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U.S. women lay claim to No. 1 ranking
by Paul Kennedy, October 30th, 2009 6:45AM



[U.S. WOMEN] Before a sellout crowd of 28,377 fans at Impuls Arena in Augsburg, one of the largest crowds ever to watch a women's friendly match, the USA beat Germany, 1-0, to confirm its status as the best team in the world. The Americans got a first-half goal from Abby Wambach and a tremendous performance by their defense to hold off the recently crowned European champions.

The Americans took advantage of some poor defending to get the game's only goal in the 34th minute. Wambach scored after midfielder Yael Averbuch's cross was not cleared properly. The goal was Wambach's 101st career international goal, moving her past Tiffeny Milbrett into fourth place on the USA's all-time goal scoring list behind Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (129) and Michelle Akers (105).

The Germans threw everything they had at the USA, finishing with a 17-7 edge in shots, but they could not beat goalie Hope Solo. What was remarkable about the U.S. performance was that it featured the pairing of Amy LePeilbet and Rachel Buehler, playing together in the middle of the U.S. defense for only the second time.

The shutout was Solo's fourth straight against the Germans in the four games she has played against them.
"The Germans are very good," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "I give credit to the back four and Hope Solo in the goal and team defending. I am Swedish, but there is something to be said about the Americans. They are winners. Their attitude is fantastic and that is one of the reasons why we won today. Playing in front of this big crowd is unique, and it's good for me personally and all the players. So today, I am very happy."

Averbuch, normally a central midfielder, started on the left side after her former North Carolina teammate, 21-year-old Tobin Heath, fell ill yesterday with flu-like symptoms and could not play. That spot has been occupied this year mostly by Megan Rapinoe, who missed this trip due to minor knee surgery.

Forward Ella Masar came on in the 73rd minute for Amy Rodriguez, becoming the eighth player to earn a first cap under Sundhage.
The match served as a kickoff of sorts for the countdown to the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany. Impuls Arena, a new stadium, will be one of Germany '11 nine venues. Other host cities will be Berlin, Bochum, Dresden, Frankfurt, Leverkusen, Moenchengladbach, Sinsheim and Wolfsburg.

Hamm, who was in Augsburg, has been appointed international ambassador for Germany '11 by her former Washington Freedom teammate Steffi Jones, the president of the organizing committee.
Aug. 29 in Augsburg
Germany 0 USA 1. Goal: Wambach 34.
Germany -- Angerer, Bartusiak, Peter, Krahn, Laudehr, Bresonik, Kulig, Garefrekes (Schmidt, 83), Grings (Mittag, 67), Prinz (Mueller, 89), Bajramaj (Okoyino da Mbabi, 67).
USA -- Solo, Mitts, LePeilbet, Buehler, Chalupny, O'Reilly, Boxx, Lloyd, Averbuch (White, 60), Rodriguez (Masar, 73), Wambach.
Referee: Gyoengyi Gaal (Hungary).
Att.: 28,377.


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