The clash of the top two women’s soccer teams in the world lived up to its billing, with #1 U.S.A. and #2 Germany battling to a 2-2 draw at rain-soaked Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT tonight. The two had played to a 1-1 draw Saturday night in the opener of their two-game series, with both goals scored in the first 20 minutes – a second minute finish from Abby Wambach, assisted by Alex Morgan, and a 14th minute strike from German forward Anja Mittag.
This time, the first goal of the night, also by Wambach, didn’t come until 43 minutes in. The U.S. defense was on its heels for much of the first half, but a late buildup from Carli Lloyd to Megan Rapinoe along the left flank allowed Morgan to break free into the edge of the penalty area, where she crossed Rapinoe’s service toward the far post for Wambach to head it home. It was Wambach’s 148th career goal, 11 away from breaking Mia Hamm’s record of 158.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however. Just after the break, the young, electric German forward Dzsenifer Marozsán pounced on an uncharacteristic misstep on a clearance by captain Christie Rampone and with nobody to defend her, slotted the ball easily past Solo. The U.S. grabbed the lead back midway through the half when Morgan chased down a ball to the end line and passed it back into the area for an incoming Carli Lloyd. Lloyd just missed the ball, but Tobin Heath timed her run perfectly behind Lloyd to put it away. Morgan collected her second assist of the night, and her 18th of the year.
The U.S. was nearly able to close out the victory, but with just five minutes left, Marozsán shocked the backpedalling defense with a rocket from 20 yards out, past a diving Solo to tie things up once again.
The results are not surprising for two of the most physical teams on the international stage. Midway through their Olympic celebration “Fan Tribute Tour” and wearing down after an intense year of training for the Olympics following the World Cup, the U.S. is certainly not in top form. Their frequent inability to possess through the midfield and defensive breakdowns made that clear. However, they held strong against the Germans, who are in the middle of their club season and preparing for Euros 2013. Germany possesses a much younger roster, as well. Five members of the squad also recently appeared in the U-20 World Cup, where they lost in the finals to the U.S. U-20s.
Below are highlights of both matches, courtesy of U.S. Soccer.
Wambach’s opening goal in Hartford:
Marozsán scores her second of the night:
Full highlights of Tuesday’s 2-2 draw in East Hartford, including Heath’s go-ahead goal:
Full highlights of Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Chicago:
The U.S. will continue their Victory Tour with a double-header against the Republic of Ireland November 28 in Portland and December 1 in Phoenix.