U.S. women's team surges to tie against China at PPL Park

Posted: October 07, 2010

The comeback was good.

It wasn't rip off the jersey, flash the sports bra good, but it was definitely another testament to the resolve of what has been a perennially dominant U.S. women's national team program.

With her first international goal, second-half substitute Alex Morgan saved the United States from what looked to be a certain loss, capitalizing on a feed off a header from forward Abby Wambach in the 83rd minute to preserve a 1-1 tie against China last night at PPL Park.

China was the opponent for that memorable moment of jubilation from Brandi Chastain after the Americans won, 5-4, on penalty kicks to claim the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.

A feverish second-half attack from the U.S. team nullified a perfect, one-timed volley from Chinese forward Ma Jun, who collected a cross from the left flank in stride from midfielder Gu Yasha and put in past USA keeper Nicole Barnhart in the 37th minute.

The tie saved what would have been just the second loss on U.S. soil in 6 years. The last time that happened was in 2004 at Lincoln Financial Field, a 3-1 loss to Denmark, during the U.S. team's Fan Celebration Tour.

The tie was the final friendly before the United States travels to Mexico to begin qualifying for the 2011 Women's World Cup. It also preserves the Americans' 2-year unbeaten streak and puts the all-time mark between the two rivals at 24-8-12 in favor of the Stars and Stripes.

"When I came in, the game was getting good and we had just started to pick up the intensity, so I knew we were going to get a goal," Morgan said. "Abby gave me a great header and I just had to be there to finish it off."

Delran, N.J., native Carli Lloyd played a full 90 minutes for the first time since returning from a broken ankle sustained while playing for Sky Blue FC in the WPS.

"I felt really good tonight, but the last thing I am waiting on with my foot is too keep my endurance up," said Lloyd, who had her own little fan club in section 119. "The foot gets a little tired towards the end but overall, I felt really good and it felt really good to get a 90-minute game in."

Last night's game gave U.S. coach Pia Sundhage one last look at who will make the roster for World Cup qualifying beginning Oct 28. In all, 30 players in the U.S. pool were cut down to 24 for last night's match, and that number will drop to 20 for qualifying.

"I think we are still trying to click and get people on the same page, we have a lot of new people playing in different positions," said Barnhart, a Pottstown native who had two saves last night. "It's just a matter of getting games under our belt . . . you walk away from games like this realizing what you do need to work on, which is always a good thing."

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