The United States women’s national team faces Ireland on Wednesday at JELD-WEN field in Portland for the first of two games in four days against the European foe (or, as the Fox Soccer commercial describes Ireland, the “European power”).
The U.S. is a perfect 8-0-0 all-time against Ireland dating back to 1999. The Irish is almost exclusively a post-World Cup and post-Olympics tour opponent; six of the eight times the two teams have played, it’s been on a U.S. ‘celebration tour’ (or whatever name was concocted that time around). These next two games will make that number 8 of 10. Jenna Pel at All White Kit has a good look at previous meeting.
As Richard Farley points out at NBC’s ProSoccerTalk, this is the first game in the Tom Sermanni era, even if Sermanni is not coaching on the day. It should also be a great test for the Portland market ahead of the launch of a new women’s professional league. With high ticket prices and cold weather, don’t expect a sellout.
And Alex Morgan (24 goals) and Abby Wambach (23 goals) are just eight goals off the pace for most scored by a U.S. tandem in a calendar year. Their 47 should continue to inch closer to the 1991 mark set by Michelle Akers (39) and Carin Jennings (16). Mediocre opponents in these next five games (packed into two weeks) should put them over the top and inch Wambach (148 career international goals) ever so closer to Mia Hamm’s world record of 158 goals.
Not to be forgotten: Mike Ryan, the first head coach of the U.S. women’s national team, died last week on the eve of the announcement of a new professional league. He was 77. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
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