Lilly and Wambach too much for Brazil
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- America's stars were too much for Brazil's women Saturday -- right from the opening minute.
Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach scored in the first 17 minutes, with Lilly putting home a brilliant free kick at 58 seconds, in a 2-0 victory. While the Brazilians looked like a team that barely has played together for three years, the U.S. women continuously challenged with dangerous long balls and probing runs.
Lilly, in her record 327th international game, scored her 123rd goal for the national team. The 35-year-old player in her 20th year on the squad sent a left-footed free kick from the corner of the box that soared into the far upper corner of the net over goalkeeper Andrea. The shot almost certainly would have beaten any male keeper, too.
"It was 58 seconds?'' Lilly said, her eyes widening. "I think in college I might have scored a little quicker."
Wambach, victimized by a steady flow of fouls from the off-kilter Brazilians, got satisfaction in her typical way: with a header into the net. It came off a free kick from midfield by Cat Whitehill that Wambach ran onto from the left side and perfectly deflected for a 2-0 edge.
"After the early goals, we now could jump out of tackles instead of necessarily taking them," she said. "I knew I'd be well-marked, sometimes on the border of it being dirty. It's nerve-racking because we're close to the World Cup and this is a time you might not be able to get back from an injury."
Wambach also had both goals in the Americans' 2-0 victory last weekend against China that kicked off their six-match warmup series heading toward the World Cup in September.
And it was Wambach who scored the Olympics-winning goal in 2004 in overtime against Brazil. Since then, however, the Brazilian team rarely has been together, outside of a qualifying tournament for this year's World Cup. The eighth-ranked South Americans have plenty of work ahead to be ready for that tournament.
"It is very difficult when you don't have the chance to train together," coach Jorge Luiz Barcellos said. "We have been together too little time."
The top-ranked Americans are unbeaten in regulation time (35-0-7) since Greg Ryan became coach in 2005. There was a loss on penalty kicks to Germany in 2006, which FIFA counts as a tie in its statistics.
The United States never was in danger of falling Saturday at Giants Stadium. Only in yellow cards (Brazil had five) and fouls did they trail, and Ryan can't be worried about that.
While unveiling the new gold jerseys they will wear in China as they go after a third World Cup title to add to the 1991 and 1999 crowns, the Americans also got their 76th shutout with Briana Scurry in front of the net. Scurry has been the backup recently, but regular keeper Hope Solo missed her second straight match after the death of her father.
Brazil has beaten the United States once in 22 meetings, with 19 losses and two ties.
Notes: Wambach has 74 goals in 92 internationals. Forward Heather O'Reilly hurt her right shoulder and was replaced in the 24th minute by Lindsay Tarpley. Brazil captain Aline was stretchered off in the 70th minute after falling at midfield despite no contact. She returned for two minutes, then was replaced by Bage. A crowd of 16,856 saw the game, which was part of a doubleheader.