Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Wambach's brace sets up US victor

GOAL MACHINE:Abby Wambach, who has scored 80 goals in 98 hames for the US, scored a first half penalty, while a left-foot drive in the second half sank the Swedes

AP , CHENGDU, CHINA

Japan's Yuki Nagasato, right, fights for the ball with Argentina's Florencia Mandrile, second left, and Mariela Coronel during their Women's World Cup Group A matvh at the Hongkou stadium in Shanghai yesterday

The US defeated Sweden 2-0 yesterday in their second game at the women's World Cup with Abby Wambach scoring both.

The top US striker has three goals in two World Cup games despite playing with an injured toe and stitches in her head.

Wambach converted a penalty in the 34th minute, and scored a textbook goal in the 58th minute, settling a long ball on her chest and then driving a 15m left-footed shot behind Sweden keeper Hedvig Lindahl.

Wambach has scored 80 goals in 98 games for the US national team, seeking their third World Cup to go with titles in 1991 and 1999.

The victory puts the No. 1-ranked US in a good position to reach the quarter-finals following an opening 2-2 draw with North Korea in Group B, the toughest group of the 16-team tournament.

After being pressed hard for much of the early game in southwestern China, the US took control after Wambach's penalty on a sunny day, much different than the rainy opener.

Defender Kate Markgraf started the move, sending in a long, soaring ball that bounced and was misjudged by Sweden's keeper Lindahl. Racing to put the loose ball home, US midfielder Lori Chalupny was taken down in the area by Swedish defender Stina Segerstrom.

Though it wasn't a clear-cut penalty, the goal gave the US energy they lacked in the first 20 minutes when Sweden controlled the play and had four corners in the first four minutes.

Just 14 seconds into the game, Sweden's top striker Hanna Ljungberg headed just wide of an open goal.

The US began to settle after 20 minutes. Defender Cat Whitehill tried a long shot that Lindahl tipped over the bar in the 21st minute. A minute later, Kristine Lilly rifled in another long ball that Lindahl scrambled to stop.

Striker Victoria Svensson was Sweden's biggest threat in the first half. In 29th minute she shot just over the crossbar, and in the 32nd minute her free kick sailed just high.

Svensson was Sweden's most potent force in the second half as well. In the 79th minute, the US keeper batted her long shot over the crossbar, and moments later Ljungberg missed from close range in one of Sweden's last chances to get back into the game.

Friday's other results:

North Korea 2, Nigeria 0 and England 0, Germany 0.

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