The U.S. WNT went up against New Zealand tonight in Columbus, OH for match number two of their double header, ending in a thrilling 1-1 draw.
They may have eased past New Zealand in San Francisco last Sunday, but this time around, the Kiwis made it obvious that they were back looking for revenge.
The U.S. attacked from start to finish and though they outshot New Zealand, they were only able to tally one goal. Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach, Kristie Mewis and Sydney Leroux came at New Zealand from all angles, trying to create and find a crack, but the Kiwis back line held them off. U.S. keeper Hope Solo had to mind some dangerous shots as well, but was able to shut New Zealand out.
Finally, as halftime drew near, Leroux broke the stalemate- but she had to earn it. In the 42nd minute she charged into the box, threading through opposition and faking out a defender before burying a hard, low shot deep into the left corner of the net to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
The second half got under way with even more aggression. New Zealand kept the pressure on, especially forward Hannah Wilkinson who was a constant threat. In the 54th minute she launched a missile from 30 yards out, but Solo was ready for it, jumping to make the save.
The Kiwis didn’t falter and though the U.S. kept up a steady momentum, they could not put the game to bed – the opposition was not going to let that happen.
As the minutes ticked down to the final three, it looked like Leroux’s lone first half goal would carry them to victory, but Wilkinson, who had been a nuisance all night, was looking for an upset. The speedy forward drove the ball into the box, breaking through the U.S. back line and blasted the fateful shot. Both sides watched as the ball flew past Solo and smashed into the back of then net to equalizer and for the game to finish 1-1.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
NZL 0 1 1
USA – Sydney Leroux (Kristie Mewis) 42nd minute
NZL – Hannah Wilkinson (Rebekah Stott) 87
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (16-Rachel Buehler, 46), 8-Kristie Mewis; 7-Yael Averbuch (10-Carli Lloyd, 70), 15-Megan Rapinoe, 12-Lauren Holiday; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 20-Abby Wambach, 2-Sydney Leroux (23-Christen Press, 78)
Substitutions Not Used: 13-Alex Morgan, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 22-Meghan Klingenberg, 26-Leigh Ann Robinson
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
NZL: 21-Erin Nayler (1-Jenny Bindon, 46); 5-Abby Erceg (capt.), 2-Ria Percival, 7-Ali Riley, 15-Rebekah Stott; 11-Kirsty Yallop (13-Rosie White, 79), 4-Katie Hoyle, 16-Annalie Longo (12-Betsy Hassett, 60); 10-Sarah Gregorius (20-Hellen Collins, 67), 9-Amber Hearn, 17-Hannah Wilkinson (18-Megan Lee, 90+2)
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Anna Green, 6-Meikayla Moore, 14-Elizabeth Milne, 19-Stephanie Skilton
Head coach: Tony Readings
Stats Summary: USA / NZL
Shots: 14 / 6
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 8 / 4
Fouls: 8 / 8
Offside: 3 / 2
USA –Ali Krieger (caution) 23th minute
NZL – Ria Percival (caution) 72