ORLANDO, Fla. — The U.S. women’s national team closed their 2013 season with a 4-1 victory over Brazil Sunday afternoon in Orlando, FL. For the first time in six years, the U.S. Women finished undefeated with a record of 13-0-3.
Sydney Leroux scored twice in the first half, Abby Wambach finished a penalty shot, and in just her second appearance Erika Tymrak closed out the scoring with her first international goal.
Quickly becoming a dangerous duo, Leroux volleyed home a lofted cross from Heather O’Reilly in the 16th minute. Less than two minutes later, Wambach is taken down in the box, and converted the penalty kick. Rosana scored for Brazil in the 25th minute to cut the lead to 2-1.
Leroux’s second goal of the game came in the 36th minute off a through ball from Wambach. Leroux beat her defender and slid past the Brazilian goalkeeper Thais to close off the scoring in the first half. With 10 goals in 2013, Leroux finishes the season second in scoring, just one behind leader Wambach.
In front of dozens of friends and family, Tymrak scored in the 77th minute, just two minutes after entering the game. As a Florida native, she expressed her surprise and excitement following her first international.
“Am I in a dream right now, what’s going on?” said Tymrak. “It was very surreal and just an incredible experience.”
After a shaky start, US goalkeeper Hope Solo made key second-half saves to seal the win. Solo gave fans a goalkeeping clinic, shutting down Raquel on three different breakaways.
“That’s the life of a goalkeeper, never knowing what you’re going to get. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot to do, it’s that one save you have to come up with,” Solo said. “I wish I came up with that save in the first half, I’m not happy about the goal.”
First-year U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni was pleased with Amber Brooks in her first international cap. Brooks played alongside training mate Carli Lloyd, who praised the defensive midfielder on her performance, telling her before kick off, she had her back.
“She’s a fantastic player that has a lot of potential,” said Lloyd. “If she keeps on working hard, continuing to get fit, and sharp, and dedicating herself, she’s got a bright future here.”
In a strange end to the match, Lloyd was issued a red card after receiving her second yellow card of the game following a collision with defender Rilany.
Sunday’s attendance of 22,074 was the largest stand alone U.S. women’s national team friendly in the Southeast. Leroux, Solo, and Wambach expressed their gratitude towards their fans and the environment in Orlando.
“It was an absolutely amazing atmosphere. We’ve had so much fun, from hitchhiking with our fans back to the hotel, to being able to play in front of 20,000 people. We’re very happy,” said Leroux.
The United States played each 2013 match with a different starting line up. Sermanni has given a number of players their first caps with the senior national team, including Christen Press who ended her first season with eight international goals. Press, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg, Ali Krieger, and Megan Rapinoe, along with Marta for Brazil, stayed overseas with their clubs for Champions League commitments.