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USWNT makes it two-in-a-row in Algarve Cup group play

On Wednesday, the USWNT defeated Denmark 5–0 in their opening group stage match at the Algarve Cup in Portugal on the back of two goals from Alex Morgan. After scoring a first half stoppage time goal of her own, a goal that was assisted by Morgan, Abby Wambach was subbed out. She said after the win, “It’s great to get to sit on the bench and watch your teammates evolve and grow up and get the experience. It’s amazing. Alex Morgan is playing so well right now, she’s lifting the players around her and that a sign of greatness.”

Lest anyone forget the greatness that is Abby Wambach, against Norway on Friday, she was the one to lift the team with a second half goal on the way to a 2–1 win.

If Wednesday’s game was something of a romp, with the US putting 11 of 14 shots on goal, they had to work a little harder against Norway. Morgan scored the first goal against Denmark in the 21st minute before Wambach’s goal put them up 2–0 at the half. On Friday, the US didn’t score until the 51st minute when Wambach received a cross at the far side of the box from right back Heather Mitts. She unleashed a left-footed shot that skirted across the goal face, pinged off of the right post, and into the back of the net.

Sydney Leroux, who scored a stoppage time goal of her own in the closing moments of Wednesday’s win, came on for Morgan in the 76th minute after Lauren Cheney came on for Wambach in the 65th minute. Five minutes after Leroux entered the game, Amy Rodriguez, working the left side, received a long ball from Rachel Buehler. Rodriguez cut back to beat her defender and delivered a cross that was met by a leaping Leroux who powered the ball home from inside the six to make it 2–0.

The final 20 minutes of the match saw the US dominating possession with counterattacks from Norway. Going into stoppage time, it looked that the US would record its second shutout of the tournament when, in the 93rd minute, a long ball into the box was headed down to Norway’s Elise Thorsnes, who fired a point blank shot past Hope Solo.

With the win, the US is now tied with Japan, who had earlier in the day defeated Denmark 2–0, at the top of their group. The two teams will meet on March 5th for the first time since the 2011 Women’s World Cup final and you can follow the game on US Soccer’s Match Tracker from 9:10am on Monday morning. With a plus-six goal difference to Japan’s plus-three, a win or a tie will send the US Women through to the Algarve Cup final where they will face either Sweden or Germany.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 1 2
NOR                        0 1 1

USA – Abby Wambach (Heather Mitts) 51st minute
USA – Sydney Leroux (Amy Rodriguez) 81
NOR – Elise Thorsnes 90+3

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet (2-Heather Mitts, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (19-Rachel Buehler, 46), 14-Stephanie Cox; 9-Heather O’Reilly (8-Amy Rodriguez, 58), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 17-Tobin Heath (15-Megan Rapinoe, 46); 13-Alex Morgan (11-Sydney Leroux, 77), 20-Abby Wambach (12-Lauren Cheney, 65)
Subs not used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 16-Lori Lindsey, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 22-Whitney Engen
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

NOR: 12-Caroline Knutsen; 2-Madeleine Gisk, 5-Toril Akerhaugen, 7-Trine Rønning, 14-Marita Skammelsrud; 4-Ingvild Stensland (capt.), (15-Nora Holstad Berge, 30), 6-Maren Mjelde, 13-Gry Tofte Ims (17-Ingrid Mo Wold, 80); 9-Isabell Herlovsen (19-Emilie Havvi, 83), 10-Lindy Melissa Wiik (20-Caroline Hansen, 65), 18-Cecilie Pedersen (16-Elise Thorsnes, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Ingrid Hjelmseth, 3-Kristine Hegland, 8-Ingvild Isaksen, 11-Leni Larsen Kaurin, 21-Christine Nilsen
Head coach: Eli Landsem

Statistical Summary: USA / NOR
Shots: 17 / 5
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 7 / 5
Offside: 6 / 3

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Jesica Salom Di Iorio (ARG)
Assistant Referee: Nadia Weiler (PAR)
Assistant Referee: Luzmila Gonzalez (COL)
4th Official: Carina Vitulano (ITA)

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