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Two Independence assists in US win

The US Women’s team emphatically demonstrated they deserve their number one ranking on Saturday in a commanding 4-0 victory over number two ranked Germany. Two Philadelphia Independence players contributed assists along the way.

The first fifteen minutes of play showed what a danger the German team can be. With the US midfield struggling to establish possession and providing some easy turnovers, the Germans seemed more likely to score the game’s first goal. But the US backline, which included Heather Mitts of the Philadelphia Independence, were able to keep their shape and Germany’s Inka Grings was called offside three times.

The US then began to establish its presence and provide some offensive threats of their own. Following a collision with German defender Saskia Bartusiak, Abby Wambach went down in the box a little easily to be awarded a penalty kick. “I think that Germany was having the run of play in the first 15 minutes,” Wambach said, “So when we get that penalty, it’s a bit of a heartbreaker for them.” With the goal Wambach moved past Michelle Akers into sole possession of third place on the US all-time scoring list.

The US got a second goal in the 35th minute. Kristine Lilly drove a corner kick to Wambach, who headed at the German keeper Nadine Angerer. Angerer parried the ball into Amy Rodriguez of the Philadelphia Independence, who pushed the ball away from the keeper and into the path of Heather O’Reilly, who promptly finished.

Lilly, who is the world’s all-time caps leader with 345, scored the third goal of the match in the 62nd minute off of a pass from Wambach. Second in the all-time scoring list behind Mia Hamm, it was Lilly’s 130th career goal for the US and her first since 2007. Said Lilly after the match, “I was (thinking) ‘Please don’t pop out’ when it hit the post. And then it went across so I was happy. It felt really good. It was a good ball from Abby.”

Wambach had nothiing but praise for Lilly. “Kristine and I have a great relationship. We play really well together and she scored a great goal. But now, I keep having to scoring more goals just so I can catch her! She’s a legend and what she does for this team—there aren’t words for it. She comes out her and gets into the national team pool and played her way onto the starting lineup. It just goes to show her courage and what kind of woman she is. She’s 38 and scores a goal against Germany. I mean come on—she’s ridiculous.”

One minute later, Wambach got her second goal of the match to make it 4-0 when she received a perfect pass from Lori Lindsey, the outstanding midfielder for the Philadelphia Independence.

By this point it looked as if the US were really enjoying themselves with some commanding, free-flowing soccer and the scoreline could have been much worse for Germany. But the Germans still looked dangerous on the counter attack and Hope Solo, who had a masterful match, was forced to make several spectacular one-on-one saves. US coach Pia Sundhage said of Solo’s performance, “We were playing against skillful players, the Germans are very good. They got some good chances but the way she saved them—at least three—was fantastic. I think she is the best goalkeeper in the world.”

The US victory was the third in a row over Germany. The team will next host fourth ranked Sweden for two friendlies on July 13 and July 17. The Philadelphia Independence return to play this weekend when they face Washington Freedom away on Sunday, May 30.

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