Archive for Sunday, September 18, 2011

US Women’s National Team ties Canada in KC

September 18, 2011

The United States Women's National Team battled to a 1-1 tie against Canada in front of a near-capacity crowd Saturday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

A boisterous crowd of 16,191 packed the stadium to watch the squad's first match since playing in the finals of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

U.S. forward Abby Wambach buried a penalty kick in the 10th minute while Canadian forward Melissa Tancredi equalized just before halftime.

The match was the U.S. Women's National Team's fifth in Kansas City, but first in seven years and the first at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. It also was the squad's first time playing in Kansas. The previous four took place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

The U.S. team looked a bit rusty against the pressuring Canadians, who were playing their first match under new head coach John Herdman. While the Americans showed some flashes of attacking dynamism, the U.S. gave away numerous balls in the midfield and attacking third while the Canadians put together some quality ball possession, even though they struggled to create dangerous chances.

“I think we played our best soccer in the (World Cup) final, but now they are coming back from a break,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “They weren’t sharp and we tried to tweak the system a little bit while keeping a possession style. There will be a lot of practices if we (are going to be successful) in changing the system a little bit or maybe we’ll go back to 4-4-2. We know that we can play a 4-4-2. It will be very interesting the next few months.”

The penalty kick call came after Carli Lloyd struck a long weak-side pass to Heather O’Reilly down the right wing. The U.S. flank midfielder blew by Lauren Sesselmann and cut toward the goal before firing a shot from close range at Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who knocked it down but couldn’t hold it. Wambach followed the rebound and her shot was blocked by the sliding Emily Zurrer. The ball rolled up the body of the Canadian defender and hit her right arm which caused referee Margaret Domka to point to the spot.

Wambach buried her PK into the left corner for her 123rd career international goal. She trails only Mia Hamm (158) and Kristine Lilly (130) on the U.S. all-time list.

Tancredi held her run past the U.S. defense and slipped a shot past a diving Hope Solo and just inside the left post to tie the game just before halftime.

Alex Morgan had multiple chances to give the United States the lead in the second half, but she was unable to put the ball in the net.

The United States and Canada will play again Thursday in Portland, Ore.

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