[USA-SCOTLAND] Many U.S. national team hopefuls are returning to the NWSL in a bid to attract the attention of new women's national team coach Tom Sermanni. But Christen Press is proof that playing abroad can help make a player national team material. After a season in Sweden, where she scored 17 league goals, Press finally got her first cap for the national team and she did not disappoint. The 2012 Olympic alternate scored two goals in the first 32 minutes as the USA beat Scotland, 4-1, in Sermanni's first game as national team head coach.
The former Stanford star became just the third player to score two goals in her first game with the national team and could have easily had a hat trick.
“I was hoping that my first cap would be my first start and my first goal all in the same day," said Press. "I was sort of going for the trifecta and my teammates made it easy so I am thankful to them.”
Press will return to Sweden's Damallsvenskan and play for champion Tyreso after a season at FC Gothenburg.
“I think going to Sweden to play aboard was such a blessing in my life," she said. "Seeing different styles of soccer and all the things that I’ve been able to learn as a person and a player has prepared me to play at this level.”
She had already started preseason training at Tyreso, so she had a jump on some of her teammates and it paid off.
"She’s had a great week in training," said Sermanni. "At times, when I look at selecting the team, I’m looking how players are doing in training. Bear in mind that this is the start of the year so some players are a bit more played in than others. She’s been outstanding all week in training and she brought that training performance into the game tonight. She scored two terrific goals. Two great goals.”
Press got a chance as Megan Rapinoe, who just returned from French club Lyon, did not dress. Press played on the right side of midfield, though she usually plays up front. Sermanni says there is lots of competition at both positions.
“It’s a question having lots of depth in those striking areas with those forward players," Sermanni said. "The more tools she can bring, the more opportunities she might get. I think she did well playing in that wide right midfield position. I think probably she might still be a better out-and-out striker.”
--Shannon Boxx and Sydney Lerouxadded goals in the second half as the USA extended its unbeaten streak to 24 games (21-0-3).
-- Alex Morgan left the game in the 41st minute after taking a knock to her ankle in a challenge from Joanne Love. The injury was diagoned as a twisted ankle. Morgan was listed as "day-to-day."
-- The game marked the return of Ali Krieger, who missed the 2012 Olympics after being injured in Concacaf qualifying.
-- Yael Averbuch played in her first international match in over two years and almost scored. Her free rattled the bar in the second half.
-- Kristie Mewis and Julie Johnston also made their senior debuts for the USA.
Feb. 9 in Jacksonville, Fla.
USA 4 Scotland 1.Goals: Press 13, 32, Boxx 52, Leroux 88; Little 55.
USA -- Loyden (Barnhart, 46), Krieger, Rampone, Sauerbrunn (Johnston 83), O'Hara, Press (Mewis 73), Boxx (Averbuch 66), Lloyd, Heath, Morgan (Leroux 42), Wambach (Cheney 55).
Scotland --Fay, Jones, Small (Brown, 84), Love (Murray, 83), Hayley, Little, Beattie (McSorley, 73), J.Ross (Grant, 88), Crichton (L.Ross, 65), Evans, Mitchell (Malone 73).
Referee:Margaret Domka (USA).