July 14, 2010

US - Sweden Tie in Omaha

The USWNT played to a 1-1 draw against Sweden in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday night in the first of two friendlies between the two teams. The other will be played in Hartford on Saturday.

The United States dominated the first 25 minutes with pinpoint passing and possession. They were unable to convert several promising opportunities, the best of which was Abby Wambach getting behind the Swedish defense only to have goalkeeper Sofia Lundgren charge out to make a sliding save.

As the half wore on, Sweden gained confidence. They almost got on the board in the 28th minute as a cross bounced over the heads of Amy LePeilbet of the US and Jessica Landstrom of Sweden right to Linda Forsberg, who nearly tipped the ball by US keeper Nicole Barnhart. Barnhart, who started in place of Hope Solo for this match, barely got a piece of the ball deflecting it wide of the net.

The US finally broke through in the 44th minute. Shannon Boxx forced a turnover in the midfield. The US worked the ball to Wambach who put a perfect ball through to Amy Rodriguez who beat the defender and Lundgren to the ball. She was able to chip the ball just over the diving Lundgren.

Abby Wambach nearly made it 2-0, scoring in the 49th minute. However the play was whistled offsides, although replays show that the call may have been in error.

In the 58th minute, Amy Rodriguez hit the crossbar with her header, again nearly putting the US up by two goals. In the counterattack, Forsberg was able to get behind the US defense on a nicely placed long ball from Stina Segerström. She dribbled in on Barnhart and finished with a shot over the diving keeper to tie the score at one.

Sweden played a strong 2nd half and exposed some rather sloppy play at times on the part of the US. They were playing without their best striker, Lotta Schelin for the match. US coach, Pia Sundhage, continues to experiment with different lineups and combinations in advance of World Cup qualifying this fall.