Wambach, Leroux lead USWNT in 5-1 romp over Mexico

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By MC BOUSQUETTE
USWNT Beat Writer

Dos a cero? Not for the US Women’s National team.

The USWNT took it to another level against Mexico, defeating the side 5-1 at the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA.

Though the young Mexican team emerged sprinting from the gates, their inexperience became glaringly obvious as soon as the USWNT found their classic second half groove.
Sydney Leroux scored in the middle of the first half, to record the US’ only first half goal. Mexico’s Ariana Calderon retorted shortly thereafter, closing the first half at 1-1. The second half saw an almost-immediate goal by Lori Chalupny, followed by two from Abby Wambach and another from Leroux.

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The first half began with an extremely dominant United States repeatedly challenging a very determined Mexican defense. The initial dangerous US attempt came in the 10th minute, as Christen Press fed Megan Rapinoe who sent a hard, targeted shot from the center of the box, only to be saved by 18-year-old Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago.

In the 14th minute, the United States charged the penalty box in a wild encounter with the Mexican defense, culminating in an incredible showing by Santiago. The keeper and Mexican defensive player Alina Garciamendez teamed together and stopped a shot from Leroux, another from Rapinoe, and the sequence’s third from Rapinoe off a cross from Carli Lloyd.

In her first start of 2015, Sydney Leroux opened the match’s scoring in the 28th minute; Leroux handled a through ball from Rapinoe, beating Santiago in a one on one with a difficult, cross-goal shot.

Mexico answered the United States in the 34th minute when Calderon received a free kick from Bianca Sierra, heading the ball solidly around Hope Solo and into the goal for the equalizer.

Just before the half, the US forced another coordinated defensive showing from Garciamendez and Santiago, as Santiago blocked a long shot from Lauren Holiday and the follow-up from Rapinoe. Morgan Brian took control of the returned ball, taking another shot on goal, only to be blocked by Garciamendez.

After a US-dominant first half, the US and Mexico entered halftime at 1-1. At the beginning of the second half, Abby Wambach replaced Christen Press, Lori Chalupny came in for Meghan Klingenberg, and Christie Rampone relieved Julie Johnston.

The United States hit the ground running in the second half and, ultimately, completely owned it. With immediate impact, Wambach drove into the box, shooting only to be blocked by Santiago. Wambach recovered the ball, passing back to Lori Chalupny. Chalupny seized the opportunity, scoring just 32 seconds into the half to give the US a 2-1 lead.

The US continued its barrage as the Mexican side looked increasingly despondent and tired. In the 57th minute, Abby Wambach was awarded a penalty kick off a Mexican defender Arianna Romero’s handball.  Wambach’s shot bulleted past Santiago to raise the score to 3-1.

Though the score was 3-1, the USWNT was far from done. Leroux, seizing opportunity from a pass from Morgan Brian, came into the box wide, moved deftly around Santiago, and fired from the top for her second goal of the night. Leroux’s goal gave the US a 4-1 lead in the 61st minute.

A minute later, Lauren Holiday was replaced by Tobin Heath. Additionally, in the 70th minute, Kelley O’Hara came on for Ali Krieger, and Whitney Engen for Becky Sauerbrunn in the 70th minute.

Heath executed a flawless elastico in the 72nd, crossing the Wambach who took the ball perfectly on frame and scored her second of the night, to bring the US to 5-1.

That would be the end of the goals for the US, though the pressure didn’t stop as the second half concluded. in the 90th minute, Megan Rapinoe handled a deflected Leroux shot, and sunk the volley from the top of the box, but her goal was nullified as she was called offsides.

As has become custom, the United States had a much quieter first half than second. Once the US found its momentum, however, the chances and goals came easily, looking like the squad they need to be headed into the World Cup.

The USWNT’s final match before the World Cup takes place on May 30th against the Republic of Korea at Redbull Arena in New Jersey at 4:30pm EST (ESPN, Univision Deportes).

ICYMI: Kobe Bryant was in the house too. Here he is having a post-game chat with USWNT Coach Jill Ellis:

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