USWNT watch two-goal lead evaporate in draw vs. Germany

US' forward Abby Wambach (R) celebrates

by MIKE McCALL

The usual cast of characters powered a potent attack, but a shaky evening from an inexperienced back line cost the U.S. women’s national team in a 3-3 draw with Germany on Friday.

After a scoreless first half, the world’s top two teams erupted for six goals in the final 45 minutes, with Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan finding the net for the Americans.

But two botched clearances and a penalty kept Germany in it, including goals in the 85th and 86th minute, and the result was sealed after U.S. substitute Sydney Leroux’s header was cleared off the line in the 94th.

U.S. coach Tom Sermanni went with a young defense, leaving off vets like Ali Krieger, Rachel Buehler, Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O’Hara. Instead, he started Crystal Dunn, Whitney Engen and Kristie Mewis — who came in with a combined 12 caps — alongside captain Christie Rampone.

Playing in front of 16,090 at Sparda Bank Hessen Stadium in Offenbach, Germany went straight at that defense and was in control early but couldn’t capitalize.

After halftime, the Americans flipped the script.

Less than two minutes into the second half, Rapinoe ran in along the end line and crossed to the somehow-open Wambach, who headed it in to give the Americans a 1-0 lead and move herself within three of Mia Hamm’s world record of 158 international goals.

Wambach returned the favor eight minutes later, heading the ball into the path of Rapinoe on the left side. The Olympique Lyon midfielder fired a dart of a half-volley into the far corner of the net that doubled the lead.

Kim Kulig answered for Germany by slamming home a botched clearance by Dunn, but the match looked to be in hand in the 71st, when Morgan calmly chipped the goalkeeper to take a 3-1 lead.

That’s when back-to-back defensive calamities struck.

First, Rampone was called for a penalty when she got tangled up with Célia Okoyino da Mbabi, who beat U.S. keeper Nicole Barnhart — filling in for the injured Hope Solo — with a crisp shot to the left. A minute later, the Germans capped a wild sequence with a cross into the box, and when Barnhart came out for it, she was tripped up, and Anja Mittag easily found an open net for the equalizer.

Those miscues negated a very bright attacking display from the U.S. in the second half, which also included an excellent header by Lauren Cheney that was disallowed by an offside call against Wambach and Morgan, as well as Leroux’s header that was cleared before the final whistle.

The draw extends the Americans’ unbeaten streak to 30 games and moves them to 5-0-2 under Sermanni, albeit in disappointing fashion after surrendering a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes.

Next, the U.S. will travel to The Hague, Netherlands, for a matchup with the Dutch on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Scoring Recap: USA 3, Germany 3
47′ | USA – Abby Wambach (Megan Rapinoe)
55′ | USA – Megan Rapinoe (Abby Wambach)
63′ | GER – Kim Kulig
71′ | USA – Alex Morgan (Lauren Cheney)
85′ | GER – Celia Okoyino da Mbabi (penalty)
86′ | GER – Anja Mittag

Starting XIs
USA – Nicole Barnhart; Crystal Dunn, Christie Rampone (capt.), Whitney Engen, Kristie Mewis; Heather O’Reilly (Tobin Heath, 77), Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Megan Rapinoe; Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach (Sydney Leroux, 80)

GER – Nadine Angerer (capt.); Leonie Maier, Saskia Bartusiak, Luisa Wensing, Babett Peter (Bianca Schmidt, 57); Linda Bresonik (Anja Mittag, 60), Kim Kulig, Nadine Keßler, Melanie Behringer (Verena Faißt, 46); Celia Okoyino da Mbabi, Dzsenifer Marozsan (Alexandra Popp, 88).

What did you think of the match? Worried about the U.S. back line? Think there’s enough firepower on this team to overcome iffy defending?

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14 Responses to USWNT watch two-goal lead evaporate in draw vs. Germany

  1. Still trying to get the technical set up to watch these USWNT games when their not on the ‘regular’ television. :)

  2. TomG says:

    Not too concerned as the score was actually 4-2 USA, but the ref basically decreed the draw herself. She stole a Cheney goal on a completely fictitious offsides and awarded a German penalty on a play where the German striker blatantly ran Rampone and tripped over her lifeless body. That being said, USA central defense is extremely small and not strong enough against a big side like Germany when the ref is looking to give things away. Dunn looks incredibly talented on the right. She’s just inexperienced and inconsistent. Engen is in the same boat, but a bit more inconsistent and not quite as talented. We need a big, strong CB to complement some of the talented, if young fullbacks. Rampone has had a wonderful career but she’s a bit of a relic at this point.

    • Ezra says:

      Agree completely. The refs made some really bad calls against the US, but the defense does need some improvement.

    • RB says:

      Was with you until the last line.

      • TomG says:

        Rampone? She’s 37 years old and she’s a 5’6 cb. That was fine 10 years ago, but many of the forwards today are much bigger, stronger and faster. She just can’t match up. She fights as hard as anyone but she simply gets manhandled in the box.

  3. RCA says:

    I’ve seen this kind of meltdown since the last Gold Cup.

  4. OB Rick says:

    Glad to see he gave minutes to the rookies instead if just trying to win.

  5. The Garrincha says:

    Entertaining match, however the USWNT blew it in the last 15 minutes up two goals and the end result is a draw, AW said it herself on national German TV. ” being up two goals it feels like a loss”,
    She’s correct, just like the Men’s under 23 team lost their shot at the Olympics, gone just like that, this is the harsh cruel side of Football. You must keep your eye on the prize at all times.
    Hopefully the positive to all this is that C Dunn and W. Engen learn from this like O.Gonzalez learned from his error in Honduras. Dunn one of my favorite new players learned a lesson today.
    First off Lady you have a good left foot, you should have used it to clear that ball all the way to Belgium, None of that light touch outside of the foot clearance standing directly in front of your goal, never! you clear that thing to Timbuktu. And Engen, You are a good sized defender albeit you were fouled but you can never expect the ref to bail you out or even to make the rite call. That German striker ran down your back and that is exactly what you should expect as a defender in the box at this level. Lastly the penalty kick was a gift. However it shows you how the rest of the world plays in such an opportunistic way in sensitive situations. That said hope the lesson is learned and respectfully Coach should have subbed out Boxx holding a yellow and a tired Captain Rampone.

    • Weaksauce says:

      I couldnt really care about this result. The fans showed up and got a show

      The last 2 german goals were a joke. Penalty giving for falling over her own two legs, and the german defender plowed over the US player (no call) ? Wow

      Worse was the goal taken back from the US on a imaginary offside call. Reminded me of the world cup game vs Slovenia

  6. shane says:

    Imagine that, trying out a young inexperienced defense in a friendly instead of, oh I dont know, a World Cup qualifier.

    Rapinoe and Morgan are incredible players.

    • Larry B says:

      Exactly. This was a friendly and the best time to give the youngsters some experience. It took some very questionable refereeing for the Germans to come out of it with a draw, even with 3 rookies on the back line, and the starting GK and attacking midfielder out with injuries. But I could care less about the draw. The USWNT looked awesome offensively. And I think it is great that Semanni is giving playing time to the younger players. This team not only has incredible talent, but is also developing excellent depth.

  7. The Garrincha says:

    That’s great!, no fans care that USWNT should have beat Germany in Germany, but that’s not how Wambach, and Morgan feel about it, and I would hope and imagine the rest of the team feels a little let down for that matter. It this attitude that keeps the women #1.

  8. juan says:

    I agree that the ref blew it…bad offside’s and bad pk calls but not worried.

    I am wondering why the German attack on our left side found people wide open all the time. Our left back not covering or left outside mid not tracking back? IDK but that was not good for us

    As I watch Abby creep closer to the scoring record, I’m a bit sad. I know it will come and Abby will have scored the most goals BUT she will never be a Mia Hamm. Abby can’t run, dribble and is only an average passer. What she is is a finisher. I would rather the record stay with a complete player like Mia was. The only good thing is that Abby doesn’t have many years left and she won’t hold the record that long. Morgan is a complete player and one that is more deserving to hold Mia’s record.