The U.S. WNT defeated China 2-0 Sunday evening in Glendale, Arizona with Crystal Dunn and Christen Press providing the goals and with Abby Wambach playing the final 21 minutes in the penultimate game of her record-setting career.
The fans gave Wambach her by now expected ovation when the games all-time international goals leader checked in for Carli Lloyd, but sports can have a way of reminding us all that no one can outlast Father Time and goals from relative youngsters Dunn and Press filled that role on Sunday.
China and the U.S. last met at the World Cup with the Americans eeking out a 1-0 win on that occasion on a Carli Lloyd goal.
With that game relatively fresh in the memory banks, a close match was to be expected against the young China side, and that is what we got.
As in the World Cup game the Americans were the dominant team, but also, like in Canada goals were hard to come by.
The U.S. eventually broke through when Dunn made China pay for a badly executed clearance from keeper Zhao Lina in the 39th minute.
It was Dunn’s fourth international goal and by the evidence presented on this Victory tour, there are many more to come.
Dunn was the final cut prior to the World Cup and while Press made the team, she failed to live up to pre-tournament hype that saw many pegging her as a potential breakthrough player at the event.
Recently Press has flourished in a Super Sub role, and on Sunday Press added to that reputation when she scored off the bench for the second consecutive match.
Press scored just two minutes into her shift versus China on Sunday but was unable to match the hat-trick she scored as a substitute last Thursday versus Trinidad and Tobago.
The U.S. WNT will wrap up the Victory Tour on Wednesday, December 16 in New Orleans at the Superdome where the fans will get one final chance to thank you and goodbye to Abby Wambach as the U.S. face China in the last game of the year.
After that, it is on to San Diego for one final friendly, against Ireland on January 23, before the games get real with CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers getting underway in Frisco, Texas.
The U.S will be expected to qualify out of Group A for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio. Below are the Groups and the schedule for the CONCACAF Championships, as well as the stats from Sunday’s match.
2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
Frisco, Texas – Toyota Stadium – Group A
Houston, Texas – BBVA Compass Stadium – Group B
Times U.S. Central (U.S. Eastern in parentheses)
Group A: USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica
Group B: Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana
Wednesday, Feb. 10 (Frisco)
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Costa Rica 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Thursday, Feb. 11 (Houston)
Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guyana 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 13 (Frisco)
Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
USA vs. Mexico 3 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Sunday, Feb. 14 (Houston)
Guyana vs. Guatemala 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
Trinidad vs. Canada 3 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 15 (Frisco)
Mexico vs. Costa Rica 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Puerto Rico 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Houston)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guyana 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guatemala 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 19 (Houston)
Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.)
Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Sunday, Feb. 21 (Houston)
Semifinal winners 4 p.m. (5 p.m.)
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
CHN 0 0 0
USA – Crystal Dunn 39th minute
USA – Christen Press 81
USA: 21-Alyssa Naeher; 11-Ali Krieger (26-Jaelene Hinkle, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Julie Johnston, 22-Meghan Klingenberg; 25-Crystal Dunn (9-Heather O’Reilly, 46), 31-Lindsey Horan (27-Emily Sonnett, 79), 14-Morgan Brian, 17-Tobin Heath (28-Stephanie McCaffrey, 79); 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (20-Abby Wambach, 79), 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 79)
Subs Not Used: 1-Hope Solo, 2-Sydney Leroux, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Whitney Engen, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 29-Samantha Mewis, 30-Rose Lavelle, 32-Danielle Colaprico
Head coach: Jill Ellis
CHN: 22-Zhao Lina; 2-Liu Shanshan, 14-Zhao Rong, 6-Li Dongna, 24-Xue Jiao; 9-Wang Shanshan, 11-Wang Shuang (10-Li Ying, 71), 15-Lei Jiahui (18-Han Peng, 46), 17-Gu Yasha (7-Xu Yanlu, 79), 35-Yang Man (23-Ren Guixin, 71); 19-Tan Ruyin
Subs Not Used: 5-Wu Haiyan, 12-Bi Xiaolin, 16-Lou Jiahui, 20-Zhang Rui, 21-Wang Lisi, 28-Jiang Meizi, 31-Ma Xiaoxu, 32-Miao Siwen
Head coach: Bruno Bini