In their penultimate game before this summer’s main attraction, Hope Solo and the United States Women’s National Team showed their strength against a World Cup-caliber opponent.
Hope erased three of Mexico’s four shots on goal throughout the day en route to a 5-1 rout by the U.S. Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach finished with two goals apiece.
Hope took to Twitter to thank the 27,000 in attendance at the sold-out StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., who cheered the Yanks on as they moved to 2-0 during their pre-World Cup Send-Off Series.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) May 18, 2015
No. 1 made three key saves and orchestrated a strong defense that allowed just six shots from the Mexican side. Meanwhile, the American attack buried Las Tri under a barrage of 29 shots, including 13 on-goal.
Leroux put one of those shots through in the 28th minute for the U.S., corralling a clever through-ball from Megan Rapinoe. She then beat the Mexican goalkeeper one-on-one and blasted the ball back into the right corner of the net.
A minute later, Mexico pushed the ball into the box on a free kick, and Hope displayed her strength and dexterity, leaping up through traffic and pulling down the ball while taking a hard collision with Calderon. Both players were shaken up on the play but remained in the game.
Less than 10 minutes later, Hope tried to make a similar play. Mexico’s Bianca Sierra bent a free kick into the box, and Hope left her line to attack the ball. However, with 11 players crowding the area, Calderon arrived first, put her head on the ball and flicked it past Hope to the back of the net.
Despite that equalizer, the USWNT had a positive outlook as they headed for the locker room at halftime. The Americans made note of the 12 shots they tallied in the first half, and came back out ready to put the game away in the second half.
“We knew (chances) were coming,” Leroux said. “1-1 allowed us to be like, ‘We have a game on our hands,’ so it felt good to completely dominate.”
That’s exactly what Hope’s squad did during the next 45 minutes. Just one minute into the second half, Wambach set up Lori Chalupny off a broken play for what proved to be the game-winner. Then in the 58th minute, Wambach had a chance off a penalty kick, and she buried it in the corner to make it 3-1.
Three minutes later, Leroux added another off a Morgan Brian assist, and Tobin Heath then found Wambach with a cross in the 72nd minute to make it 5-1.
After coming alive in the second half, the USWNT simply dominated, leaving head coach Jill Ellis pleased with what her team accomplished against a fellow World Cup qualifier.
“We got everybody in the game, so it was good to see our depth,” Ellis said. “Played it on turf. I thought at times our speed of play was very, very good. We created a lot of opportunities. It was just really good for us to play such a good opponent this close to the World Cup.”
But what thrilled the U.S. Women’s National Team the most once again, as the Send-Off Series winds down, was a postgame celebration of the American squad with fans as they look forward to World Cup competition in Canada next month. Hope and her teammates met with some of the 27,000 in attendance in Carson and signed autographs afterward.
— Miki Ratsula (@mikiratsula) May 18, 2015
— Miki Ratsula (@mikiratsula) May 20, 2015
— Cristina Marie (@CristinaMarie28) May 18, 2015
After some time off, the USWNT returns to action on Saturday, May 30 for Part III of the Send-Off Series. They’ll play host to Korea Republic at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
This tilt will be the final one for the American women before they head to Canada for the World Cup.
The match will air at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
- Leroux, Wambach power USA to 5-1 Send-Off Series Victory vs. Mexico (USSoccer.com, May 17, 2015)
- WNT Turns on Second-Half Style in 5-1 Romp of Mexico (USSoccer.com, May 18, 2015)
- After slow start, USWNT buries Mexico, finds new dynamic duo (FOX Soccer, May 17, 2015)
- Americans cruise to easy win in World Cup tune-up (Stars and Stripes FC, May 17, 2015)
- Hope Solo’s shutout streak ends, but USWNT downs Mexico (AP, May 17, 2015)
- USWNT Benefitting from Hope Solo’s mature approach (Goal.com, May 20, 2015)
- U.S. Women take control in 5-1 win over Mexico (USA Today, May 18, 2015)
- USA vs. Mexico Friendly (Newsday, May 17, 2015)