The Westfield Matildas have marked the farewell appearance of Sarah Walsh with a spirited 6-2 loss to women’s football heavyweights the United States at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The Westfield Matildas have marked the farewell appearance of Sarah Walsh with a spirited 6-2 loss to women-s football heavyweights the United States at Dick-s Sporting Goods Park .
Australia-s departing No.9 made a goal scoring contribution in her swansong to put the Westfield Matildas 2-1 up, before the hosts overran their opponents in the second half.
Prior to Walsh-s strike, Lisa De Vanna had drawn Australia level after Servet Uzunlar-s own goal on 25 minutes, before goals from Alex Morgan - twice - Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Sidney Leroux sealed the win for the Olympic Games gold medalists.
Another bumper crowd - a sell-out of 18,589 - watched the world No.1 side continue their domination over the Westfield Matildas, but the Green and Gold were far from disgraced on a night that belonged to one of their all-time legends.
“It was another great 45 minutes, I think in the first half we weathered a bit of a storm early on, because the US came out fired up after the last game,” Westfield Matildas coach Tom Sermanni said after the match.
“We got ourselves in front and were really, really pleased with how we played in the first 45.
“The second 45, again, you saw the difference between a team at it-s peak, very mature and battle hardened against our team, in the very early stages of its preparation.”
The hosts opened the scoring somewhat fortuitously, with Uzunlar helplessly skewing home a Heather O-Reilly shot.
Australia-s defensive lynchpin did her best to block O-Reilly-s goal bound effort, only to deflect it past stranded Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey.
The Westfield Matildas didn-t start the match with the same panache and class they showcased in abundance in Los Angeles and it wasn-t until De Vanna-s equaliser after 32 minutes that the visitors showed their capabilities.
Having produced the spectacular on Sunday, De Vanna was again inch perfect in poking home on the fly after a superb midfield burst from Clare Polkinghorne.
Within minutes, Australia had their second, the lead, and the moment they so craved.
Walsh, making her 71st and final appearance, duly netted her 32nd goal when placing home a de Vanna cross - sparking wild scenes of celebration on the Australian bench.
In the context of the match, however, the joy was short lived.
Morgan - a standout for the hosts - restored parity before the break with a precise finish before stepping up the intensity along with her team-mates in the second stanza.
Like in Los Angeles last week, the United States made a raft of changes at half time and Australia were unable to repel the ascendant mood of the hosts, who regained their lead through another lucky deflection.
Prolific striker Wambach didn-t know much about the touch she got to Morgan-s long distance strike, which ballooned into the air and spun viciously before finding the back of the net.
Morgan-s second and subsequent strikes to Boxx and Leroux followed in quick succession as the United States underlined their quality with an emphatic late show.
The final score line told only part of the story, but no less provided a prudent reminder of the work needed by the Westfield Matildas to earn themselves a permanent place alongside the elite of women-s football.
“Overall, this has been an unbelievably valuable exercise for us,” Sermanni said.
“You-ve got to really separate the results from what the experience is going to bring and that-s very important.
“We-ve got to take one step away from the actual match results and look at the overall benefits received from this tour.”
The Westfield Matildas- attention now turns to the commencement of the Westfield W-League 2012/13 Season in mid October, ahead of the EAFF East Asia Cup qualifiers in Shenzhen, China, in late November.
Match details USA 6 (Uzunlar 25-OG, Morgan 43-, 63-, Wambach 53-, Boxx 69-, Leroux 82-) Westfield Matildas 2 (De Vanna 32-, Walsh 35-) Local kick-off: 8pm local time (Kick off 12pm AEST, Thursday, 20 September) Venue: Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Denver Referee Kristin Schiereck (United States)
Westfield Matildas: 18. Brianna Davey (gk), 2. Teigen Allen (12. Katie Gill 86-), 4. Claire Polkinghorne (23. Alanna Kennedy 74-), 7. Caitlin Foord, 8. Danielle Brogan, 9. Sarah Walsh (c) (3. Ashley Brown 57-), 10. Servet Uzunlar, 11. Lisa de Vanna, 14. Collette McCallum (15. Emily van Egmond 61-), 17. Kyah Simon (22. Michelle Heyman 76-), 19. Stephanie Catley Substitutes not used: 20. Samantha Kerr, 21. Mackenzie Arnold (gk), 24. Emily Gielnik Yellow Cards None Red Cards None
United States: 1. Hope Solo (gk), 3. Christie Rampone (c), 5. Kelley O-Hara (4. Becky Sauerbrunn 46-), 6. Amy LePeilbet (2. Heather Mitts 46-), 9. Heather O-Reilly (15. Megan Rapinoe 46-), 10. Carli Lloyd, 12. Lauren Cheney (7. Shannon Boxx 46-), 13. Alex Morgan (11. Sydney Leroux 74-), 14. Abby Wambach, 16. Rachel Buehler, 17. Tobin Heath (8. Amy Rodriguez 62-) Substitutes not used: 21. Jill Loyden (gk) Yellow Cards None Red Cards None
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