Abby Wambach scored on a diving header in the 51st minute, and the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Scotland 3-1 on Wednesday night to give Wambach a victory in her 200th international match.
Wambach became the eighth American to play at least 200 games for the national team, and she served as captain for the game in honor of the milestone. Her teammates kept trying to set up the 2012 FIFA player of the year, and Wambach finally converted when Sydney Leroux passed to Wambach just in front for her 153rd career goal and 63rd on a header.
Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press also scored to help the Americans gave new coach Tom Sermanni his second victory in five days against his native Scotland. Sermanni coached Australia the past eight years, leading the Matildas to the quarterfinals of the last two Women’s World Cups.
The U.S. women’s national team set an attendance mark in the state of Tennessee with 14,224 turning out on a cold night when the temperature was 40 degrees at the start at LP Field, home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. That topped the 13,081 who turned out in 1997 in Chattanooga for a 3-1 win over Sweden.
Rapinoe did not play in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Scotland in Jacksonville after joining the team late due to her commitment playing in Lyon, France. She made up for her absence by putting the Americans up 1-0 when she scored at the end of the 21st minute from 15 yards.
Scotland started the game going with just one forward in Jane Ross with five defenders after giving up four goals to the Americans in Jacksonville. The Scots kept the play in front of keeper Hope Solo for the opening minutes. The Americans didn’t get their first chance to score until the 10th minute only to have Sydney Leroux’s cross broken up in the box.
Wambach came into the match only six goals in international competition behind Mia Hamm’s 158 among the career scorers for the U.S. She worked hard trying to get her 153rd.
Fay caught a header from Wambach in the 14th minute. Heather O’Reilly passed twice to Wambach in front of the goal in about a 60-second span starting in the 39th minute. Fay grabbed the ball on Wambach’s header on the first, and the Americans couldn’t connect on the second.
Scotland substituted Shannon Lynn for Fay in the second half, and Lynn had a kick save on a shot by Leroux after Wambach’s goal.
Wambach went to the bench in the 61st minute, waving her hand to the fans who gave her a big ovation. Sermanni replaced her with Press, who scored two goals and assisted on a third in the Americans’ first game with Scotland. She scored in the 64th minute from 12 yards out, taking a pass from Shannon Boxx and patiently beating Lynn who came out trying to stop her.
Scotland avoided the shutout when Suzanne Grant redirected Emma Mitchell’s cross past Solo in the 81st minute.
The Americans will next play March 6 in Portugal in the Algarve Cup.