Abby Wambach scored two goals with headers off set plays in the second half to lead the USA to a 2-0 victory over China before 8,888 fans Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium as the countdown to the 2007 Women's World Cup began with the opening game of U.S. Soccer's Sendoff Series.
Wambach's double upped her international goal total to 73 in 91 international games. The win over China was the USA's third of the year -- the USA defeated China, 2-0, in January at the Four Nations Tournament in China and, 2-1, in March at the Algarve Cup in Portugal -- and upped the team's record in 2007 to 8-0-2. The win also stretched the team's unbeaten streak to 42 games, 41 of those under Coach Greg Ryan.
Intense U.S. pressure paid off in the 67th minute when Wambach jumped over Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Yanru to re-direct Kristine Lilly's free-kick into the net from three yards out. The clinching goal came in the 88th minute when Wambach met Stephanie Lopez' corner kick from the left side with a diving header from seven yards out.
U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry, making her 161st international appearance, came up with two big saves late in the match when the Americans still had just the 1-0 lead.
"I think we had a slow start tonight," said Ryan. "We didn't have the determination to go to goal and really to keep the ball and to dominate the game. But late in the first half and certainly in the second half, that determination was there and the commitment was there to attack and to take players on and crack their shots. So, I was happy with the way we played. In the end, our finishing was just a little off today, which is going to happen sometimes and on these days, you have to win on set plays. And that is what happened."
The U.S. women travel to New Jersey/New York where they will spend the week preparing to face Brazil on June 23 at Giants Stadium. That match kicks off at 5 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Galavision.
June 16 in Cleveland
USA 2 China 0.Goals: Wambach 67, 88.
USA --Scurry, Rampone, Whitehill, Markgraf, Lopez, Boxx (Osborne, 53), Chalupny, Lloyd, O'Reilly, Wambach, Lilly (Tarpley, 78).
China --Zhang Yanru, Li Jie (Jiong Shuai, 75), Zhou Gaoping, Weng Xinzhi (Liu Huana, 67), Liu Yali (Li Dongna, 63), Pu Wei, Song Xiaoli (Ji Ting, 46), Qu Feifei, Bi Yan, Han Duan, Zhang Ouying (Zhang Ying, 67).
Yellow cards: USA -- Boxx 48; China -- Weng Xinzhi 64, Zhou Gaoping 67, Zhang Yanru 68.
Referee:Kari Seitz (USA).