U.S. women net three second-half goals to coast over Switzerland
CARY, N.C. (AP) — Megan Rapinoe scored just three minutes into the game, and the United States got three goals in the second half to beat Switzerland 4-1 Wednesday night.
Carli Lloyd made a penalty kick early in the second half, Christen Press scored in the 77th minute and Abby Wambach got her 168th career score in the 87th.
"We knew Switzerland would be a good challenge and we played good, up-tempo soccer," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said after improving to 2-0-1 since being officially named to the position. She was also 6-0-2 in two stints as interim coach.
Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic scored on a penalty kick in the 70th minute for Switzerland. It came on the Swiss' only shot on goal and ended Hope Solo's bid to set a new shutout record for the US women. Solo remained tied with Briana Scurry for the team mark with 71 shutouts.
"For me, the record is going to come when it comes — I'm not going to chase it," said Solo, playing her first game for the U.S. since her June 21 arrest on a domestic violence charge involving her sister and nephew. "It's always disappointing to get scored on whether it's a game with a record-breaking opportunity or not. Of course I'd like to get the record so I can move on and focus on other things, but it's not the end-all, be-all for me."
The U.S. had 15 shots in its first game since a 2-2 tie with France on June 19, and extended its home unbeaten streak to 85 games (74-0-11).
The U.S. (8-2-3 this year) is ranked No. 1 in the world while the Swiss, who have already qualified for next year's World Cup in Canada, are 19th.
Rapinoe quickly put the Americans ahead when she hit the lower right corner with a left-footed shot from the top of the circle. Sydney Leroux had the assist.
Lloyd doubled the advantage with a penalty kick in the 56th minute, beating Stenia Michel to the lower left corner.
Crnogorcevic beat Solo to the right side after the goalie moved in the opposite direction, with the penalty set up by Rapinoe's hand ball in the box.
Ellis had Rapinoe playing in the "10" spot, an unfamiliar position for the veteran midfielder.
"(On the goal) it popped out wide to Sydney and I was kind of filling in in the box," Rapinoe said. "I took a quick touch and hit it. I play out wide normally, so (the position) was comfortable for me. ... Yeah, it was a hand ball. Sorry, Hope."
Press nailed down the victory in the 77th minute with a 25-yard shot that bounced in off the crossbar.
"I want to watch that again," Press said with a smile. "It was one of those second balls, chest and volley. I don't know if it was one of my best until I see it."
Michel replaced Gaelle Thalman, who had six saves for the Swiss, at halftime.
"Some of my players hadn't played at this speed and didn't know this level," Swiss coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said. "Tonight they saw how fast women's soccer can be."