The quest for a 9th Algarve Cup title for the U.S. WNT has begun, as they opened the tournament with a 3-0 win against Iceland today in Albufeira, Portugal.
The first match saw goals from Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach. Buehler celebrated her 100th cap by putting the first U.S. goal up on the board. Wambach upped her goal record to 154 – only four away from Mia Hamm’s 158. Will she tackle that record in Portugal? Only time will tell, for though the U.S. definitely played the better game, Iceland made them work for the win with a hefty defense that was clearly on point.
The first half wrapped up with no points on the board. Though the U.S. dominated for the majority, scoring was made all but impossible. There were plenty of chances for them to score, especially for Alex Morgan, who had a big miss minutes before the end of the half. Wambach had a close head on goal in the 33rd minute, but the ball just did not want to go in.
The second half opened with Buehler’s beautiful header off a corner kick from Lauren Cheney. She blasted the ball past the Icelandic goalie to put the U.S. up on the board 1-0 at the 48th minute.
“Usually we hit the corner kicks back post, but it came right to my head and I was ready and it was probably the best goal I’ve had,” Buehler told U.S. Soccer.
The U.S. began to smell a win, relentlessly pounding the Icelandic defense like a hammer until they crumbled. Boxx surged through at the 62rd minute, guiding a header from Christie Rampone into the back of the net to bump the score 2-0.
The end of the second half drew near, and the Icelandic defense continued to slowly wilt. Wambach saw her chance for glory and found the back of a wide open net off a cross from Morgan. Morgan made several attempts to score throughout the game, but it just wasn’t her day.
Still, a 3-0 shut out was a treat for head coach Tom Sermanni.
“I’m happy with the clean sheet,” Sermanni said in a press conference. “It was of aims before we came into the game and the tournament. We wanted to make sure we didn’t give away any easy goals so it was good to come out of the game with no goals against.”
The game against Iceland marked the 150th U.S. WNT win in Algarve Cup history. It’s clear they are on a mission for a 2013 title! The next match is against China PR on March 8, more to follow….
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 3 3
ISL 0 0 0
USA – Rachel Buehler (Lauren Cheney) 48th minute
USA – Shannon Boxx (Christie Rampone) 62
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan) 74
USA : 21-Jill Loyden; 6-Crystal Dunn, 19-Rachel Buehler (capt.), 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd (23-Christen Press, 64), 12-Lauren Cheney; 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach
Substitutions Not Used: 2-Sydney Leroux, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Kristie Mewis, 11-Ali Krieger, 14-Whitney Engen, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Yael Averbuch, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 22-Lindsey Horan, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
ISL: 1-Thóra Helgadóttir; 2-Sif Atladóttir, 5-Hallbera Gudný Gísladóttir, 13-Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir, 10-Dóra María Lárusdóttir, 6-Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir (22-Sandra María Jessen, 64), 7-Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir (capt.) (20-Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir, 83), 11-Katrín Ómarsdóttir (4-Edda Gardarsdóttir,73), 14-Dagný Brynjarsdóttir (15-Gudný Ódinsdóttir, 79), 9-Fanndís Fridriksdóttir (3-Rakel Hönnudóttir, 46), 18-Harpa Thorsteinsdóttir (23-Elín Metta Jensen, 73)
Substitutions Not Used: 8-Katrín Jónsdóttir, 12-Gudbjörg Gunnarsdóttir, 16-Birna Kristjánsdóttir, 17-Ólína Gudbjörg Vidarsdóttir, 19-Mist Edvardsdóttir, 21-Elísa Vidarsdóttir
Head coach: Sigurdur Eyjolfsson
Stats Summary: USA / ISL
Shots: 18 / 4
Shots on Goal: 8 / 1
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 16
Offside: 7 / 2