July 19, 2009
Wambach nets 100th in 1-0 U.S. win
Rochester, N.Y. ---Abby Wambach scored her 100th international career goal in front of a hometown crowd of 8,433 that included her parents as the United States edged Canada, 1-0, at Marina Auto Stadium Sunday.
|Abby Wambach scored her 100th career goal on Sunday
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Wambach became the fifth player in U.S. womenís soccer history to score 100 goals in the 75th minute, when second half sub Lauren Cheney touched a ball from midfield to Wambach, breaking on the left side. Wambach got the ball at the top of the penalty area, ran in on goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and finished with a low shot to the far post.
Wambach is fourth on the all-time U.S. list behind Mia Hamm (158 goals), Kristine Lilly (129 goals) and Michelle Akers (105) goals.
"I canít really describe the emotion," Wambach said. "I donít think itís really set in quite yet. Itís been a long year and to come home to score the 100th goal here in Rochester couldnít be more of a picture perfect ending. I would give any Olympic gold to do that. I think itís pretty fitting to give back to my community where I grew up that gave me everything. Rochester has given me so much. Iím very proud to do it here to give the fans something to scream about and my family is pretty proud, Iím sure.Ē
Asked if she was relieved to score No. 100, Wambach replied, ďI donít know if youíve seen my face for the past 30 minutes after the game ended, but thank God itís over, and thank God I did it here. Everyone who came to this game, including myself, was expecting me to do it here, putting the ball on a platter for me. Itís on ESPN, all these different factors involved, and I have 100 friends and family sitting in that section. Some might call it pressure, I just call it another added incentive, a bonus if you will, if I do score.Ē
U.S. coach Pia Sundhage could not have been happier for her veteran striker.
"Iím happy to be here right now, sitting on the bench to see that goal happen," she said. "Itís fantastic. This is awesome.
ďSheís been playing better and better. You have to remember, sheís coming off an injury. Sheís picking up her game from one game to another and sheís improved her game tremendously. She will be important to our team in 2011, Iím telling you that.Ē
The U.S. dominated play, outshooting the Canadians 12-1, but though the Americans came close several times, it took almost the entire game to solve Canadaís defense.
Angela Hucles, the leading scorer at last yearís Olympics, hit a 20-yard cracker off the crossbar in the eighth minute.
In the 41st minute Wambach ran onto a ball in the area from Megan Rapinoe, but she was stifled by two Canadian defenders. After winning the ball back, Wambach managed a weak 18-yard shot at LeBlanc.
Wambach was taken down just outside the penalty area in the 61st minute. Angela Hucles placed a nfree kick in front of the net, but Wambach and Shannon Boxx missed it as the ball went wide.
Only two minutes later Wambach had a chance to break the scoreless tie when she ran onto a ball from Boxx, but her shot went wide at the far post.
Canada had a chance to take the lead in the 69th minute, when Christine Sinclair, who also entered the match with 99 career goals, sent a ball over the U.S. backline. Chelsea Stewart was alone as she ran onto the ball, but defender Heather Mitts, made a run and blocked her shot.
Wambach, who nearly a year ago to the day broke her leg before the Beijing Olympics, ended the deadlock in the 75th minute, becoming the ninth player in womenís soccer history to top the 100-goal mark. One of those other players, Carolina Moraci, watched from Canadaís bench, having taken over as their coach earlier this year.
ďI think itís pretty fitting that Lauren Cheney, the girl that replaced me going to the Olympics after my leg breaking, played me an amazing ball," Wambach said. "I took a great first touch, and just hit it far post. Thankfully, it didnít go wide. I was peeling out, truckiní to the sideline because I thought it was going in."
Ironically, Wambachís former team mate, Mia Hamm, the all-time leading scorer in womenís soccer history, also scored her 100th goal in Rochester.
Wambach came close to setting up a second U.S. goal in the 84th minute, when she made a run to the top of the left side of the penalty area. She sent a line-hugging pass across the top of the box. Cheney let the ball go through to Rapinoe on the far side, but her shot went high.
The U.S. will face Canada again on Wednesday at Blackbaude Stadium in Charleston, SC at 7pm ET (FSC/FSC Espanol).