The counter-attacking offense of the United States Women’s National Team was in first gear on Saturday in a 3:1 victory over Sweden on that country’s home soil, in Halmstad. Goals by Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Tobin Heath were the difference in a match where neither team earned many style points, especially in the possession category.
[There will probably be a more in-depth review of this match, the upcoming Japan match, and last month's China friendly in the next week or so. In the meantime...]
Abby Wambach opened the scoring for the USA in the 8th minute after a Hope Solo goal kick was headed ahead to Wambach by Heather O’Reilly. After a single bounce on the ground, Wambach volleyed a high blast past Sweden’s goalkeeper, Hedvig Lindahl.
In the 22nd minute, Shannon Boxx won a ball deep in Sweden’s half, slide tackling it ahead to Alex Morgan, who sped onto the ball and fended off centerback Stina Segerstrom before sending a grounder home.
Sweden would get one back thanks to a sweet chip by Lotta Schelin after a pass from Nilla Fischer was partially deflected by Rachel Buehler. The ball spun forward and Schelin raced to it and chipped an angled shot over a helpless Solo.
Eleven minutes into the second half, the USA would extend their lead back to a pair of goals. After a quickly taken Swedish free kick* near the Swiss goal line, O’Reilly blocked a pass and the ball deflected to Wambach, who then sent in a cross from the right flank which was easily headed in by Tobin Heath, who found herself unmarked in the box, between Sweden’s two centerbacks.
*The score happened right after some technical difficulties were cleared up, so a free kick seems to be the best guess.
The main bright spots in the match were the performances by Abby Wambach (goal, assist), Hope Solo (several important saves), Heather O’Reilly (assist, plus the pre-assist), and Alex Morgan (goal).
Issues continue to present themselves in the midfield and the defense for the USA, but today, those were more than canceled out by some sharp counter-attacking plays, which were converted into three goals.
- Kelley O’Hara did not play in this match due to a quad strain picked up in practice last week.
- The attendance was only 2,751.
The USA next plays Japan in the second match of the Volvo Winners Cup on Monday, June 18th, at 7:00 a.m. EDT. A live stream will be provided by UniversalSports.com. The match will also be televised via Universal Sports Network, but on tape delay at 10:00 a.m. EDT. (For some tips on viewing the live stream, scroll to the end of this post.)
Match Highlights (Universal Sports, 5 minutes):
Or, if you’re in a hurry, Wambach’s, Morgan’s, and Schelin’s Goals (Universal Sports, 2 minutes)
US Soccer Reaction Video:
ProSoccerTalk (NBC) – USWNT silence Sweden early with a 3-1 win (Jenna Pel)
SoccerByIves.net – Wambach, Morgan lead USWNT past Sweden (Adam Warner)
US Soccer match report – US Soccer Match Tracker
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UniversalSports.com Streaming Tips
[Edit: The USWNT v Sweden match is archived for on-demand viewing. See the link in the first comment. The USA-Japan match should show up on the "Olympics" page sometime on Monday.]
Since the USWNT’s Olympic qualifying in January, Universal Sports Network has revamped its website.
When there is a live stream, the video will be available right on the website’s home page, www.UniversalSports.com, so finding the stream is much easier than before.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any archived video of the match available for on-demand viewing, which means that the only option for most people is to view the matches live or live on-delay. — While the match is streaming, one can rewind to an earlier point in the video (by clicking on the timeline) and watch the match from that point forward. So, if, say, you wake up late and miss the first twenty minutes of a match, you should be able to jump back to the start of the match and watch from the beginning. However, the safer method is to watch the rest of the match live, then while the live feed is still going, jump back to the beginning and catch that part of the match, then.
[edit: removed a possibly irrelevant paragraph]