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Wambach brace lifts U.S. women past Ireland
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Abby Wambach (pictured) scored two goals in the USA's victory over visiting Ireland in an international friendly on May 10, 2015, at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California. (Photo: John Todd/isiphotos.com)

SAN JOSE, California -- Abby Wambach scored two goals and the United States started its final FIFA Women's World Cup preparations with a 3-0 win over the visiting Republic of Ireland on Sunday.

The Americans began a series of three warm-up matches in sterling fashion, before a capacity crowd of 18,000 at Avaya Stadium.  They extended their unbeaten streak to six games and are now 11-0-0 all-time against the Irish.

The host, which held a 26-0 advantage in shots, took the lead in the 42nd minute.  An Ireland defender attempted to clear a Megan Rapinoe corner kick, but the ball ricocheted off the face of a teammate on the far post to the USA’s Christen Press, who positioned on the right side of the penalty area.  The forward squared a pass to Wambach to knock into the net from eight-yards out.

Only three minutes later, Wambach was at it again, connecting for her 180th career international goal as she headed home a Carli Lloyd cross.  Lloyd dribbled past her marker on the left-goal line and delivered a right-footed cross, which Wambach headed home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Julie Johnston completed the CONCACAF champion’s scoring in the 54th minute, connecting in a third consecutive match.  Acrobatically leaping at the near post, the 23-year-old defender used her right foot to direct Lauren Holiday’s right-sided corner kick past goalkeeper Niamh Reid-Burke.

The USA will next meet rival Mexico at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on May 17.

 
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