March 7, 2012
U.S. women swamp Sweden 4-0 to take 3rd place in Algarve Cup
PARCHAL, Portugal -Alex Morgan led the way with three goals as the U.S. Women closed out the Algarve Cup with a 4-0 win over Sweden in Wednesday’s third-place match at Estadio Municipal Bela Vista.
|Alex Morgan recorded her first hat trick for the Women’s National Team in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Sweden, and finished with five goals as the U.S. took third place in the tournament.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The hat trick was the first of Morgan’s WNT career, and left her as the team’s scoring leader for the tournament with five total goals. Abby Wambach completed the scoring with her 134th international strike.
After squandering chance after chance in the 1-0 group round loss to Japan that cost them a shot at their tenth straight Algarve Cup final, the U.S. went after the Swedes with deadly accuracy, putting 11 of their 13 total shots on goal.
Morgan opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game, after Wambach dummied through a pass from Heather O’Reilly from the right wing. Morgan outran a Swedish defender for the ball, then fended off a sliding tackle and a second defender before chipping the shot over goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl from just outside the penalty area.
The second goal came in the 33rd minute, when Tobin Heath lofted a pass into the left side of the penalty area for the onrushing Morgan to finish. Once again, Morgan blew past her defender and caught Lindahl out of position, slipping a sharply angled shot between the ‘keeper and the post from near the endline. Lindahl got a hand on the ball, but not enough to prevent it from rolling into the net.
Three minutes later, Wambach extended the U.S. lead to 3-0, heading Christie Rampone’s free kick into the net from inside the six-yard box.
Morgan completed her hat trick in the 72nd minute on a magnificent pass from Lauren Cheney, who had come into the match just moments earlier in the center midfield. Cheney jabbed her right foot into the ground and sent a delicate chip over the back line to Morgan, who once again saw Lindahl off her line and lobbed the Swedish 'keeper from 12 yards out.
"I am very happy about the four goals we scored and the way we played at times and the way we created chances," said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. "Abby's goal is very important because we should do well on set pieces and Alex Morgan, she can create chances from nothing sometimes."
Led by forward Lotte Schelin, the Swedes kept U.S. ‘keeper Nicole Barnhart busy, putting seven of their eight shots on frame, but Barnhart saved them all.