Christen Press (USA)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 9, 2013) – Tom Sermanni made his debut as the U.S. Women’s National Team Coach, and heard the national anthem of his native Scotland being played before the game.

The U.S. Women’s National Team opened its 2013 campaign with a 4-1 win against Scotland in front of 18,656 fans at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. It was the largest crowd ever to watch the U.S. Women in a stand-alone friendly match in Florida and the entire southeast.

Christen Press made an immediate impact in her U.S. WNT debut by becoming just the third player to score two goals in her first game. Cindy Parlow (Jan. 14, 1996; 8-1 win against Russia) and Sherrill Kester (Jan. 7, 2000; 8-1 win against the Czech Republic) also scored a brace in their debuts. Press is the 17th player overall to score a goal in her first WNT match.

Shannon Boxx added her 26th career goal and Sydney Leroux her 15th career tally in the second half as the U.S. extended its unbeaten streak to 24 games (21-0-3). The USA also improved to 22-4-3 in its calendar year openers since the team debuted in 1985.

The match marked the first victory for new U.S. head coac. Sermanni  also gave three players their first caps on Saturday: Press, midfielder Kristie Mewis and defender Julie Johnston.

The U.S. and Scotland face each other again on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The match will be broadcast live via a ussoccer.com stream and the game kicks off at 7 p.m. CT. Fans can also follow the game through ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.

Press, who was named the Budweiser Woman of the Match, gave the U.S. an early lead in the 13th minute. Right back Ali Krieger, who returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a severe knee injury in Olympic qualifying in January of 2012, drove a long free kick into the penalty box and Scotland’s defense failed to clear it. It bounced only to the edge of the box and Press struck a first-time left footed half-volley that sailed past Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay for the 1-0 lead.

She then got her second goal in the 32nd minute when Tobin Heath served up a precision left-footed cross from the left flank. Press made a perfectly timed run to slip behind her defender at the far past and headed the ball back across the goal into the lower left corner.

Forward Alex Morgan, who was third in the voting for 2012 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year and won the 2012 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, had to depart in the first half when she injured her ankle on a Joanne Love foul that drew a yellow card in the 39th minute. The injury is not serious, but Morgan was replaced by Leroux in the 41st minute.

Boxx gave the USA a 3-0 lead in the 52nd minute when Press lifted a pass to her from the left corner of the penalty area. Boxx took a deft left-footed touch, brought the ball to her right and smashed her shot into the upper left corner of the goal from 25 yards out for one of the best finishes of her career.

Scotland responded with a brilliant strike of its own just two minutes later when midfielder Kim Little, who played for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, ran onto a poor clearance at the edge of the box and drilled a shot past second-half goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart into the right side of the net to cut the lead to 3-1.

Leroux capped off the scoring in the 89th minute with a typical powerful run into the attacking third. She sprinted under a long service from Yael Averbuch into the left side of the penalty area before lifting the ball past the onrushing Fay and into the net from 10 yards out. Averbuch came close to scoring a goal of her own, striking a wicked 35-yard free kick off the crossbar in the 76th minute. All of Leroux’s 15 career goals have come as a substitute.

Additional Notes:

  • Forward Abby Wambach, who had several chances to get her 153rd career goal, played in her 199th career game and was replaced by Lauren Cheney in the 55th minute. She could potentially play in her milestone 200th match on Wednesday against Scotland and become the eighth WNT player to reach that mark.
  • Kristie Mewis, the third pick in the 2013 NWSL College Draft out of Boston College, who played in two youth World Cups for the USA at the U-17 and U-20 levels, came into the match for Christen press in the 73rd minute to earn her first cap.
  • Julie Johnston, the captain of the U.S. U-20 WNT that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, made her senior team debut by replacing Becky Sauerbrunn in the 83rd minute.
  • Sydney Leroux, who made her 29th career appearance, played in the first half of a game for the first time in her WNT career. She came off the bench in all 27 games she played in 2012.
  • Midfielder Yael Averbuch played in her first WNT game since she played the second half of a 2-0 victory against China PR during the Four Nations Tournament. Averbuch earned her 17th career cap when she replaced Shannon Boxx in the 66th minute.
  • In an odd twist of circumstances, Tom Sermanni’s first match was against the country of his birth, which was coached by a Swede, the country of birth of the USA’s previous coach, Pia Sundhage.
  • In the 24-game unbeaten streak since the USA lost to Japan on March 5 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, the U.S. has scored 77 goals while allowing 19 in 21 wins and three ties.
  • Press’s first-half scoring effort was a rarity as the last player to score just one goal in the first half of her debut was Nikki Serlenga in 2000.
  • Longtime starting goalkeeper Hope Solo has a minor calf strain and did not suit up for the match. She had started in 22 straight games to end the 2012 campaign and started in 31 of the 32 matches overall, setting a new record for goalkeeper wins with 26.
  • Goalkeeper Jill Loyden made her fifth career appearance and second start. Her first cap and start for the U.S. WNT was a 2-1 victory against China PR on Oct. 2, 2010.
  • Nicole Barnhart played in goal for the second half, making her 47th career appearance.
  • Midfielder Megan Rapinoe and defender Rachel Buehler, who both arrived late into training camp and trained in just one practice session, did not suit up.

U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report

  • Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Scotland
  • Date: Feb. 9, 2013
  • Competition: International Friendly
  • Venue: EverBank Field
  • Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
  • Attendance: 18,656
  • Weather: 59 degrees, sunny, clear

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F

USA 2 2 4
SCO 0 1 1

  • USA – Christen Press 13th minute
  • USA – Christen Press (Tobin Heath) 32
  • USA – Shannon Boxx (Christen Press) 52
  • SCO – Kim Little 54
  • USA – Sydney Leroux (Yael Averbuch) 89

Lineups:

USA: 21-Jill Loyden (18-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 11-Ali Krieger, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (26-Julie Johnston, 83), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 22-Christen Press (23-Kristie Mewis, 72), 7-Shannon Boxx (25 Yael Averbuch, 66), 10-Carli Lloyd, 17-Tobin Heath; 13-Alex Morgan (14-Sydney Leroux, 41), 20-Abby Wambach (12-Lauren Cheney, 55)
Substitutions Not Used: 9-Heather O’Reilly
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

SCO: 1-Gemma Fay (capt.); 2-Rhonda Jones, 3-Rachael Small (17-Frankie Brown, 84) 6-Joanne Love (15-Joelle Murray, 83), 7-Hayley Lauder, 8-Kim Little, 10-Jennifer Beattie (4-Elish McSorley, 73), 13-Jane Ross (11-Suzanne Grant, 88), 14-Leanne Crichton (5-Leanne Ross, 65), 16-Lisa Evans, 18-Emma Mitchell (9-Suzanne Malone, 73)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Shannon Lynn
Head coach: Anna Signeul

Stats Summary: USA / SCO

  • Shots: 20 / 8
  • Shots on Goal: 9 / 3
  • Saves: 2 / 5
  • Corner Kicks: 2 / 2
  • Fouls: 13 / 17
  • Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

  • SCO – Joanne Love (caution) 39th minute
  • SCO – Rhonda Jones (caution) 80

Officials:

  • Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
  • Assistant Referee 1: Marlene Duffy (USA)
  • Assistant Referee 2: Melanie Stoner (USA)
  • Fourth Official: Christina Ibanez (USA)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Christen Press

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