Abby Wambach (pictured) hopes to play in her fourth FIFA Women's World Cup with the United States next year in Canada. (Photo: Mexsport)
PHILADELPHIA -- If this is what Abby Wambach can do when she is at 60 percent, it is scary to contemplate how well the United States striker will play when at full throttle.
Wambach equaled her career-high, scoring four goals, three by headers, in the Americans' 6-0 win over Costa Rica in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship final on Sunday.
"All you can do really when Abby Wambach is playing like this is to pray, pray that they don't get the ball to her,” Costa Rica coach Garabet Avedissian said.
Despite a virtuoso performance, Wambach admitted to not being at top form. She has seven months to find it before Canada 2015 kicks off.
"I want to be continually, gradually climbing, hopefully not coming across any setbacks in terms of injury," said the 34-year-old, who is the USA’s all-time leading scorer in World Cup play with 13 goals. "But the reality is it's a long seven months. There is a lot of stress, a lot of responsibility and pressure that goes into it."
Wambach, the all-time international scoring leader for men or women at 177 goals and counting, still has one honor missing from her resume -- a world championship.
"If we can get outside of our own selves, play as a unit, not just the 11 on the field, but in the World Cup, the 23 that are on the squad can play as a unit ... we can whatever we would want,” she expressed. “That's something that's very special. As long as we don't get our egos involved … this team is going to win a World Cup."
The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world by FIFA, hasn't won a world championship since 1999. They will prepare by participating in a tournament in Brazil in December, holding a January camp and competing at the Algarve Cup, before a series of friendlies.
"We have an opportunity to win a World Cup, we really do," Wambach finished. "If this team can manufacture seven consistent games -- they don't have to be great-looking games -- where several players step up to the plate, where certain players shine when the light is shining so bright, then maybe we have a really great chance of winning the World Cup."