Philly Sports Live

History Was Made in the Motor City

December 8, 2012 – The US Women’s National Team faced China in the first of a three game series to end the Fan Tribute Tour at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday. This was the first trip to the Motor City for the US since December 17, 2008 when they faced China at Ford Field.

Before kickoff, CONCACAF officials presented the US team with a recognition plate for their outstanding achievement in London this past summer. Celebrating her 100th CAP was US forward Amy Rodriguez. The US came out in a 4-4-2 formation, with Rodriguez wearing the Captain’s armband. China came out in a 4-5-1 formation for this game, signaling a defensive minded approach.

The US attack started quickly with Lauren Cheney hitting the post just four minutes into the game. That was just one of numerous scoring chances the US had early on. The momentum shifted though in the 12th minute when China found a way to break down the US defense and fire a quick shot on goal that Hope Solo had to be on alert to make the save. The pace of the game slowed considerably after that for a time. The 4-5-1 formation that China deployed stymied the US attack, making it difficult to play the ball down the middle or out wide to the right. The turf field had the ball playing very fast and taking unpredictable bounces, which seemed to affect both teams. The first yellow card of the game came in the 22nd minute to China’s Zhang Rui for a hard challenge on Carli Lloyd. In the 28th minute, Lloyd had a shot blocked by a China defender just to have the ball land on the feet of Kelly O’Hara, who fed a pass to a streaking Abby Wambach. Wambach put her header wide of the goal. In the 43rd minute, Solo was called upon once again to make a big save with China threatening to take the lead. The score line read 0-0 after the first 45 minutes of play. China did a good job of frustrating the US attack during the first 45.

Three changes were made by the US after the half with Abby Wambach making way for Alex Morgan, Meagan Rapinoe making way for Heather O’Riley and Kelly O’Hara making way for Becky Sauerbrun. In the 48th minute, Amy Rodriguez made way for Tobin Heath. Heath made an almost immediate impact in the game. Heath received a pass from Sauerbrun at midfield and found Carli Lloyd going forward. Lloyd did well to avoid a defender, and with a left footed strike, found the back of the net for the US in the 50th minute. The goal by Lloyd sparked the US offense, with more shots coming at the China net after that. The US midfield was determined to keep China from testing the US goal, with Carli Lloyd involved in what seemed like every play. In the 71st minute, the US made two more substitutions with Amy Lepeilbet making way for Heather Mitts and Lauren Cheney making way for Sydney Leroux. The second yellow card of the game came in the 80th minute when China’s Li Jiayue put a punishing tackle on Alex Morgan.

In the 84th minute, history would be made in front of 17,371 fans. With a beautiful pass from Alex Morgan, Leroux found the side of the net. The assist by Morgan gives her 28 goals and 20 assists in a calendar year. Morgan became only the second US player to reach that feat. The only other player was Mia Hamm in 1998. The game ended with the final score of USA 2 and China 0. China will be looking for a rematch against the US when they face them on December 12, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.

By Danielle Grote; courtesy of World Sports Show