USA stays perfect in post-Olympic tour
Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux scored in the second half, and the US women’s soccer team beat China 2-0 on Saturday to remain unbeaten on its post-Olympic tour.
Lloyd broke a scoreless tie in the 50th minute, taking a pass from Tobin Heath near the edge of the penalty area, cutting to her left and beating goalie Zhang Yue to the near post from about 12 yards. Leroux added an insurance goal in the 84th minute.
Morgan was credited with an assist to Leroux to become only the second player in team history to reach at least 20 goals and 20 assists in one year. Mia Hamm was the other in 1998.
The United States is unbeaten in its last 18 meetings with China.
American forward Amy Rodriguez became the 29th player to make 100 appearances with the US women.
It was the eighth match of a 10-game ”Fan Tribute Tour” for the Americans, who won the Olympic title in London this year.
The US began the game with leading scorer Morgan on the bench. Rodriguez got the start up front alongside Abby Wambach, and Rodriguez needed less than 15 seconds to produce the first shot on goal, a decent attempt from about 15 yards that was saved comfortably by Zhang.
Lauren Cheney hit the post a couple minutes later, but China settled down after that shaky start. Ma Xiaoxu and Bi Yan gave the Americans occasional problems up front, and Hope Solo needed to be sharp in goal to keep the game scoreless.
The U.S.-China rivalry has become increasingly one-sided since their famous meeting in the 1999 World Cup final. The Chinese have managed only three ties in the last 18 meetings.
Morgan replaced Wambach at halftime and nearly opened the scoring off a Chinese turnover, but her looping shot over the goalkeeper sailed wide.
The Americans finally broke through a short while later with Lloyd’s 14th goal of the year. Leroux cut around a falling defender and beat Zhang with a low shot to the right corner to make it 2-0.
Morgan now has 28 goals and 20 assists on the year. Hamm finished with exactly 20 and 20 in 1998.
The U.S. has scored 112 goals this year in 30 games, surpassing the 1999 team’s 29-game total. Only 2000 team (124 goals in 41 games) and the 1991 team (122 in 28) scored more.
This was the first time since the Olympic final against Japan that Morgan and Wambach were both held scoreless. Lloyd scored both goals in that 2-1 victory.