By Michael Lewis
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The United States women struck for two goals in the opening seven minutes and Abby Wambach added her 156th career international goal with a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time as the host recorded a 4-1 victory over the Korea Republic in a friendly on Saturday night.
Kristie Mewis, Lauren Cheney and Carli Lloyd found the back of the net before Wambach moved within two goals of former U.S. teammate Mia Hamm on the all-time women's international goal-scoring list I front of 13,035 spectators at Gillette Stadium.
Wambach, the 2012 FIFA women's world player of the year, came on for Syndey Leroux at the beginning of the second half. She had several close opportunities, but could not convert until added time. Korean captain Shim Seoyeon had taken down Alex Morgan in the penalty area and referee Kari Seitz pointed to the penalty spot. Wambach sent her attempt into the lower right corner in the third minute of stoppage time.
She will have another opportunity to add to her total when the Americans face the Koreans at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Thursday night.
Hope Solo, who had not played for the U.S. since February after undergoing shoulder surgery, came on at halftime, replacing Nicole Barnhart. She was called on to make a few saves, including knocking away a shot a minute into the second half with the home side clinging to a 2-1 lead.
In the early going the U.S. controlled possession so much that the game was going to turn into a rout, scoring twice in the opening seven minutes.
Mewis, a midfielder playing left back, tallied her first international goal in the third minute. Leroux ran down the right side and had her shot saved by Kim Jungmi. An overlapping Mewis knocked home the rebound from six yards.
Only four minutes later, the Americans had doubled the score. Mewis started the scoring sequence with a throw-in on the left side that Tobin Heath back heeled to Cheney, who netted from 12 yards to make it
The U.S. almost made it 3-0 in the 20th minute, when Morgan took a long, low pass and motored into the area, but Jungmi saved her attempt.
Slowly, the Koreans gained more possession, finding the back of the net in the 26th minute. Kim Narae sent a pass to Cho Sohyun at the top of the box and she fired a shot past Barnhart, the first goal the Americans have allowed here in nine games.
The score remained 2-1 until Lloyd restored the two-goal cushion 12 minutes after the break. From her defensive midfield position, Lloyd unleashed a low, 30-yard effort into the lower left corner. It was her 44th international goal, tying her for 10th on the all-time U.S. scoring list with Alex Morgan and Tisha Venturini.
The U.S. has not lost in 33 games, since dropping a 2-1 decision to Japan (1-0) on March 5, 2012 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.