August 30, 2009

FENTON, Mo. -- Umea IK came to the U.S. on a mission -- to show the world who the No. 1 team was, or at least the top league. The Swedish club started off strong with two quick goals. But then the WPS All Stars picked up the intensity, scoring four unanswered goals Sunday and earning a 4-2 win.

"We were missing seven players from our team," Umea head coach Mika Sankala said. "We had some chances to score goals. We scored a couple, and they made saves. We're very happy and proud to be here. I'm so proud of how this team worked hard for each other."

Abner Rogers led the All-Stars to the win making key tactical decisions at half-time. Seven substitutions opened the door for the WPS bench to make some noise. And they did it within seconds.

"Second half we wanted to play a bit quicker," Rogers said. "My job is easy with Abby [Wambach] and Christine [Sinclair]. They can both hold on to the ball, and they play well off each other. We had moments of absolute brilliance."

Umea jumped out to an early lead with Chicago Red Stars defender Frida Ostberg starting the run. Ostberg passed the ball to Mami Yamaguchi, who forwarded the ball to Madelaine Edlund. The Swedish striker sent the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead.

In the 12th minute, the WPS All-Stars looked to tie things up when Kristine Lilly forced Umea goalkeeper Carola Soberg to make a finger-tip save.

Yamguchi blasted a ball at goal in the 14th minute. WPS goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc flew to the left and blocked the ball with her hands, keeping her net clean.

Emmelie Konradsson sent a perfect shot toward goal in the 17th minute. LeBlanc made the initial save, but Sofia Jakobsson sneaked up behind the defense and made it to the rebound. Jakobsson sent the ball off the left post and into the net for a 2-0 lead.

Marta sent the ball to Cristiane in the box. Cristiane was one step behind as the ball went wide right in the 19th minute.

But the All-Stars cut the lead to one in the 23rd minute. Cristiane made a run, but got tangled up in the box. Marta crossed it into the box, while Cristiane lay on the pitch. Lilly streaked up the middle of the box and nailed the ball off the left post and into the net.

Marta blasted the ball in the 28th minute. Megan Rapinoe made her way into the box and struck the ball way wide of the net.

Shannon Boxx sent the ball into the penalty area in the 29th minute. Defender Tina Ellertson headed the ball off the right post and out. Boxx headed the ball toward goal one minute later, but Soberg grabbed it for the save.

Umea's Elaine Moura left the pitch in the 33rd minute, while trainers wrapped her left ankle. She reentered the pitch two minutes later.

Marta singlehandedly took on the Umea defense, including beating Ostberg, and drilled the ball into the far corner past a diving Soberg, tying the match at 2-2 in the 40th minute.

Cristiane fouled Umea's Emma Aberg Zingmark, challenging her for the ball in the air and earning a yellow card.

"The first half was almost a wake-up call for us," Sinclair said. "They're one of the best club teams in the world for a reason. We knew once we got things started, we'd score some goals."

The WPS All-Stars didn't waste any time in the second half, making all seven substitutions including Christine Sinclair, who entered the game for Amy LePeilbet. Sinclair made an immediate impact, scoring back-to-back goals in the 46th minute to give the All-Stars a 4-2 lead.

Sinclair buried a shot just seconds into the first half, after redirecting a Marta cross. She then broke away in the same minute and made a run toward goal. Sinclair sent the second shot into the net giving her club the lead.

Sinclair launched another shot toward goal in the 49th minute, only to have it bounce off the crossbar and back into play.

Hope Solo also made her mark on the second half, stopping a 78th minute Umea shot. Edlund rocketed a long ball at goal. Solo jumped to her right and grabbed it, making the save.

The All-Stars kept up the pressure, holding Umea to just three shots on goal in the second half. A flurry of late shots almost got the home team another goal late in the second half. Tiffeny Milbrett, Boxx, Heather O'Reilly and Marta all forced shots on goal in a two-minute span. But Soberg stood her ground, not allowing a goal for the remainder of the match. She ended with 11 saves on the night.

"We came to win the game," Yamaguchi, the 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner, said. "Our intensity on this team is very good. I'm not sure what I really expected. We played against some of the best players in the world. I just wanted to win, have fun and enjoy every moment."

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