U.S. women's soccer makes a splash for Connecticut fans
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Wed., Oct. 24, 2012
The Olympic gold-medal-winning U.S. Women's National soccer team played to a 2-2 draw vs. Germany, on Oct. 23, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The crowd of 18,870 rain-soaked fans was a record attendance for any women's soccer match in Connecticut.
Abby Wambach notched her 148th career goal late in the first half with a diving header, assisted by Alex Morgan. Wambach and her teammates celebrated the goal by hydroplaning head-first near the corner of the slick turf field. In the second half, Tobin Heath tallied a goal in the 67th minute, also with an assist by Morgan. Dzenifer Marozsan scored both goals for Germany.
“I think it could have gone either way,” said Wambach, adding that Germany's defense was particularly tough. Wambach also had high praise for her teammates.
“I think Carli [Lloyd] was probably the best player on the field, and Alex Morgan, of course, getting two assists,” she said.
The match in East Hartford was the fifth in the team's Fan Tribute Tour, after winning the Olympic gold medal match vs. Japan on Aug. 9. It was also the second consecutive tie vs. #2-ranked Germany. The two teams played to a 1-1 tie on Oct. 20 in Bridgeview, Ill. – just outside of Chicago.
The U.S. team said that the exhibition match wasn't about getting a win, but about bringing home the Olympic win to the American fans. “It's not just our medal, it's about sharing it with people,” Wambach told the press after the team's practice session at Rentschler, on Oct. 22. “It's one thing to play overseas and compete in a championship, and participate in the Olympics. It's another thing to come home and see the impact that we've made. We're so lucky that we get to go to all of these different cities. It's so exciting to know that we resonate with people and we can jump and bridge the gap between male and female sports.”
Sydney Leroux, who has scored a USA-record 10 goals off the bench this year, entered the match late in the second half to play right back after Heather Mitts took a hard fall in a collision with a German player. “I had no idea,” she joked, with reporters after the match. “I never played right back in my life, so I went in and said I'm just going to wide-tackle and go hard. But, it was fun.”
After the match, Leroux told the ReminderNews that she and her teammates were impressed by the Connecticut fans, especially the younger set. “I thought it was an amazing turnout for a Tuesday night,” she said. “We talked about that, and we said it's amazing that we can come into environments and inspire so many young kids. It means a lot to us.”
Leroux added that the meaning of the Fan Appreciation Tour is something the players also take to heart. “We're excited that we are now back in the states and getting to see all of the fans that really helped us get to the Olympics,” she said. “It's just as important to us as it is to our fans. We've sold out a lot of our venues, so it's pretty amazing for a women's team to do.”
The U.S. Women's National Team will play Ireland on Nov. 28, in Portland, Ore., and again on Dec. 1, in Glendale, Ariz.
For more information, visit www.ussoccer.com.