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March 28, 2010
A-Rod, Boxx, Cheney score for U.S.

Amy Rodriguez scored her first goal for the United States since the 2008 Olympics
Amy Rodriguez scored her first goal for the United States since the 2008 Olympics
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
SAN DIEGO---Amy Rodriguez, Shannon Boxx and Lauren Cheney all scored to give the United States Women’s National Team a 3-0 win over Mexico at Torrero Stadium on Sunday.

For Rodriguez it was her first goal since scoring against New Zealand in the 2008 Olympics, while for Cheney, it was her team-leading fifth goal of 2010 and ninth of her international career.

The U.S. outshot Mexico 21-2, including a 10-0 advantage in shots on goal as U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo did not need to make a save while recording her third shutout of the year.

Rodriguez’ goal, her seventh career international score, came on the USA’s first shot of the game. Heather O’Reilly played a ball over the top into the left side of the penalty area and Rodriguez brought it down expertly. Mexican goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar came charging off her line, but Rodriguez eluded her and rolled the ball into the open net from about 15 yards away.

The USA doubled its lead just before halftime as a long free-kick from right back Cat Whitehill soared into the penalty area. Tajonar came out to challenge in a busy pack of players but couldn’t hang onto the ball. It dropped to Boxx who swept it into the open net from about the penalty spot for her 21st international goal.

The USA added another score in the 72nd minute after Boxx won a header from a clearance in the midfield. The ball bounced to Cheney, who expertly rolled off a defender and burst into the penalty box, striking her shot off the ‘keepers hands and into the net.

The match marked the return of Kristine Lilly to the U.S. team. The most-capped player in soccer history extended her world record for international games played to 343 when she came on for Yael Averbuch in the 32nd minute. Lilly becomes the first player in U.S. history, and likely in world history, to play for her country in four different decades.

Rodriguez easily could have made it 2-0 in the 18th minute as a pass slipped past the Mexican backs to her inside the penalty area, but her toe-poke past Tajonar rolled just wide right.

The USA peppered the Mexican net in the second half. In the 52nd minute a bullet header from Abby Wambach that deflected off a Mexican defender before Tajonar grabbed the ball out of the air.

Lilly had a chance to get on the score sheet in the 53rd minute after Wambach touched a pass back to her at the top of the penalty box, but she spun her left-footed shot wide left from 20 yards. She also had a header from a tough angle go wide right off a cross from Kelley O’Hara in 78th minute. O’Hara, the 2009 MAC Hermann Trophy winner from Stanford University and a long-time standout on the USA’s youth national teams, earned her first cap with senior side when she came on for O’Reilly in the 63rd minute.

In the 64th minute Whitehill ripped a direct kick from 30 yards, but right into Tajonar’s midsection. One minute later, Cheney, who came on at halftime, powered around the left side of the Mexican defense and dribbled straight at the near post. Her shot was hard and Tajonar had to bat the ball away.

Lilly almost scored on a slick back-heel off a Boxx cross from the right, making a near post run and getting a flick on the ball, forcing Tajonar to pin it on the goal line with a save to her left.

In the 69th minute Cheney turned past the Mexican defense again, this time from the right, and touched a short pass to O’Hara inside the six yard box. Her shot was stuffed and Cheney got a swing at the rebound, but that too was blocked away.

As Mexico tired, the U.S. spent most of the last 20 minutes in the visitors’ half and a driven shot from Boxx from a steep angle near the right end line forced Tajonar to palm the ball over the goal.

Four minutes later, Lilly raced into the left side of the penalty area and lifted a cross to the far post that barely missed the sliding Wambach.

In the waning minutes Wambach and Cheney exchanged excellent crosses directly into the goal mouth, Cheney’s service coming off an overhead kick, but both players put close-range headers over the crossbar.

The U.S. concludes the two-game series against Mexico on Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

USA: Hope Solo; Cat Whitehill, Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Meghan Schnur (Stephanie Cox, 77); Heather O’Reilly (Kelley O’Hara, 63), Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd (Lori Lindsey, 46), Yael Averbuch (Kristine Lilly, 32), Amy Rodriguez (Lauren Cheney, 46); Abby Wambach

MEXICO: Pamela Tajonar; Leticia Villalpando, Alina Garciamendez, Marylin Diaz, Luz Saucedo (Monica Vergara, 78); Lupita Worbis (Natalie Vinti, 84), Nayeli Rangel (Renae Cuellar, 46), Lili Godoy (Monica Ocampo, 38); Maribel Dominguez (Maria Castillo, 58), Veronica Perez, Dinora Garza (Kaylie Garcia, 80).
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