The U.S. Women's National Team defeated the Republic of Ireland 3-0 on Mother's Day in the first of its three-game Send-off Series ahead of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Before a sellout crowd of 18,000 at Avaya Stadium that included almost all of the players' moms, the USA took the lead in the 42nd minute off a corner kick. Megan Rapinoe sent in the cross on the 10th of what would be 19 corner kicks and an Irish defender who was facing her goal tried to clear it away. The clearance smashed off the face of the far post defender and rolled back to Christen Press in the right side of the penalty box. Press settled and squared the ball to Abby Wambach, who swept the ball into the net for the game's first goal and her 179th score. Minutes later Wambach would notch her 180th, heading in a Carli Lloyd cross to put the U.S. up 2-0. Lloyd pulled off a nifty dribble to beat her defender before chipping a far post cross to Wambach for goal 180
In the second half, Julie Johnston scored the game's third goal, also of a corner kick as she athletically redirected the ball into the near post. It was her third goal of 2015 and she has now scored in three consecutive games.
In one week, the team will be back on the field at StubHub Center in Carson, California, for the second game of the Send-Off Series, against Mexico at 6 p.m. PT live on FOX Spots 1 and Univision Deportes.
Goal Scoring Rundown: USA- Abby Wambach (Christen Press), 42nd minute: Megan Rapinoe sent in U.S.'s tenth corner kick of the first half and an Irish defender tried to clear it over the bar. The clearance bounced off the face of the back post defender and rolled back to Press, who crossed it to Wambach to sweep into the goal. USA 1, IRL 0 ( SEE GOAL)
USA- Abby Wambach (Carli Lloyd), 45th minute: Minutes after the first goal, Carli Lloyd took the ball to the end line on the left side, cut back and sent a cross to Abby Wambach at the far post. Wambach leaped high to send her header into the lower right corner for her second goal of the game and her 180th in the U.S. uniform. USA 2, IRL 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA- Julie Johnston (Lauren Holiday), 54th minute: Lauren Holiday sent a corner kick in and Julie Johnston beat her defender to it at the near post, taking a slight to put it into the net for her third international goal. USA 3, IRL 0 FINAL ( SEE GOAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
IRL- Niamh Reid-Burke, 2nd minute (save): In the first offensive trip for the U.S., Amy Rodriguez brought the ball down centrally, and as the Irish defenders hustled back to get into position, was given room to rip a long distance shot from outside the box. Ireland goalkeeper Niamh Reid-Burke dove and just reached the ball, knocking it over the crossbar to set up a U.S. corner.
IRL- Niamh Reid-Burke, 27th minute (save): Amy Rodriguez delivered a great pass to Christen Press on the right side, who settled and cut in past an Irish defender. With room, Press fired on goal, but Reid-Burke dove and parried it wide.
IRL- Niamh Reid-Burke, 41st minute (save): Amy Rodriguez fired a shot that took a tricky deflection off of an Irish defender, but was grabbed and secured by Reid-Burke.
IRL- Niamh Reid-Burke, 42nd minute (save): Christen Press intercepted an Ireland clearance and sprinted with the ball down the right side. Press played a ball across the goal to Megan Rapinoe, who sent it on frame. Reid-Burke made a reaction kick save that knocked the ball out of play.
IRL- Niamh Reid-Burke, 52nd minute (save): Christen press quickly broke in along the left side, got past two defenders and took a shot from close range. Reid-Burke made another reaction save, diving and kicking the ball away.
IRL- Niamh Reid-Burke, 71st minute (save): A long U.S. free kick found Abby Wambach inside the six-yard box, but she slightly mishit the volley and Reid-Burke secured it to hold the score line at 3-0.
Milestone Watch: • Abby Wambach widened the gap as the world's all-time leading goal-scorer with her 179th and 180th international goals in the first half. • The U.S. is now 11-0-0 all-time against Ireland and has outscored the Irish 40-1 in those 11 games.•The win also preserved the USA's perfect record in Northern California. Though it was the U.S.'s first game in the newly opened Avaya Stadium, in six previous San Jose matches, the U.S. WNT was a perfect 6-0-0. The WNT has outscored opponents 31-1 in San Jose. The USA has also won its two other games in NorCal, the 2-0 victory against Brazil in the 1999 Women's World Cup semifinal in Palo Alto and a 4-1 win vs. New Zealand at Candlestick Park in 2013 in one of the last events at the famed stadium. • Lori Chalupny entered into the game in the second half and became the 32nd USWNT player to reach 100 caps.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. WNT faces Mexico on May 17 at StubHub Center in Carson, California at 6 p.m. PT Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, Univision Deportes Social: Twitter @ussoccer_wnt; Facebook; Instagram
Additional Notes: • The U.S. extended its current unbeaten streak in 2015 to six games, improving its overall record to 6-1-1. The lone loss came in the team's first game of the season to France, 2-0, in Lorient, France. • In a Mother's Day surprise, he mothers of the U.S. team were flown in on Saturday by FOX Sports and surprised their daughters at team dinner. The entire U.S. team, including U.S. head coach Jill Ellis, walked out on to the pitch hand-in-hand with their mothers for the pre-game playing of the National Anthem. • The game was a homecoming for Julie Johnston (Santa Clara University), Christen Press (Stanford) and Kelley O'Hara (Stanford) who returned to the city of San Jose in close proximity of the collegiate campuses where they studied and played soccer. • Johnston scored her third goal of 2015, the third of her career and the third in as many games. She scored her first goal at this year's Algarve Cup against France in the championship game and she scored her second against New Zealand on April 4. All three goals have come on set pieces. • In its last seven games, the U.S. has surrendered just one goal and has scored 15. • Lauren Holiday added another assist today and leads all U.S. players on the roster in assists with five in 2015. Holiday was the 2014 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year. • Megan Rapinoe made the start as the team's captain. She was honored on the field before the game for her 100th cap, which she earned in the team's last game against New Zealand on April 4. • Hope Solo extended her U.S. record for shutouts to 83. • Midfielder Tobin Heath (hamstring) and forward Alex Morgan (bone bruise on her knee) sat out the match with minor injuries, but are expected to be fully fit for the Women's World Cup.