Heather O'Reilly (#9) turns to celebrate after scoring in the United States' 8-0 win over Russia in a friendly on February 14, 2014, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Photo: Perry McIntyre/isiphotos.com)
ATLANTA – The United States women completed a two-game sweep of Russia and extended their home unbeaten streak to 80 games on Thursday with an 8-0 victory at the Georgia Dome.
The Americans have also not lost in 42 matches (36-6-0) overall, dating back to March 2012.
In a match delayed a day due to inclement weather in the Atlanta area, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, Heather O’Reilly and Christen Press each struck for second-half goals. The other U.S. tallies came courtesy of Russian own-goals.
It took only 11 minutes for the host go ahead. Rapinoe took a corner kick from the left side that goalkeeper Maria Zhamanakova was able to deflect. The ball remained in the box, where defender Whitney Engen was able to get off a left-footer that hit the left post and rebounded off Russia’s Elena Terekhova, before crossing the goal line.
The visitor’s defense again broke down to open the second half, when Rapinoe delivered a cross from the left side that Russian captain Ksenia Tsybutovich failed to intercept. With Wambach in the vicinity, defender Valentina Orlova inadvertently knocked the ball into her own net for a 2-0 U.S. lead in the 50th minute.
It was the first time in 30 years of U.S. women’s international football that the team benefited from two own-goals in a match.
Two minutes later, a powerful left-footed volley by Rodriguez off a perfect O’Reilly pass from the right wing pushed the U.S. advantage to 3-0.
In the 54th minute, the Americans made it 4-0 as an unmarked Wambach tapped in from a left-sided cross by Rapinoe. The goal was the Western New York Flash forward’s 165th of her international career.
Rapinoe got on the scoresheet in the 65th minute, using her head to deflect Morgan Brian’s effort from 23-yards out into the left side of the net.
The USA scored three more goals in the final 10 minutes. Holiday, a 68th minute substitute for Brian, struck via a penalty kick attempt in the 81st minute after she was taken down in the box.
O’Reilly increased the score to 7-0 in the 83rd minute, slipping behind two defenders inside the six-yard box to knock home Christen Press’ backheader.
Press completed the scoreline with four minutes left in regulation. The 25-year-old received a pass from Rapinoe in the left side of the penalty area and dribbled laterally into the middle to drill a shot past Zhamanakova from 12-yards out.
Next up for the U.S. is the 21st edition of the Algarve Cup in Portugal. It will face Japan (March 5), Sweden (March 7) and Denmark (March 10) prior to placement matches on March 12.
NOTES: The eight goals scored against Russia were the most by the U.S. in a single game since an 8-0 win over Costa Rica on September 1, 2012.