Abby Wambach has been sent off in style.
The woman with more goals than any human being has wrapped up her international soccer career, after being subbed off in her final friendly against China. Wambach didn’t score, but was given several opportunities against a solid China squad.
As soon as the game began, it was clear what USWNT was trying to accomplish. The mission was to get Abby Wambach a goal, and it wasn’t subtle. China boasts one of the best defenses in women’s soccer, so there would be no celebratory walk-in. But even as chants of her name filled the stadium, Wambach struggled to get any chances on goal.
Apparently, China didn’t get the memo that tonight was all about Abby. They crashed the party, scoring in the 58th minute and ending USA’s 104-game unbeaten streak on home soil. It was their first loss since a 3-1 defeat to Denmark in 2004.
After another string of chances in the second half, even Wambach knew it was time. She signaled to the bench in the 70th minute, and came off one minute later for Christen Press.
How important has Wambach been to USWNT? The team is 117-8-2 in matches in which Wambach has scored a goal. That’s two losses in 15 years.
Wambach is capping off her career as part of USAs World Cup victory tour. Wambach is the fourth member of the World Cup team to retire in the past year, joining Lauren Holiday, Shannon Boxx, and Lori Chalupney.
Even if tonight is all about Wambach, it’s an important test against China. USWNT is preparing for the Summer Olympics, which implement a smaller roster than the World Cup. Without Wambach in the middle, the team is trying other options, like Christen Press, at the top spot.
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