USA Women's Soccer vs. Australia: Score, Analysis and Grades

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2012

Team USA's women's national team ensured that Pia Sundhage's career as head coach would end perfectly by defeating Australia 6-2 Wednesday evening.

Australia took a 2-1 lead early in the game, but Team USA managed to tie it up before halftime. With the score two all, the American side seemed to awaken.

Once the second half started, this game was completely different. Alex Morgan added her second goal of the game, Abby Wambach found the net, and Shannon Boxx eventually joined the party.

Sydney Leroux scored the team's sixth goal off a Megan Rapinoe set piece in the game's final 10 minutes. Rapinoe played a precise ball, and Leroux used her head to push it past the keeper.

Sundhage's finale made this game special, and her squad played that way. Things started slow for the American side, but the second half was an impressive show.

The USWNT had an outstanding blend of youth, veteran leadership and skill in all three areas of the field. They played well to earn the victory.

Australia hung strong as long as they could, but they couldn't stop the U.S. women's team from earning their 14th straight victory.

The Australian attack gave their squad hope in the opening half, but their defense eventually collapsed under the Americans' world-class attack. Australia played 10 teenagers, and their youth showed through (understandably).

All in all, it was an exciting match to watch. Two talented squads gave an excellent coach a very fitting sendoff.


Team USA Grades

Alex Morgan: A+

Morgan was stunning as always Wednesday night. She put home two goals and had her chances to complete the hat trick. Not only did she showcase her brilliant striking ability, but she also finished one in the air.

The future of women's soccer is bright with players like Morgan at the helm. She's a world-class talent, and she played with one goal in mind.

At age 23, she may already be the best player in the world.


Hope Solo: B

Solo allowed two goals in the first half, so her grade can't be top shelf, but she didn't allow any in the second.

Solo started off shaky, but Team USA's offense took the pressure off of her as the game moved along. She only had to make a few plays after halftime, but you still feel confident with her between the pipes.

I've seen her play better, but a win is a win.


Abby Wambach: B+

Wambach is a legend for a reason: She is one of the best aerial players you will ever see. She was mostly quiet Wednesday evening, but she did manage to deflect Morgan's shot into the net in the second half.

Her only goal of the night wasn't impressive, but she will take the tally in the scoring column. Whether she is scoring or not, she commands enough attention that she's always valuable.


Australia Grades

Lisa De Vanna: A

De Vanna plays with a ton of speed, and the American side struggled to keep her in front for most of the game. Her side lost, but it certainly was not her fault.

De Vanna got the game's scoring underway with her goal in the first half. She was able to beat Solo, and the Australian side built off of it with another goal later.

It takes a special team to defeat the American side. De Vanna needed some help, but she performed very well on Wednesday.


Sarah Walsh: A

Walsh took a sub in the second half, but not before scoring her team's second goal in the first half. Once she scored, Team USA had a tiny reason to be nervous.

Walsh is Australia's veteran leader, and it's great to see players like her still taking the field. Her goal showed that she still knows how to play, even if she has lost a step physically.

De Vanna used her speed, but Walsh used her brains to control the Australian attack for as long as she could.


Woman of the Match

Alex Morgan, USA

This comes without question. Morgan has enjoyed a meteoric rise on the world stage, and she simply hasn't stopped.

The American attacker has a plethora of skill. When she's on, she navigates the offensive third with expert touches, deadly strikes and unselfishness when necessary.

Team USA has their share of older contributors, but their squad is in good hands because of Morgan. Her two goals paced the attack, but she's also involved in so many things that you won't find in the box score.

Players who can control the game like her don't come along all the time. Enjoy it.


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