The USA celebrates after Abby Wambach scores against Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF Women's Championship on October 15, 2014, in Kansas City, Kansas, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)
KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- Abby Wambach scored in the 55th minute to lift the United States to a 1-0 Group A victory over a difficult Trinidad & Tobago side in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship on Wednesday night.
The result left the Americans (1-0-0, 3 points) in a first-place tie with Haiti (1-0-0, 3), which defeated Guatemala (0-0-1, 0 points) in the first game of the doubleheader at Sporting Park.
The Soca Princesses, the 46th ranked team in the world, made life difficult for the top-ranked women's team by playing a tough defense and by keeping many players behind the ball. In seven previous encounters, the Americans never scored fewer than three goals against T&T.
Goalkeeper Kimika Forbes was magnificent in defeat, stopping everything sent her way.
"Credit to them. They played a great game of soccer," Wambach said. "They stuck with their game plan. Their goalkeeper played a ridiculous game."
After enduring a frustrating first half of near misses, the U.S. finally solved the defense 10 minutes into the second half. A Carli Lloyd through ball found Alex Morgan bearing down on goal on the left side. Forbes came out to cut down the angle as several defenders ventured toward Morgan. She sent a cross to an open Wambach, who headed home her world-record 171st international goal.
The USA was out of sync, seemingly a step ahead or behind, while attempting passes and shots.
"We've just got to get the ball down and play," Wambach said. "A lot of teams are going to try to bunker us."
Sometimes the Americans were sloppy as well. Goalkeeper Hope Solo almost gave the equalizer to Trinidad on a silver platter when her errant goal kick was intercepted by Kennya Cordner on the left side. Cordner fired her shot over the crossbar.
Another Trinidad opportunity came in the 41st minute as Cordner went 1 v 1 with defender Christie Rampone on the left wing. Rampone forced the 25-year-old forward to shoot from a difficult angle, allowing Solo an easy save.
The U.S. will meet Guatemala in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Friday night, while T&T faces Haiti.
To view the Highlights of the game, click here.