Jul 31, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT
- Abby Wambach looks more fearsome by the match. The 32-year-old was responsible for the game’s lone goal. The Wambach/Morgan tandem has reached a new level of productivity as both strikers combined for the goal. Morgan’s hold-up play was nearly as impressive as the feed to Wamach’s feet. Morgan also had two solid chances to net goal no. 20 of 2012 but was denied by the post on both occasions.
- The strike also brings Wambach one notch closer to matching Mia Hamm’s all-time international goal record. She’s now 17 goals behind Hamm’s record tally of 158. Wambach is thriving in a way that hasn’t been witnessed since 2007. Today’s goal marks her seventh in the team’s last seven matches.
- Following Wambach’s goal, the the team linked arms and celebrated with what’s now being dubbed the ‘arm worm’ while Hope Solo and Christie Rampone performed the actual worm somewhere off-camera, sadly. According to reports, it was all Hope’s idea. Pictures to come when they become available.
- According to FA record keepers, this was just the second women’s soccer match ever played at Old Trafford. And there were two notable guests amongs the 29,522 in attendance. Javier Hernandez and Rio Ferdinand were spotted in the stands. Ferdinand also greeted the players in the locker room before the match.
- Before the match, a certain PST’er banged the drum for defender Becky Sauerbrunn’s inclusion in the game day roster. We got what we wanted — kind of. The center back made her first Olympic appearance in the 75th minute when she was brought on for Rachel Buehler. Sauerbrunn made an impression in that small space of time, reliably nodding away incoming crosses entering the North Korean half.
- Despite rarely encroaching on Hope Solo’s territory, North Korea had the U.S. on notice for almost the entire duration of the game. Each player – particularly noted workhorse Heather O’Reilly – put in a shift, racing up and down the wings and outwitting a stingy North Korean defense. The victory of margin may have been slim, but it was hard earned.
- It’s no fluke: Carli Lloyd is having a terrific tournament. Aside from one woefully mishandled shot, Lloyd was instrumental in keeping the U.S. attack humming. She appeared to play a little further up the field today which helped her dictate play more consistently. On the flipside, Lauren Cheney continues to have a thoroughly unremarkable tournament so far. Is she being handcuffed by Lloyd’s new assignment? We’ll have at least one more match to further the investigation.
- In winning the group and stumbling upon sheer dumb luck, the U.S. managed to avoid the half of the bracket that consists of Brazil, Sweden, France, and Japan. The side will face New Zealand in the quarterfinals on Friday – the same New Zealand that has failed to beat the U.S. in nine total attempts.
- The Football Ferns tried their damndest in a frigid friendly in Frisco back in February, though. They were only denied by two late goals courtesy of Alex Morgan. New Zealand are riding something of a high after claiming its first ever major tournament win beating Cameroon 3-1 today. They’ll hope to parlay some of that momentum into another industrious performance against a United States side equally high on confidence.
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