Baby Horse (Alex Morgan), certainly tried for the goal this morning. Making runs, making super passes, making the Norway keeper scramble to make the saves, all for naught. Her streak of multi-goal games ends at three. Not bad though, and I’m sure this wont be the end of her scoring streaks.
This was a very hard fought game. Norway has been the one team in the world that challenges the US women consistently. In fact, there were several years that they dominated the ladies in white. Even though our mighty captain (Rachel Buehler came in at the start of the second half for Christie Rampone), was subbed off in the second half, our back four remained strong and denied the multiple attacks from the Norwegians. Hope had this to say about her back line, which included six different players in today’s game. “Norway has a lot runners coming through the midfield. They start with one up top, so it’s a little bit deceiving because we think we have numbers up, and their runners come through the midfield, but we picked those runners up well. We continue to have a high back line which we’ve been working on, but we dropped early to absorb the runners coming through and everyone we put out there did a good job tonight.”
In the second half, Abby Wambach was able to bury a cross from Mitts for the first goal of the game (at the 51st minute). Click here to see it for yourself. With the Norway side pressuring for the equalizer, final subs were made, and Sydney Leroux came in for Alex Morgan. At the 81st minute, Leroux was able to head one in on an assist from Amy Rodriguez (who had been subbed in for Heather O’Reilly after 60 minutes of play). Coach Pia Sundhage said after the game, “Winners create winners so to speak and you can feel when Syd comes off the bench, something is happening, not only with her and the way she’s playing, but also with her teammates. Hopefully that will be the case going forward. She has a long way to go, but today she did well.”
Hope Solo had to do some fancy dribbling to keep the ball out of the net near the end of the regulation time. She certainly had her hands full at times during this game. The Norwegian side seemed to attack in 10 minute spurts of intensity. Then they would fall back and let the US women possess the ball while they conserved their energy for the next wave. They finally scored one in the fourth minute of a three minute stoppage time with the final kick of the game.
Next up for the ladies is Japan on March 5th. This will be their first meeting since Japan beat the USWNT in the World Cup final in 2011.