(AP) Wambach at 161, Leroux nets 4 as US tops Mexico
By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer
Abby Wambach extended her world record with her 161st international goal, Sydney Leroux scored four times in the first half, and the next generation for U.S. women’s soccer blended nicely with the old guard Tuesday night as the Americans thumped Mexico 7-0 in a friendly at RFK Stadium.
Rachel Buehler and Morgan Brian also scored as the U.S. squad reconvened after a 2 1/2-month break while the National Women’s Soccer League wrapped up its inaugural season. With the next World Cup two years away, the match also gave coach Tom Sermanni a chance to mix in some young faces to the storied team, with two players making their national team debuts.
The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world, ran their overall unbeaten streak to 35 games and their home unbeaten streak to 73. They are 27-1-1 all-time against 24th-ranked Mexico.
Still dominant at age 33, Wambach played a part in all four goals scored in the first 30 minutes.
Wambach scored four times to pass Mia Hamm’s mark of 158 in the U.S. team’s previous game, a win over South Korea in June, and didn’t have to do much to add to her tally on Tuesday. Totally unmarked by the Mexican defense directly in front of the goal, she look almost casual as she swung her left foot on a crossing pass from Kristie Mewis to put the U.S ahead 1-0 in the 11th minute.
Goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago got a hand on the ball, but it wasn’t enough. Wambach’s celebration _ a leap that showed off her highlighter-pink shoes _ took as much effort as the goal itself.
Wambach then had a shot saved by Santiago in the 21st minute, but Leroux was there to head in the rebound. One minute later, Wambach made a nice touch pass that sprung Lauren Holiday for a shot again saved by Santiago, but Leroux pounced on the rebound to make it 3-0.
In the 30th, Wambach was the catalyst yet again, nodding the ball forward to set up Leroux’s run that ended with a falling-down left-footed shot for the striker’s third goal.
Leroux scored again in the 41st on a set piece, heading in a free kick from Holiday. Leroux has 42 goals in just 18 games for the U.S. team, including her five-spot against Guatemala in the Olympic qualifying tournament last year.
For just a few minutes, the Americans looked like a team that hadn’t been together for a while. Mexico had three promising scoring chances in the first few minutes, including a two-on-one break thwarted when Crystal Dunn poked the ball away.
That was the only competitive period in the match. The Americans dominated from there, and Sermanni began substituting liberally as the game got out of reach. Defender Leigh Ann Robinson entered as a substitute, joining starting midfielder Erika Tymrak in getting a first U.S. cap. Also, Brian’s goal was her first in international play, coming in her second U.S. appearance.
Goalkeepers Hope Solo (first half) and Nicole Barnhart (second half) combined for the shutout.
Several regular U.S. players missed the game because they’re either playing in Europe or nursing injuries. Forward Alex Morgan, who strained a ligament in her left knee during the NWSL season, was on the bench but did not play.