Wambach scores twice to lead U.S. over Mexico
ST. LOUIS -- The U.S. women's team began distancing itself from its goalie controversy on Saturday night, getting two goals from top scorer Abby Wambach and another from captain Kristine Lilly in a 5-1 exhibition victory over Mexico.
Heather O'Reilly and Carli Lloyd also scored for the U.S., 18-1-3 this year with the lone loss coming against Brazil in the semifinals of the World Cup last month. Coach Greg Ryan's decision to start Briana Scurry in goal in that game led to harsh criticism from Hope Solo, who had allowed only two goals in four Cup games.
Solo, who is on the roster for the season-ending three-game exhibition series against Mexico, apologized to Ryan and her teammates in a statement issued about a half-hour before the game. She decided not to dress in a move toward reconciliation and sat at the end of the bench wearing jeans and a sweat top.
Scurry had a strong game in goal for the U.S., although she was rarely tested.
The U.S. team's first appearance in St. Louis since 1998 drew attendance of 10,861, which pleased organizers but made for a fairly intimate gathering in the 65,000-seat Edward Jones Dome. A little more than half of the lower bowl seats were filled, and none behind the net the U.S. attacked in the first half.
Evelyn Lopez scored in the third minute for Mexico, which has not qualified for the last two World Cups. The U.S. and Mexico also will play Wednesday in Portland, Ore., and next Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M.
Wambach has 85 career goals, moving out of a three-way tie for 10th on the career list. Mia Hamm (158) and Lilly (128) are first and second on the international list.
Mexico got the early jump after a misdirected back pass banged off the face of U.S. defender Christie Rampon and resulted in a turnover. Lopez's shot may have changed direction after deflecting off a player, leaving Scurry flat-footed.
The U.S. began to press the attack after perhaps the first 15 minutes and Wambach just missed on two chances, a header in the 20th minute and a long drive in the 30th minute that were both high, before O'Reilly tied it in the 31st minute with a left-footed kick off a setup from Leslie Osborne.
The Americans dominated in the second half. Wambach got the go-ahead goal in the 57th minute when she nudged a header past Mexican goalkeeper Sophie Perez. She scored the fifth goal in the 81st minute with a rebound shot after Cat Whitehill's free kick.
Lilly scored her 128th career goal in the 67th minute off a Wambach feed.