July 5, 2008
U.S. women blank Sweden, 1-0
Skelleftea, Sweden -- Carli Lloyd connected in the 39th minute and the U.S. Women's National Team's defense made it hold up en route to a 1-0 international friendly victory over Sweden as the Americans completed a sweep of its two Scandinavian matches Saturday.
|Carli Lloyd scored her second goal in as many games to lead the U.S. to a 1-0 win over Sweden.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
It was the first meeting between the two teams in Sweden and also marked the first time U.S. coach Pia Sundhage has coached against her home country.
“I thought it was a pretty interesting tactical battle and a physical game, especially in the midfield," Sundhage said. "It was really good to play against Sweden as they are a great team and that is important when you go into the Olympics.”
U.S. striker Abby Wambach, who failed to score her 100th international goal, put the win for Sundhage into perspective.
“Of course, it’s great, but if it were another coach it would be just as good of a win," she said. "It’s a little bit sweeter because it’s here in her home country, but Sweden is a great team and they made a lot of subs towards the end of the game so it shows that their reserves are as quality as their starters.”
In a fairly even first half that featured one or two good chances for each team, Lloyd scored what would be the winning goal six minutes before halftime.
The goal originated off a corner kick from the right side. Lloyd took it short to Lindsay Tarpley, who touched it back to her as she overlapped to the inside. The U.S. midfielder dribbled square into the penalty area, beating at least three Swedish defenders with some stop-and-go moves. She then moved into the middle of the box and hit a left-footed, 15-yard shot that skimmed off the leg of a Swedish defender and into the left corner. Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, who was on her wrong foot, could only watch the ball spin into the net.
It was Lloyd’s seventh goal of the year and second in as many games after also scoring against Norway July 2 in Fredrikstad during the Americans' 4-0 victory.
“The results itself is not that important," Sundhage said. "Of course you gain some confidence, but we working on some tactical stuff. At halftime, it was nice to hear the players say they need challenge themselves and not play that direct."
The win improved the U.S. record this year to 19-0-1 with two matches left before the Beijing Olympics. They have 13 shutouts, including five in a row.
The U.S. team returns home tomorrow and will re-group in Denver, Colo., July 11 to prepare for the first of two send-off matches against Brazil leading into the Ammer Games. The U.S. team faces the Brazilians on July 13 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (4 p.m. ET, ESPN) in a match presented by Dodge before traveling to San Diego for the second leg on July 16 at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego (9 p.m. ET).
Asked what she wanted to accomplish prior to the Olympics, Sundhage replied, “Continue what we are doing and emphasize finding the rhythm. We are trying to speed up the game and slow it down a bit and try different players off the bench because the bench will be very important in the Olympics.”