At Long Last: Carey Leads Team USA to Solid Win in Opener
The wait was long, but worth it. After winning gold in 2009, the U.S. team finally had its chance to start defending its title at the 2013 FIL Women's World Cup in Oshawa, Ont. Despite an 8pm start time that left the team more eager than ever to play, Team USA won in convincing fashion, defeating England 17-7 win in their first game of the tournament.
"We've been itching for four years, and today it seemed like the day went on forever," American midfielder Ally Carey said. "England's really fast and really aggressive. And we definitely respected them as a team. So coming into it, we needed to be poised. We needed to come in, guns blazing. There were times when there were some drops in the game, but we're going to learn from it and go forward from there."
England struck first, on an unassisted goal from former Maryland star Laura Merrifield (3g), but the U.S. responded with 11 straight goals to take the lead and never trailed after that. Attackers Katrina Dowd (3g, 1a) and Katie Rowan (3g, 1a) led all scorers. It was Carey, though, who took home Player of the Match in her senior FIL debut, scoring 2 goals and capturing a team-high 6 draw controls. Overall, the U.S. won the draw battle, 15-11.
|Team USA got big contributions
from across the board in an opening 17-7 win over England at the
FIL World Cup in Ontario.
© JC Pinhiero
"Boxing out and letting me able to jump onto the ball is a huge part that I don't think people really see. Those back up players really just give me my space so I can get the ball. Otherwise I just have a million people crashing into my face, so thank goodness my teammates are there," Carey said.
Coach Ricky Fried praised Carey's play, in the circle and at both ends of the field.
"Ally was tremendous on the draws, played a huge role for us. I know it's been a big question mark for a lot of people," Fried said, in reference to the team's lack of a pure draw specialist. "When her [midfield] line was out, she still took a lot of draws for us. She was able to gain possession for us and still play positively on the defensive end, and score for us on the offensive end."
The U.S. stumbled slightly in the second half, allowing English midfielder Kirsten Lafferty to score three goals less than three minutes, cutting the American lead to 14-5 at 17:46. The English team outscored the Americans, 5-4, in the second half, but the early lead was too great to overcome.
"I have to give England a lot of credit – they came out in the second half and didn't give up and continued to play fast and aggressive. But overall, we're satisfied with the game today," Fried said. "It's great to have the first game over with. It's been a long journey to this point, and it was a long day today. Going in, we wanted to make sure we're focused what we do best, which is play fast and play aggressive but stay under control, and I thought we did an excellent job in the first half."
The defense held England to 7 goals on just 16 shots, and defenders Holly Reilly and Gina Oliver used rock-solid positioning to draw charges, adding to the total 10 caused turnovers by the American squad. Devon Wills started in goal and made 5 saves; Megan Huether came in during the second half and added two more.
Sally Keogh started in the goal for England, making two saves. Cat Gaunt relieved her at the half and made three stops. Lafferty (3g, 1a) was England's leading scorer.
For Carey, the game was the culmination of years of hard work to make the women's senior team for the first time. (Carey was a member of the 2007 FIL U19 Women's World Cup team, which won gold in nearby Peterborough, Ont.) Her two goals, both unassisted, were the first and last points scored by Team USA. What she remembers best about the game, though, is singing the national anthem.
"I'm a terrible singer, but just to sing your national anthem and to wear USA across your chest, I'm extremely honored to be here with these girls," she said. "That's the best part. These girls are amazing and I have the best time with them."