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Global Jun 30, 2012

U.S. Women’s National Team defeats Canada 2-1 in Olympic send off match in Sandy, Utah [Video Highlights]

The U.S. Women’s National Team dominated play during a rough-and-tumble match against Canada and got a late goal from substitute Amy Rodriguez to earn a 2-1 victory in its final match before the 2012 Olympics.

In front of 16,805 fans on a sun-splashed day at Rio Tinto Stadium, the U.S. controlled the majority of the match and created numerous chances on goal, but it was an own goal in that provided the U.S. with the lead early in the match. Despite only three shots on goal due to a well-organized U.S. backline and stellar goalkeeping from Hope Solo, Canada was able to pull even in the second half with a strike from Melissa Tancredi. Rodriguez provided the heroics with five minutes to play, finishing a loose ball in the box to give the U.S. their fifth straight win leading into the Olympics.

The U.S. players will head home for some well-deserved rest before traveling to the United Kingdom on July 10 to train at Middlesbrough for a week before making their way into Glasgow, Scotland, the location of their first match of the Olympics.

The U.S. will open Group G play on July 25 – two days before the Opening Ceremonies – against France (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET) at the famed Hampden Park, Scotland’s National Stadium in Glasgow. The USA will then face Colombia at Hampden Park on July 28 (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Korea DPR on July 31 (5:15 p.m. local / 12:15 p.m. ET) at the legendary Old Trafford in Manchester, home to Manchester United.

“I think the first half was good,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “It was exactly what we expected and worked on. The game plan worked. The second half was a little shaky, we made four changes and it’s hard for the players to adjust right away. Despite that, if you look at the last 15 minutes, when we changed to 3-4-3 and really wanted to get that goal, I am really proud of our players. They believe in what they are doing and do it well.”

The U.S. were the aggressors during the first 45 minutes, starting their attack literally seconds after kickoff when a dangerous ball was served into the penalty box by Tobin Heath but Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod was able to clear it away from danger in the form of a challenging Megan Rapinoe. Two minutes later, Heath found space near the top of the penalty area after a nice build-up off a throw-in but her strike from distance was easily saved by McLeod.

Rapinoe was the catalyst for a majority of the U.S. attack, finding space time after time along the right sideline to serve in dangerous crosses from the run of play or off set plays. In the ninth minute, her first free kick was almost converted into a goal as she found Abby Wambach with a pinpoint service at the back post but Wambach’s header was uncharacteristically off-target, going left of the goal.

The USA’s lead came six minutes later when Carmelina Moscato tried to clear another Rapinoe cross, but instead accidentally redirected the ball past the onrushing McCloud – who would likely have snagged the service – and into the left side netting.

The next 30 minutes was limited in scoring opportunities for either side, but the battle for possession between the two rivals was on display with numerous hard tackles, a few that resulted in a collection of yellow cards (a total of four were given out during the match).

The action picked up in injury time of the first half as both teams had excellent opportunities that were thwarted by impressive individual efforts. In Canada’s first real strike on target, Christine Sinclair unleashed a shot from 20 yards out that deflected off the sliding Amy LePeilbet, causing the ball to change direction as it skipped towards goal. Solo, who had been leaning towards her right, had to shift her weight and sprawl out to her left to come up with a one-handed diving save. With the ball still loose and teetering along the goal line, Solo was able to cover it up next to the left post and hold off Kaylan Kyle who was challenging for the rebound.

A minute later, Alex Morgan almost put the U.S. up by two when she ran down a long ball inside the left side of the penalty area, cut back to lose two backtracking defenders and then curl a shot past McLeod. With the ‘keeper beat, it looked like a sure goal, but Canadian defender Lauren Sesselmann was able to clear it off the line.

Knowing she likely need to utilize her full roster during a tough schedule of three group games in seven days at the Olympics, Sundhage made four changes at halftime to provide valuable minutes to other players. Heather Mitts, Heather O’Reilly, Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn all came in and played the entire second half, while Amy Rodriguez (51st minute) and Sydney Leroux (76th) were also called upon as a substitute.

Rodriguez was brought in to replace Morgan after the starting forward got a knock from behind by a Canadian defender and she was removed for precautionary reasons.

Rapinoe continued her torrid pace in the second half and once again got free to serve in a cross about 10 minutes into the second half – this time from the left sideline – but Wambach couldn’t get a touch to her low, driven cross at the near post.

The U.S. would rue their numerous missed chances shortly thereafter when Sinclair slipped a perfect ball behind the right side of the U.S. defense and into the penalty area for halftime substitute Meslissa Tancredi. The tall forward took her chance very well, hitting a well-struck shot high and on target that Solo was able to get her hand but could not stop from skimming off the crossbar and finding the back of the net.

The U.S. shifted to a 3-4-3 in the final 15 minutes of the game as they pushed forward to find the game-winner, eventually finding it during a scramble inside the penalty area. Rapinoe once again provided the set-up with a swerving cross into the penalty area towards Wambach and Rodriguez. A failed clearance by Canada fell to Wambach and she tried a back heel that was deflected off a defender. The ball then bounced to Rodriguez and she had an easy finish from close range for her 25th international goal.

Late in the match, Leroux almost added to the final score but her strike inside the penalty area was parried over the bar by McLeod.

Additional Match Notes:
• The USA improved its record to 14-1-1 on the year.
• The victory continued the USA’s impressive unbeaten streak against Canada to 26 games, dating back to 2001.
• Overall, the U.S. now holds a 43-3-5 all-time record against their northern neighbor.
• The U.S. WNT upped its domestic unbeaten streak to 57 games 51-0-6
• Shannon Boxx moved into a seventh-place tie with Carla Overbeck for career starts with 168.
• The own goal by Canada was the second one the USA has earned this year after forcing China to knock the ball into their own net on May 27.
• Amy Rodriguez’ goal was the her 8th of the year and first since a 3-0 victory over Brazil on April 3 in Chiba, Japan.
• With her eight goal, Rodriguez set a career high for goals in a calendar year after scoring seven in 2010.

– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: June 30, 2012
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Kickoff: 12 p.m. MT
Attendance: 16,805
Weather: 89 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                         1 1 2
CAN                         0 1 1

USA – own goal (Carmelina Moscato) 15th minute
CAN – Melissa Tancredi (Christine Sinclair) 57
USA – Amy Rodriguez 85

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet (2-Heather Mitts, 46), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 46), 16-Rachel Buehler, 5-Kelley O’Hara (11-Sydney Leroux, 76); 15-Megan Rapinoe, 7-Shannon Boxx (10-Carli Lloyd, 46), 12-Lauren Cheney, 17-Tobin Heath (9-Heather O’Reilly, 46); 13-Alex Morgan (8-Amy Rodriguez, 51), 14-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

CAN: 18-Erin McLeod; 2-Emily Zurrer (9-Candace Chapman, 46), 4-Carmelina Moscato, 7-Rhian Wilkinson (5-Robyn Gayle, 71), 22-Lauren Sesselmann (19-Chelsea Stewart, 86); 6-Kaylyn Kyle, 8-Diana Matheson, 11-Desiree Scott (20-Marie-Eve Nault, 86), 13-Sophie Schmidt (16-Jonelle Filigno, 65), 17-Brittany Timko (14-Melissa Tancredi, 46); 12-Christine Sinclair
Subs not used: 3-Melanie Booth, 15-Kelly Parker, 21-Sabrina D’Angelo
Head coach: John Herdman

Statistical Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 19 / 4
Shots on Goal: 9 / 3
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 8 / 0
Fouls: 9 / 12
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Kelley O’Hara (caution) 29th minute
USA – Shannon Boxx (caution) 31
CAN – Kaylyn Kyle (caution) 61
CAN – Candace Chapman (caution) 67

Referee: Kari Seitz (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Veronica Perez (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marlene Duffy (USA)
Fourth Official: Margaret Domka (USA)

Bud Light Woman of the Match:
Megan Rapinoe

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