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Morgan-Wambach show in Halmstad
by Paul Kennedy, June 18th, 2012 6:39PM

TAGS:  japan, women's national team


[USA-JAPAN] The third time was a charm for the United States as it beat Japan, 4-1, Monday in a battle of 2011 Women's World Cup finalists. Forwards Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach each scored in the first nine minutes and later added second goals as the Americans finally beat the Japanese in their third matchup of the year.

Japan had beaten the USA, 1-0, at the Algarve Cup, and the teams had tied, 1-1, at the Kirin Cup a month later, but the Americans dominated Monday to win the Volvo Winners Cup in Halmstad. They finished with a 19-9 edge in shots and 11-2 advantage in shots on goal.

Morgan and Wambach made it 2-0 with goals in the 3rd and 9th minutes. Japan pulled a goal back on a spectacular diving header by Yuki Nagasato in the 28th minute, but the Americans put the game away with two more goals after the break, the first on a splendid individual effort from Morgan.

"I think we had the ability to play to a lot of strengths today" said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. "Abby had a great game, Alex Morgan had a great game as well, and so did the midfield. We changed the wing players a little bit [from the Sweden game] and we dominated the midfield -- which is a hard thing to do against Japan, who keeps the ball all the time. I think they were dangerous, but we also controlled the game for the most part and in the defense as well. The back four did a great job with the six up front."

Sundhage made two changes to the starting lineup that played against Sweden in a 3-1 victory two days ago. Kelley O'Hara was inserted at her usual left back spot, moving Amy LePeilbet over to right back. Tobin Heath, who scored the USA's third and clinching goal against Sweden, got the nod at left midfield while Megan Rapinoe lined up on the right.

The USA will play its Olympic Send-Off game on June 30 against Canada at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

June 18 in Halmstad
USA 4 Japan 1. Goals: Morgan 3, 61, Wambach 10, 90+2; Nagasato 28.
USA -- Solo; LePeilbet (Mitts, 69), Rampone, Buehler (Sauerbrunn, 46), O'Hara (Leroux, 81); Rapinoe (Lloyd, 46), Boxx, Cheney (O'Reilly, 68), Heath; Morgan (Rodriguez, 69), Wambach.
Japan -- Kaihori; Kinga, Sameshima, Sakaguchi, Yano (Tanaka, 83); Miyama, Kawasumi (Maruyama, 71), Sawa (Kumagai, 57), Utsugi (Takase, 79); Ohno (Ando, 58), Nagasato
Referee: Linn Andersson (Sweden).
Att.: 1,309.

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