USWNT / World

Morgan, USWNT top Italy in first playoff

It took until just seconds before the final whistle, but the US defeated Italy 1–0 today in the first leg of the 2011 Women’s World Cup qualification playoff series.

Goal scorer Alex Morgan, the youngest player on the US team, came on in the 85th minute to replace Amy Rodriguez of the Philadelphia Independence.

The goal began with a long pass from Carli Lloyd. Abby Wambach flicked the ball forward with her head onto the path of Morgan on the right. Morgan cut toward goal and fired a shot past the Italian keeper from six yards out. Morgan, who just finished her college career at California last Saturday with a loss to Duke in the first round of the NCAA Championship, has scored four goals in eight national team appearances. The win is the first for the US against Italy on Italian soil in the five times the two teams have met there.

Because Italy made a substitute close to the end of stoppage time indicated by the referee, the goal came in the 94th minute, well after the two minutes initially indicated by the referee.

The away goal is doubly important should the final leg of the series end in a tie. While Italy would have been in the driver’s seat with a 0–0 draw, momentum is now belongs to the US.

The second leg of the series will be played at Toyota Park on Saturday, November 27. ESPN3 will broadcast the game live from 1pm.

In addition to Amy Rodriguez, the Philadelphia Independence was also represented by Heather Mitts, who was subbed out of the game in the 75th minute. Lori Lindsey received a yellow card while on the bench in the 88th minute but was not used in the match.

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