The United States women face China for the second of a three-match series, in Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday evening. The set of contests wrap-up the U.S.’s Fan Tribute Tour, in honor of the team’s their claiming of Olympic Gold in London earlier this year.
In the first match in Florida on Saturday, the U.S. were forced to battle against their 19th-ranked opponent, before scoring twice in the second-half through Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux.
Midfielder Lloyd later commented on what the U.S. needs to do in order to combat the Chinese team.
“They were a little chippy and it makes for a tougher game,” she said, according to the U.S. Soccer website. “But I think we turned it around a bit in the second half with some changes and played very well. I think the biggest thing is when we get them pushed to one side we’ve got to switch the point of attack because all their numbers are there.”
The match will perhaps best be remembered for forward Alex Morgan becoming only the second player in U.S. history and first since Mia Hamm in 1998 to register at least 20 goals and 20 assists in a calendar year. Morgan registered her 20th assist, to accompany her 28 goals, with an 84th minute pass to Leroux.
Having become arguably the star of the U.S. side this season, the match marked a rare start from the substitute’s bench for Morgan as Amy Rodriguez was given the captain’s armband on the occasion of her 100th cap. Morgan looks set to return to the starting lineup in Houston.
Following the departure of Pia Sundhage back in September, the U.S. is still being led by interim coach and U.S. Soccer women’s Development Director, Jill Ellis. New coach Tom Sermanni will be at the match in a purely observing capacity before taking over on January 1, 2013.
Prediction: The U.S.’ quality should again eventually tell against China and the victory may be a little more straight-forward at the second time of asking,
USA 3-0 China
Where to watch: The International friendly kicks-off from Houston at 8.30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with an online stream available on Thursday morning via Fox Soccer 2Go.