USWNT: U.S. Women End 2012 With a Win, Name of Pro-League Announced

posted by Sarah Hallett, a Women Talk Sports blogger
today, December 15, 2012 at 9:30pm EST

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Boca Raton, FL. (December 15, 2012)-Four months ago the U.S. Women's national soccer team won their third consecutive gold medal. Their 2-1 victory was sweet revenge against the Japanese team that one year earlier denied the Americans a World Cup trophy. Since claiming gold in London the team has traveled across the country taking part in a ten game fan tribute tour, which came to an end tonight with a 4-1 win against China PR. 

It was the third match between the two nations within a week’s span and the third straight win for the U.S. over the 19th ranked Asian squad. Though it was not a shutout like the first two games, it was a match dominated throughout by the number one ranked team in the world.

It took only 18 minutes before Abby Wambach added her 151st goal of her career when she headed in a ball that was flicked to her off the foot of fellow forward Alex Morgan. 

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe gave the U.S. the 2-0 lead when she caught the Chinese goalkeeper well out of the box and scored from forty yards out in the 36th minute.

That goal was followed by a scary collision between Morgan and two Chinese defenders that left Morgan writhing in pain for close to a minute before being able to resume play. Surprisingly no penalty was granted to the Americans though it was a clear example of just how physical the Chinese team has been this past week against the U.S.

China secured their first goal of the three game series in the 45th minute with a strike from Han Peng that inched past a diving Hope Solo who was looking for her 12th shutout of the season.

Goal number 152 for Wambach came in the 64th minute when again she scored with a header to give the U.S. the 3-1 advantage. Tonight brought Wambach one-step closer to breaking Mia Hamm's record of 158 goals. With 27 goals this year she is now just 6 shy of the record, which will undoubtedly fall this spring barring any injury to the 32-year-old veteran.

Sydney Leroux made it 4-1 for the Americans with her own header  in the 87th minute as she continues to make a case for the starting lineup.  It was the 14th goal of the year for the super-sub and set a record for the U.S. Women in goals off the bench.

U.S. Soccer used the last game of the year as an opportunity to present not only the name of the new women's professional league but also the logo. The league will be known as the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the new logo can be found at this link. The league will be comprised of eight teams and is set to debut this spring and feature a 22 game season. 

U.S. Soccer will be subsidizing the salaries of 24 players and will oversee the administration of the league in hope that the financial failures of the past can be avoided. The eight teams in the league are: Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, Western New York Flash, Portland Thorns FC and Seattle. Seattle has yet to announce an official name.

Also announced today by U.S. Soccer is the date and opponent of the first match for the U.S. Women in the new year. The team will be back in Florida to take on Scotland on February 9th in Jacksonville and it will be the first official match for new head coach Tom Sermanni.

“It’s great to have the first game set and it’s even more exciting that my first opponent as the U.S. coach is against the country of my birth,” said Sermanni. “(Scotland coach) Anna (Signeul) has done a terrific job with the program and they have made great strides over the past four or five years. They are now a very competitive team in women’s international football. The first match is going to be something very new, but I’m really looking forward to getting started with this team.”

Sermanni has also stated that he has no interest in shaking up the team before their first game of 2013. Although he plans to bring more players in for evaluation he does not expect that to occur before the match against Scotland. 

For the U.S. players they have now earned a well deserved break with about six weeks off before they meet again for training prior to their friendly with Scotland. Their first international tournament will be this spring when they take part in the Algarve Cup in Portugal. 

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