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May 27, 2012
U.S. starts London sendoff with 4-1 win over China

By Charles Cuttone
Executive Editor

Alex Morgan had two goals and an assist as the US Women trounced China 4-1 on Sunday.
Alex Morgan had two goals and an assist as the US Women trounced China 4-1 on Sunday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
CHESTER, Pa.---The United States Women’s National Team might best be compared to wild animal. Wound it and it will attack and retaliate unmercifully. That’s what they did Sunday at PPL Park. After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, the U.S. came back to trounce China 4-1.

While the Chinese team once was one of the world’s best, the squad on the field Sunday was a far cry from the one that once had epic games with the U.S., including the memorable 1999 Women’s World Cup Final. China failed to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the first time in history it failed to do so.

“This game was important, in that we picked it up in the second half,” said U.S. Coach Pia Sundhage.

Sunday’s game was pretty much the Alex Morgan show, as she scored two goals in the game and added an assist on another. The other goal was an own goal.

China struck first, in the 22nd minute against the run of play, when the United States turned over the ball in the back. Zhang Rui took control near the penalty area on the left side and put it behind Hope Solo into the far right side of the net.

The U.S. took the goal in stride and continued to pressure China. The effort paid off in the 34th and 36th minutes.

Heather O’Reilly got down into the right corner and put the ball into the penalty area to set up the first goal. The ball deflected off a Chinese defender and Morgan was there ready to put it into the left side of the net.

Two minutes later, the same kind of pressure led to Abby Wambach heading a ball into the area. Chinese defender Zhaou Gaoping tried to head the ball down to goalkeeper Zhang Yue and instead put the ball into her own net.

Morgan netted her second of the game in the 50th minute. Christie Rampone put a long ball over the top of the China back line, right into the path of Morgan who made an easy finish from the 18.

The goal was the third Morgan has scored in two appearances at PPL Park. She scored her first international goal at the home of the Philadelphia Union against China on September 2, 2010.

Wambach put an exclamation point on the scoring in the 83rd minute, taking a short throw in from Morgan on the far right side. Wambach muscled in front of a Chinese defender and slammed the ball into the net.

Though the game was one of the last two the U.S. will play in the states before the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, there was no suspense for the U.S. players as to who will be going to the Games, as coach Pia Sundhage announced her squad earlier on Sunday.

That was fine for the sellout crowd of 18,573, who loudly cheered Sundhage when she serenaded them with a chorus of “You are my Sunshine” prior to the game, and who roared even louder as each U.S. player was announced, as well as seemingly every time the U.S. got into the attacking third, or when goalkeeper Hope Solo touched the ball.

The crowd was a far cry from the last one that saw these two teams play in the samesStadium two years ago, when an announced crowd of 2,505 barely registered a decibel.

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