U.S. women’s soccer team tires but ties Germans
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media October 20, 2012 11:02PM
Alex Morgan tries to catch up with Abby Wambach after Wambach’s goal gave the U.S. team a 1-0 lead. | Getty Images
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:54AM
The U.S. women’s national team admittedly wasn’t very sharp in its 1-1 exhibition draw Saturday against Germany, the world’s second-ranked team, at Toyota Park.
After a game in which the Americans failed to capitalize on a host of chances, they were bitter about the result against a German team in its peak training phase in advance of the European Championship in 2013.
But the tie did little to affect the team’s confidence, especially that of outspoken U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo.
“We’re still the best team in the world, deservedly so,” Solo said. “But, yeah, we’ve been on a bit of a break. Unfortunately, we’re not as sharp as we were about a month ago, but we’re still tactically smart.”
Through the first 10 minutes, it would’ve been difficult to argue with Solo.
Abby Wambach scored in the second minute, one-touching a perfect diagonal pass on the ground from fellow striker Alex Morgan.
From there, the United States dominated possession as Germany rarely got the ball into its offensive third in the early stages.
But a quick German counterattack brought the equalizer from Anja Mittag in the 14th minute.
The U.S. team slowly began to tire, the effect of having only two days to train.
“You could tell we lost our legs a little bit toward the end, but that was to be expected,” Jill Ellis said of her first game as interim coach of the United States. “But I thought in the first minutes of the game, we did very well. So it bodes well.”
It was the first game for the U.S. team since Pia Sundhage retired after five years as coach.
Ellis will not replace Sundhage and will maintain her role as development director, leaving much anticipation as to what a new coach will bring to the program.
“Everybody is afraid of change, but this program has continued to get better and better from the ’99 team to the way that we played in the 2011 World Cup,” Solo said. “It keeps growing, and that’s what any sport should do.”
Both teams ignited an already-raucous sellout crowd late in the game.
In the 82nd minute, the United States had an opportunity on a corner kick. The ball bounced around in the six-yard box, but the Americans failed to put it on net.
Germany’s Alexandra Popp headed a cross from Luisa Wensing in the 86th minute that went just wide of the U.S. goal.
Ultimately, the U.S. women were most proud of the support they received.
“This is what this fan tribute tour is for, and we want to grow the sport,” Morgan said. “But we want to keep that love for the game that these little girls have all around here.”