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U.S. women's national team defeats Ireland in Glendale
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Soccer

U.S. women's national team defeats Ireland in Glendale

2nd goal set up by former Sun Devil LePeilbet

  • American forward Alex Morgan dribbles through the Irish defense.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comAmerican forward Alex Morgan dribbles through the Irish defense.
  • U.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx tackles Irish forward Denise O'Sullivan.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comU.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx tackles Irish forward Denise O'Sullivan.
  • Irish goalkeeper Emma Byrne was called into action on set pieces all night.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comIrish goalkeeper Emma Byrne was called into action on set pieces all night.
  • U.S. striker Abby Wambach attempts a shot on the volley.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comU.S. striker Abby Wambach attempts a shot on the volley.
  • U.S. Soccer icon Alex Morgan warms up before the friendly against Ireland at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comU.S. Soccer icon Alex Morgan warms up before the friendly against Ireland at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
  • Irish goalkeeper Emma Byrne collects a cross as U.S. forward Abby Wambach threatens.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comIrish goalkeeper Emma Byrne collects a cross as U.S. forward Abby Wambach threatens.
  • Megan Rapinoe celebrates her goal against Ireland.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comMegan Rapinoe celebrates her goal against Ireland.
  • Alex Morgan fires off a shot.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comAlex Morgan fires off a shot.
  • U.S. forward Lauren Cheney tries to break past Shannon McDonnell in the Irish box.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comU.S. forward Lauren Cheney tries to break past Shannon McDonnell in the Irish box.
  • Abby Wambach darts past the fallen Louise Quinn.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comAbby Wambach darts past the fallen Louise Quinn.
  • Irish and American players struggle to connect with a corner kick in the second half.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comIrish and American players struggle to connect with a corner kick in the second half.
  • American midfielder Megan Rapinoe provided a creative spark throughout the game.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comAmerican midfielder Megan Rapinoe provided a creative spark throughout the game.
  • Over 11,000 fans showed up to watch the USA Women's National Team take on Ireland at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comOver 11,000 fans showed up to watch the USA Women's National Team take on Ireland at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
  • U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe dribbles past Julie Ann Russell and MT McDonnel.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comU.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe dribbles past Julie Ann Russell and MT McDonnel.
  • Irish defender Louise Quinn fouls Carli Lloyd just outside the box.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comIrish defender Louise Quinn fouls Carli Lloyd just outside the box.
  • Irish captain and goalkeeper Emma Byrne gathers a free kick as American forward Abby Wambach complains of a push in the box.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comIrish captain and goalkeeper Emma Byrne gathers a free kick as American forward Abby Wambach complains of a push in the box.
  • Irish defender MT McDonnel tries to tackle the ball away from Megan Rapinoe.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comIrish defender MT McDonnel tries to tackle the ball away from Megan Rapinoe.
  • American forward Alex Morgan squares to shoot.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comAmerican forward Alex Morgan squares to shoot.

It didn't take long for the United States women's national team to get on the scoreboard as they defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-0 on Saturday night. 11,570 fans watched as the U.S. scored 44 seconds into the match at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

The kickoff gave Lauren Cheney the ball, which she slipped to Alex Morgan who shot past the surprised Irish goal keeper, Emma Byrne. The first goal of the match took less than a minute to appear on the scoreboard.

The U.S. dominated in all aspects of the game in the first half. The few times an Irish player would get the ball, they would be quickly dispossessed before being able to pass.

Ireland registered no shots on goal, or even a threatening possession, for the first 20 minutes of the game. It was time for someone else to get some time on the field, and the popular starting keeper Hope Solo exited the game to great applause from the crowd. Substitute keeper Jill Loyden, who served as Hope Solo's back up with St. Louis Athletica in 2009, made her fourth appearance for the national team.

Ireland managed a free kick a few yards outside the penalty area in the 25th minute for their first real threat on goal. Megan Campbell's shot went wide.

Although Byrne did a better job keeping the U.S. out of the goal than she did on Wednesday, she was unable to stop an attempt that started with former Arizona State player Amy LePeilbet making a long pass to Alex Morgan. Morgan took the ball nearly to the end line before passing it into the box. Megan Rapinoe didn't look quite ready for it, but took a shot that fooled Byrne to widen the U.S. lead.

The second half started with Nicole Barnhart subbing in for Loyden, marking the third U.S. keeper of the match. Neither Solo nor Loyden were tested: Ireland recorded no shots on goal in the first half.

Although the U.S. didn't manage to match the goal scoring match against Ireland on Wednesday, they weren't lacking for offense. Midfielder Carli Lloyd managed three shots on goal, including one in the 67th minute that required a stretching Byrne to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Arizona raised Sydney Leroux, who scored two earlier this week, had her best chance in minute 75. Byrne saved the ball in what turned out to be a remarkable half for the Arsenal LFC keeper.

The game ended with the fifth win for the U.S. on their Fan Tribute Tour. The next stops on the tour all involve a much tougher opponent: China. The US will travel to Detroit on Dec. 8, Houston on Dec. 12 and Boca Raton on Dec. 15 to take on the Forceful Roses, currently ranked 18th in the world.

The new coach is coming; look busy

The team is currently tutored by interim coach Jill Ellis, with Australian national team coach Tom Sermanni set to take over in January. He wasn't at this game, but he plans to attend the matches against China.

"It’s a fresh start for everybody. He’s watching films and taking notes on things he wants to tweak and things he likes," said Carli Lloyd after the match. "I’m looking forward to these three games and getting on the pitch with Tom."

"I've heard great things about him," said Lloyd. "I think he's going to come in and do a great job and we'll keep having fun on the field."

Defender Amy LePeilbet welcomes the change.

"I'm a person that rolls with things. I don't stress too much," she said. "I'm excited to meet Tom. I've never met him before and I've never played for him...I'm sure he'll bring some new and exciting things to our team."

Back to Arizona

Two players with Arizona connections saw time on the field.

Amy LePeilbet earned First-Team All-PAC-10 honors three times during her time at Arizona State University.

"It's exciting to be back, I love playing here," she said as young fans were still screaming for their favorite players after the game. "It's like my home turf."

"I think the level lifting everywhere is a good thing," she said about the growth of the sport in Arizona. "Everyone jumping to the next level is pushing the sport, more athletes are developing, working at a higher rate, playing against better players and having better competition. I think it’s going to help our sport grow in America."

Former Sereno Soccer Club standout Sydney Leroux is Canadian-born, but went to high school in Phoenix. She feels a special connection to the soccer scene in Arizona.

"It's coming home," said LeRoux of the crowd that included players and friends that she knew in high school. "It’s where soccer started for me for with the U.S. National Team so it just feels really good to come back."

For stat geeks

Center back Christie Rampone earned her 273rd cap, putting her in third place for all time appearances for the national team. She is only surpassed by Mia Hamm (275) and Kristine Lilly (352).

Alex Morgan's goal marks 27 for the year. The only two U.S. players exceeding that mark are Abby Wambach (31 in 2004) and Michelle Akers (39 in 1991). Her assist was her 19th of the year. For single year totals, that's only exceeded by Carin Gabarra (21 in 1991) and Mia Hamm (20 in 1998 and 22 in 2004).

United States v Republic of Ireland

Univeristy of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale

  • Scoring summary
  • USA - Alex Morgan (1')
  • USA - Megan Rapinoe (38')
  • Misconduct summary
  • IRL - Sophie Perry (caution, 81')
  • IRL - Niamh Fahey (caution, 88')
  • United States: Hope Solo (Jill Loyden 22', Nicole Barnhart, 46') - Heather Mitts (Christie Rampone 46'), Rachel Buehler, Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy LePeilbet - Megan Rapinoe (Amy Rodriguez 59'), Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd, Lauren Cheney - Alex Morgan (Sydney Leroux 59'), Abby Wambach
  • Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne - Mary Therese McDonnell, Megan Campbell, Louise Quinn, Shannon McDonnell - Aine O’Gorman, Niamh Fahey, Ciara Grant (Sophie Perry 46'), Julie Ann Russell (Ruesha Littlejohn 58'), Diane Caldwell - Denise O’Sullivan (Shannon Smyth 46')

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