The USWNT welcomed China to Ford Field in Detroit Saturday, defeating the visitors 2-o in the first game of a three game set. Goals from Carli Lloyd and sub supreme Sydney Leroux, tilted game seven of the Fan Tribute Tour the home teams way, as the U.S. women’s team wrap up the 10 game tour thanking the fans, and celebrating the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal.
The U.S. had all it could handle in the first half from China, and goalkeeper Hope Solo had her busiest game since the two tie games against Germany a couple of months ago. Solo had to be sharp, and she was, in keeping the match tied at zero heading into the locker room. Solo ended up with her 66th career shutout for the U.S., a remarkable number.
The Americans finally broke down the Chinese in the 50th minute, with a left footed strike from Carli Lloyd, after good set up work from Tobin Heath, who claimed the assist. Leroux got on the board in the 84th minute, and Alex Morgan picked up the assist, her 20th of the year. It is yet another milestone for Morgan in what has been a superlative year for the young striker. With that 20th assist, Morgan joins the legendary Mia Hamm as the only USWNT players with 20 goals and 20 assists in one year. Hamm recorded an even 20 and 20 in 1998. Morgan now has 28 goals to go with her 20 assists and has two more games to see if she can join Abby Wambach and Michelle Akers in the 30 goal club.
This is the first game since the Olympic gold medal game, when Carli Lloyd scored both U.S. goals, that neither Morgan nor Abby Wambach hit the target for the U.S. Morgan started the game on the bench, with Jill Ellis giving the start, and the captains armband to Amy Rodriguez, on the occasion of ARod’s 100th cap for the United States.
Jill Ellis stepped into the breach left by Pia Sunhage’s departure for the Sweden job, and will coach the final two games of the Fan Tribute Tour, December 12th in Houston, Texas and December 25th in Boca Raton, Florida.
Permanent coach Tom Sermanni will officially take the reins on January 1st, with the Algarve Cup in March, his first chance to make his mark on his squad.