Germany v USA - Abby Wambach, USWNT

A week worth noting from Abby Wambach


It’s fitting that Abby Wambach’s week started in Canada.

With all the attention on the star U.S. striker centered around #ChasingMia — Wambach’s 155 goals are three off the all-time international mark held by Mia Hamm, a record that will inevitably fall in the coming weeks or months — the bigger picture for the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year has been overshadowed: the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Wambach will turn 35 years old four days before the tournament kicks off, on June 6, 2015. While she’s been part of two of the last three U.S. Olympic gold medals, she’s yet to win a World Cup, one of those poster board, wakes up to it every morning for motivation sort of facts that drives one of the most genuinely competitive players in the sport.

Alex Morgan has emerged as the young star striker of the U.S., already 10th all-time on the U.S. goal scoring charts (44 goals) a month ahead of her 24th birthday. Morgan mania leads the conversation that the U.S. needs to be — and will be — younger come Canada 2015. The emergence of Christen Press and Sydney Leroux adds to the connotation that the Americans will have a young, speedy front line two years from now.

But to write off Wambach from anything — particularly the biggest prize in the game — is to not know her at all.

This week, like so many others, she proved why.

Wambach played three full matches in seven days this week, showing a durability that didn’t come without pain in 2011 when Achilles tendonitis gave her fits. Seven days. Three games. Two hundred seventy minutes. Two goals and three assists. That was Abby Wambach’s week with the U.S. and the Western New York Flash.

Twice Wambach played provider in the United States’ 3-0 win over Canada. She scored a classic ‘Abby will just out-jump you’ header on Wednesday that helped the Flash tie the Boston Breakers and Wambach capped off the week with a goal and an assist in the Flash’s 3-0 rout of co-league leaders Sky Blue FC on Saturday.

(MORE: Five takeaways from the U.S. women’s 3-0 win over Canada)

Oh, and she hit the crossbar twice in those two NWSL games.

Wambach’s scoring ability and determination have never been in question and they never will be in question. She’s one of the greatest — statistically soon to be the best — goal scorer ever. What has hung over the idea of her still being one of the United States’ go-to forwards in 2015 is her health and durability; she’s admitted that her body needs to hold up and it’s part of why she’s led a movement to have the 2015 World Cup played on grass instead of turf, as is currently scheduled.

The week of June 2-8 won’t show up in Abby Wambach’s career highlight film. It won’t be something talked about in 2015 and it may not even be noted much beyond this article. But it goes a long way in showing that Wambach is healthy and ready to make this stretch-run of her legendary career one that includes another World Cup. The frequency of games, the regional travel — this past week mimicked a World Cup.

It’s too early to call anyone a definite starter for 2015; U.S. coach Tom Sermanni will try plenty of experiments and make a good number of changes along the way. But if you think Wambach won’t be a significant part of the mix, think again.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)