The USA Women’s National Team sent off their departing manager, Pia Sundhage, in style last night with a 6-2 drubbing of Australia in an international friendly. The match also resulted in the team’s 100th goal of 2012, signifying the monumental force that America has become during the Swedish coach’s tenure. Last night was just another of the great victories for the team that won gold in the 2012 London Olympics.
Fortune fell for the American women. Two of their first three goals came from deflected shots that bounced into the corners of the goal. The Australian goalkeeper had no chance of saving those goals, and once America took the lead 3-2 early in the second half, the seal was broken and the goals just poured in.
The American team became one of the most entertaining soccer teams in the world with an energetic style that resulted in lots of goals. Players like Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan have become superstars under Sundhage’s tenure with countless goals and assists as they have claimed victories against nearly all their opposition.
In the 2011 Women’s World Cup, America claimed several exciting wins, including a fantastic result against Brazil that featured a Wambach game-tying goal in the 120th minute and a victory in a penalty kick shootout. The final was also an exciting game, but Japan claimed the title in penalty kicks.
However, the 2012 Olympics gave America an opportunity for revenge and they got just that, defeating Japan 2-1 in the gold medal final match.
What struck me with this current women’s team was the excitement on the pitch, and this will be immensely hard for a new coach to replicate. The team won countless new fans not just with their victories, but with the exciting way they have done it. Look to the USA Canada semifinal match of the Olympics for proof of that. Morgan scored a late header in the 124th minute to seal a 4-3 victory in a thrilling match.
Yes, Pia Sundhage will be sorely missed, but only because her presence was so great for American women’s soccer. Hopefully, we will find another great coach such as her because the current players are amazing, and they need someone great to lead them to more success. The team is at its height of talent and popularity and will hopefully battle on to more greatness under a new leader. Thanks for five great years, Pia Sundhage!