62413_isi_wambachabby_uswnthcs20130620218 Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com

Wambach's Four Goals Make History in Harrison

The United States women's national team star broke Mia Hamm’s all-time scoring record with a four-goal performance against South Korea last week. Maura Gladys reports from the scene.
BY Maura Gladys Posted
June 24, 2013
11:00 AM
I didn’t see Abby Wambach make history on Thursday night. I was supposed to, but thanks to two hours of traffic leading up to the George Washington bridge, I was sitting on the Jersey turnpike when Wambach scored her four goals, and rolled up to Red Bull Arena at half-time. Seriously, thanks car that caught on fire and Yankees game.

But that’s okay. Because I didn’t need to see Wambach score to confirm what we already know. Abby Wambach is the best striker to ever play the women’s game. Her four-goal performance in the United States’ 5-0 win over South Korea cemented her spot as the leading scorer in women’s soccer history, surpassing Mia Hamm’s record of 158.

Entering the match, Wambach hadn’t scored a goal in the run of play in three games, a rarity for the prolific talent. While she knocked in a penalty kick in stoppage time on Saturday night, she hadn’t scored for the U.S. since April. Alex Morgan, Christen Press, and Sydney Leroux had started to find the net consistently, but not Wambach.

The game in Harrison was different. Her teammates, to whom Wambach gives immense credit, were looking out for her. In the 10th minute, Lauren Cheney fed Wambach who turned and fired low and hard to cut Hamm’s lead to one. Nine minutes later, Cheney sent in a cross that Wambach connected on with a trademark header to tie Hamm’s record. Then, in the 29th minute of the 207th game that Wambach has played for the United States, she scored her 159th goal, more than any female soccer player ever. It was classic Wambach. Just before halftime, Wambach added one more goal for good measure when Alex Morgan sprinted to the sidelines, drawing the defense towards her before sliding the ball over to her wide-open teammate for a tap-in.

Wambach’s four goals were the product of clinical buildups from her talented teammates, but her finishing—with her left foot, right foot, and head—is what made that night, and her career thus far, so special.

That didn’t stop her from directing credit to her teammates.

“My teammates have put me in all different kinds of positions to score goals, and I can’t say it enough, and I really through and through believe it in my heart that I’m only as good as my teammates allow me to be,” she told reporters after the game. “And yes, I score a lot of goals, and yes, I put myself in position to score goals, but they do, too. I can’t thank my teammates enough. It’s a special night.”

The entire #ChasingMia campaign has been a months-long celebration of Wambach’s legacy, and Thursday night's moments were poignant, but Wambach won’t be satisfied until she wins a World Cup. Not even one hour after the game, she was thinking about the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

“Well, I’ve never really been focused on breaking the record, truthfully,” Wambach said. “For me, it’s getting my body to 100 percent physical health and fitness so I can be performing at my peak in 2015 for Canada. Of course we have to qualify to get to Canada first. For me, my focus, and my goal is winning that World Cup.”

The greatest forward ever isn't done yet.

Maura Gladys, a featured ASN columnist, works in production for KICKTV. She also runs the goalkeeping blog All You Need Is Glove.

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