Soccer News: Wambach Scores And Red Card for Nigeria
The U.S. Women’s National Team wants to finish in first place and bring home the gold in this year’s Women’s World Cup and the first step is to conquer Group D and today’s match against Nigeria at Vancouver’s B.C. Place (8 p.m., FOX, NBC Universo) was a crucial win.
USA’s Head Coach, Jill Ellis, has created a strong winning mentality and the team cleared their first victory against Australia with a 3-1 Final score on June 8th and just came off a 0-0 draw with Sweden.
Winning today has secured the USA’s top billing in Group D and possibly an easier opponent to beat in the round of 16.
As U.S. Soccer says, “The U.S. WNT players take great comfort in knowing their back line will be solid regardless of who plays. After two matches of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, that defensive cohesiveness has been on display, with different players stepping up big throughout 180 minutes of Group D play.”
“From Hope Solo’s game-changing saves in the first game, to Ali Krieger’s enterprising wing play, to the developing central defensive partnership between Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn, everybody used so far on the backline has been up to the challenge of the World Cup.”
“It doesn’t matter who’s playing,” said veteran defender Krieger. “We’re all going to make sure we’re on the same page at the same time and that’s what’s important.”
The #USWNT is bolstered by incredible depth and belief that every individual on the 23-player roster has the ability to get the job done.
Johnston, the youngest team member on the defensive line, has already put in two incredible shifts at center back in this year’s World Cup. Even more, Johnston seems to have quickly understood and fit into the #USWNT’s defensive philosophy.
“We just want to be on the same page at the end of the day,” said Johnston, who was ussoccer.com’s Woman of the Match in the shutout against Sweden. “We don’t want any goals in our net. Whatever we can do or whatever is asked of us to do from either the coaches or each other, we are willing to do.”
Despite her youth, Johnston knows exactly the kind of standard she has to live up to. Playing in the same position on the big stage as some past U.S. WNT defensive greats might be daunting to some, but Johnston takes it in stride.
“I just want to win and do whatever I can for this team,” Johnston explains. “It’s just my job. That’s what’s asked of me to do and that’s what’s expected. It’s the standard that I’m going to set for myself.”
It’s that attitude, always putting the team first, that have made the #USWNT’s back line so solid. And the players know that mindset is ingrained in all their players. No matter who plays, they have complete trust in their teammates.
Abby Wambach‘s goal in the 45th minute, a beautiful corner kick cross from Megan Rapinoe, gave the US a huge boost at half-time. After several yellow cards and a red card for Nigeria, the second half remained scoreless.
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