2008.

The USA got one more goal to seal the game in spectacular fashion after a short clearance from Skarbo landed at the feet of Hucles, who was about 40 yards from the net. Spying Skarbo way off her goal line, Hucles took a short touch and hit a screamer that soared over the Norwegian goalkeeper and just under the crossbar before stretching the back of the net. It was Hucles third goal of the year, all of which have come in dramatic fashion. She has also scored two stoppage game-winners this year .

Wambach capped the scoring in the 87th minute with her 99th career goal, running onto a through ball from substitute Amy Rodriguez before slotting her left-footed shot into the lower right corner. The goal gives Wambach 99 in 124 games and puts her within one of becoming the fifth U.S. player, and ninth female player in world history, to notch 100 career international goals.

"It's hard to play against us,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “You can keep up for 45 minutes, but after a while, because you have to run so much and stay so focused in defending, at the end of the day, so many times we look stronger at the end of the game."

Wamach could have made it 100 goals in this game as she had a great chance in the 22nd minute after Kai got behind the Norwegian defense in the left side of the penalty area, running onto an errant shot from Shannon Boxx. She cut the ball back with a hard cross on the ground that was cleared up in the air by a defender. Wambach came crashing through, but sent her header at a relatively open net over the crossbar from eight yards out.

Wambach had a good chance in the 78th minute as well, once again gettting around the Norwegian left back, but Skarbo made a nice save when the U.S. forward tried to blast her shot low into the near post.

The win marked the USA’s 10th consecutive victory over the Norwegians, which in the previous 10 games before this streak had beaten the USA six times and tied them once. The USA had lost and tied in its only previous two matches in Norway, those coming in 2000.

The U.S. team will leave Norway early on Thursday morning and travel to northern Sweden to prepare for its match against the Swedes on July 5 at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) at Norrvalla Stadium in Skelleftea.

The game will mark the return of Sundhage to her home country where she is widely hailed as one of its best-ever female players. Sundhage, who finished sixth in the voting for FIFA Player of the Century in 2000, will be coaching the USA against her homeland for the first time.
   
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