February 26, 2010
Wambach’s two goals lift U.S. Women over Norway
OLHÃO, Portugal – Abby Wambach’s second goal of the game, in stoppage time, propelled the U.S. Women past Norway 2-1 in Friday’s Group B match at the Algarve Cup.
|Abby Wambach scored her 13th and 14th Algarve Cup goals in Friday’s win, making her the top scorer in the history of the tournament.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The victory sets up a March 1 showdown with Sweden for a berth in the tournament championship match. A tie or win over the Swedes will send the Americans through to the final.
An all-but unplayable field, soaked by heavy rains, soon leached all elements of artistry from Friday’s match. Long balls and direct attacks were the order of the day, and the keys to the U.S. victory.
Wambach’s Washington Freedom teammate, Lori Lindsey, set up the day’s first strike with a long service into the Norway goal end in the 13th minute. Wambach ran down the pass, muscled her way past the lone defender, and beat goalkeeper Christine Nilsen one-on-one from near the top of the box.
The goal energized Norway’s offense, and only solid play by U.S. ‘keeper Nicole Barnhart kept the slim lead intact through halftime. However, a wave of offensive-minded substitutions in the 61st minute paid off for Norway as Isabel Herlovsen leveled the score in the 63rd. Leni Larsen Kaurin got the assist with a cross inside the six-yard box for the onrushing Herlovsen, who flicked a header past Barnhart.
Wambach appeared to restore the U.S. lead before the 70-minute mark, after roofing the rebound of Carli Lloyd’s deflected shot, but the play was whistled offside. The U.S. striker threatened again in the 85th minute, but Nilsen was able to tip the ball around the left post. Yael Averbuch challenged the Norwegian netminder from distance, and Heather O’Reilly sent Nilsen leaping to top a dangerous shot over the bar before the 90-minute mark.
Finally, more than two minutes into stoppage time, Lauren Cheney took a desperation throw-in from O’Reilly and snapped a sharp cross from near the end line for Wambach at the far post. Wambach split two defenders and got enough of a toe on the ball to propel it into the net.
Wambach’s two goals increased her international total to 103 and gave her 14 in the Algarve Cup, moving her past Kristine Lilly as the top U.S. scorer in the history of this tournament. Wambach has now scored four goals since returning from the broken leg that knocked her out of the 2008 Olympics.
In Group A, China defeated Denmark 2-0 while Germany routed Finland 7-0. China would have to defeat Germany in the final Group A match to earn a place in the championship game. The Germans need only a tie to advance to the March 3 final at Stadium Algarve.