U.S. players celebrate scoring 1-0 against The Netherlands during the international friendly women's soccer match at ADO The Hague stadium, Netherlands, Tuesday April 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 5:59 pm
US women beat Netherlands 3-1 in exhibition
By MIKE CORDERAssociated Press
Christen Press scored twice and the Americans beat the Dutch 3-1 in an exhibition Tuesday night that extended their unbeaten streak to 31 games.
U.S. coach Tom Sermanni made 10 changes to the starting lineup from last week's 3-3 tie at Germany and kept his most-experienced players on the bench.
"This team has an unbelievable talent for producing chances," Press said. "No matter what is going in the game, we get in front of the goal. The team puts really great balls for the forwards to run onto, and it's a lot of fun to play."
Tobin Heath put the Olympic champions ahead in the 36th minute. Sydney Leroux went around Kirsten van de Ven and crossed for the 24-year-old Press. She let the ball go through to Heath, who curled it into the corner for her eighth international goal.
Press made it 2-0 in the 45th, running onto a through pass by Leroux and calmly stroking the ball past goalkeeper Loes Geurts from just inside the penalty area.
"Syd was kind of wreaking havoc all night," Heath said.
Press needed no help in the 60th, charging through the heart of the defense and driving a low shot into the far corner for her sixth goal in seven appearances since her international debut in February.
"She's done that all year," Sermanni said. "The composure in the finishing has been outstanding. Both goals she took tonight were two excellent striker's goals."
The 22-year-old Leroux was the youngest player on the U.S. roster at last year's Olympics.
"She's a handful. For 90 minutes, she's the type of player you don't want to be playing against," Sermanni said. "I felt sorry for her tonight. She was desperate to score and didn't quite get on target."
Outshot 25-9, the Dutch got a goal in the 81st minute when Manon Melis lobbed goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
"They definitely came out hard," Leroux said. "They gave us a good run."
Abby Wambach didn't play and remained at 155 international goals, three behind Mia Hamm's record. Captain Christie Rampone and veteran midfielder Shannon Boxx also started on the bench.
"Abby's still your key player, your go-to player," Sermanni said. "At this time of the year, this is a great opportunity for me to look at other players."
Geurts tipped a powerful long-range drive by Yael Averbuch before the Dutch succumbed to the relentless pressure. Julie Johnston had a header disallowed for offside in the 72nd minute.
"I think at times we could play with a little more composure," Sermanni said. "But overall, considering we made 10 changes from the previous game, I was really pleased with the performance."
With the National Women's Soccer League scheduled to start its first season Saturday, the U.S. women will be off until a June 2 exhibition against Canada in Toronto.
"It's going to be different, but we're excited," said Leroux, who will play for Boston. "We're glad that we had two good games, and now we are starting a new journey with a women's professional league back home."