The major story line going into the match against Scotland on Wednesday night was that Abby Wambach would be competing in her 200th international match. She came in still six goals shy of the scoring record set by Mia Hamm. This was the second match for these two teams in five days as the U.S. Women’s National Team took the first leg 4-1. Whitney Engen and Sidney Leroux would get their first start for the National Team.
Solo; Krieger, Engen, Buehler, O’Hara; O’Reilly, Boxx, Cheney, Rapinoe; Leroux, Wambach (c)
After a small ceremony to honor Wambach, the match was underway in much the same manner as the weekend fixture. The U.S. had much of the possession, but Scotland got the first good look in the opening five minutes. Scotland built off that and made a few threatening attacking moves. The Scots had a couple corners but nothing overly threatening. Wambach got her first shot on goal in the 12th minute but right at keeper Gemma Fay. Lauren Cheney had a great opportunity set up by a nice pass from Kelly O’Hara that was sent just wide in the 16th minute. Still both teams were struggling to link up a series of concise passes.
The U.S. finally made some moves near the 20th minute. Leroux failed to run down a long pass but the scramble that ensued allowed Megan Rapinoe to find space inside the 18 yard box. She took her time and hit a shot with the right foot that curled around Fay. After the goal, the match settled down as it approached halftime with a few shots at both ends going over the bar. A scramble in the 39th minute off a Scotland turnover led to good chances from Wambach and Shannon Boxx but they took deflections or were stopped by Fay.
Wambach would increase the lead with her 153rd goal in the 52nd minute. It came off a wonderful build up on the right side as Heather O’Reilly and Ali Krieger worked the ball neatly down the sideline finding a streaking Leroux. Her low cross was headed in by a diving Wambach. Christen Press would replace Wambach shortly after the goal. Boxx would take the armband.
Press would score four minutes after entering the match. She would set up Leroux for a close shot, but keeper Shannon Lynn made the save. The ball was cleared and quickly brought back toward the Scotland goal. Boxx found Press all by herself on the right side one on one with the keeper. A calm finish would put the U.S. up 3-0.
Carli Lloyd would be brought in for the last half hour replacing Boxx with the armband going to Rachel Buehler who had a great game. Crystal Dunn would also come on for her first match with the international team. Tobin Heath would come on in the 80th minute for Leroux. Lori Lindsey also came on for Kelly O’Hara.
Suzanne Grant would score for Scotland in the 82nd minute in her 100th cap off a beautiful long searching ball from Emma Mitchell. Grant got her foot out to redirect it in the opposite direction.
The U.S. now awaits their first match in the Algarve Cup on March 6th against Iceland.