CARSON, Calif. (Sept. 16, 2012) - The U.S. Women's National Team came from behind to earn a 2-1 win against Australia in the second game of the Fan Tribute Tour, presented by Panasonic. After going down a goal in the first half, Alex Morgan and Shannon Boxx scored in the second half in front of 19,851 fans at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The U.S. WNT improves its record to 22-1-1 in 2012, and faces Australia once again on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., in what will be head coach Pia Sundhage's final match at the helm of the U.S. WNT. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and streamed live on WatchESPN. Fans can follow the action on via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker or on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.
Australia opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a goal from Lisa de Vanna. De Vanna received the ball near the left sideline and turned on U.S. captain Christie Rampone, streaking straight for the goal. Breaking into the penalty area, she fired a high shot past an outstretched Hope Solo into the right side of the goal.
Morgan equalized in the 55th minute on a shot from the right side of the 18-yard box. Second-half sub Heather O'Reilly carried the ball up the middle of the field and passed to Morgan on the right. Morgan settled it inside the penalty area and cut to her left to free herself from her defender, blasting a shot past Australia goalkeeper Brianna Davey.
Shannon Boxx scored the game-winner in the 63rd minute, sending a penalty kick just inside the right post past a diving Davey. Moments earlier, Davey raced out to close down Morgan running into the box for a through-ball from Tobin Heath, clipping the U.S. forward just inside the 18-yard box and giving up the penalty kick.
Searching for an equalizer late in the first half, the U.S. peppered the Australia goal with several close chances. Defender Kelley O'Hara delivered a cross from the left side that was just out of reach for Abby Wambach as Australia's Davey, who earned just her second international cap, corralled the cross and ended the threat in the 40th minute.
Davey stopped a shot from distance by Morgan in the 44th minute and also saved a curling shot at the near post from Heath moments later, falling out of bounds and conceding a corner kick to the U.S. just before halftime. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe hit an in-swinging cross from the corner that struck the crossbar before Australia cleared it out of the penalty box. Quickly following the clearance, Morgan found space in the box, but her right-footed effort sliced into the side netting in second-half stoppage time.
From the outset, Australia attempted to push the USA back on its heels, twice striking the post inside the opening 26 minutes. Forward Sarah Walsh carried the ball up the middle of the field and into the box in the 19th minute, chipping a shot with the outside of her right foot past Solo, who was rushing off of her line to close down Walsh's angle on the goal. The ball rolled toward the corner of the goal, but softly bounced off the right post before the U.S. was able to clear the danger.
Seven minutes later, Australia midfielder Teigen Allen sent a deep cross from the right side to the far post. The cross floated over Solo's outstretched hands and struck the post before ricocheting off of Solo's back and being cleared away from the goal.
The USA made four changes at halftime, inserting O'Reilly and Boxx into the midfield for Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd while swapping Heather Mitts and Rachel Buehler for Christie Rampone and Amy LePeilbet in defense.
The move helped spark the U.S. to a more inspired effort in the second half, as O'Reilly used her speed and vision to start the attack that led to Morgan's game-tying goal as the USA earned its 13th consecutive victory and improved to 2-0 on the WNT Fan Tribute Tour. The U.S. handcuffed Australia, holding the side without a shot in the second half and finishing with a 23-8 advantage on shots overall.
Solo finished with two saves, both in the first half, and was not called upon much in the second stanza as the U.S controlled possession and combined well to earn the come-from-behind victory in head coach Pia Sundhage's penultimate match in charge of the Women's National Team.
Alex Morgan scored her 32nd international goal in her 50 international match.
U.S. defender and team captain Christie Rampone played in her 268th career international match on Sunday. She sits five behind third-place Julie Foudy (272) on the all-time list.
Pia Sundhage improved her USA coaching record to 90-6-10.
The USA remains unbeaten against Australia with a 20-0-2 record and a 73-18 scoring advantage.
Sundhage made four substitutions at halftime, changing up much of the defense and the midfield. Rachel Buehler replaced Rampone, Heather Mitts came in for Amy LePeilbet, Heather O'Reilly came on from Megan Rapinoe and Shannon Box replaced Carli Lloyd.
The U.S. Women's National Team gave head coach Pia Sundhage a guitar after the game to thank her for her five years in charge. Christie Rampone and the players presented their head coach with the Taylor guitar, which was signed by the entire squad, before Sundhage used her new instrument to serenade the crowd with a rendition of the classic Elvis Presley hit "Jailhouse Rock."