Soccer / Sports

US women's soccer tops Switzerland 4-1 in friendly

CARY. N.C. -- The biggest pregame cheer was for Alex Morgan.

The biggest in-game cheer was after Megan Rapinoe's third-minute goal.

Abby Wambach's record-setting goal got the deserved fanfare. Hope Solo received chants when handling the ball in net.

But in the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team's 4-1 victory Wednesday against Switzerland, a new -- and local -- face turned heads.

Left back Crystal Dunn, recently of North Carolina, shut down her side of the field from every would-be Swiss attack. After the game's first 30 minutes, the Swiss seemingly quit trying to go at the 22-year-old's side.

Dunn won the 2012 Hermann Trophy, which is given to the nation's top college player, as a junior at North Carolina. She just concluded her Tar Heel career last fall.

Dunn was just starting college when the U.S. finished runner-up to Japan in the 2011 World Cup.

Her emergence comes at a pivotal time.

This is the final friendly before the start of qualifying for the 2015 World Cup.

After finishing runner-up in 2011, the big need for the U.S. women was to find better defenders. It's got more than enough goal-scorers.

Also, coach Jill Ellis is in just her third game since being promoted from interim coach.

The last time the USWNT came to Cary, the team beat Japan 2-0. This was before Morgan, Solo and Wambach were household names, and the fanfare shows the difference.

Almost double the number of fans (9,992) welcomed the team this year, setting a new N.C. record for an international women's soccer match. The three women's soccer games in North Carolina that have drawn more than 10,000 fans were all for the NCAA Women's College Cup.

Fans barely had time to get the pregame excitement out of their system before time the U.S. scored in its first venture into the attacking third.

Rapinoe sent a long through ball to Sydney Leroux down the left flank. Leroux dribbled in and found Rapinoe as she stepped near the box. Rapinoe took a touch before driving in the 3rd-minute goal from about 20 feet.

The score was 1-0 at halftime.

After a Swiss handball in the box, the United States' Carli Lloyd converted a penalty kick in the 56th to make it 2-0.

Roles reversed in the 70th, when a U.S. handball allowed Switzerland's Ana Maria Crnogorcevic to convert the PK and make it 2-1, which prevented Solo from breaking the USWNT record for shutouts. She remains tied with Briana Scurry with 71.

Christen Press had the game's best goal in the 77th minute, chesting down a clearance kick and firing in a 25-yard half-volley that kicked down from the crossbar.

Wambach, who subbed in at halftime, was pushed down in the box in the 86th minute. She took and converted the PK to become the second USWNT player – Mia Hamm was the first – to top the 400-point mark for a career. She is already the all-time leader in goals.

Morgan had a bending strike saved in the 39th. She was subbed out in the 65th.

(c)2014 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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