Fresh off their gold medal winning performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the US Women's National Soccer is making a pit stop in Houston on Wednesday night. They'll face an old adversary in the Chinese National Team at BBVA Compass Stadium.
It's been eight years since the ladies last played in Houston -- a 5-0 victory against the Republic of Ireland on October 23, 2004 at Reliant Stadium. Then, a 24 year old by the name of Abby Wambach lit up Reliant Stadium with a five-goal performance. At the team's training session Tuesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, she talked about playing in Houston after a long hiatus.
"Nothing better than to play in a new stadium; this stadium is fantastic," Wambach said. "We believe that the Houston fans know what they're talking about; they know the game of soccer. The Houston Dynamo obviously give them something great to see every weekend during the MLS season. We're really excited. It's going to be a lot of fun tomorrow night, and hopefully a lot of people come out and watch."
They're facing the same Chinese team they recently beat 2-0 in Detroit this past weekend. Knowing that China will clog the middle of field, Wambach knows they'll have to spread out the Chinese with great wing play.
"For us, we have to spread the ball wide, get crosses into the box, and kind of try to pull them apart systematically," Wambach said. "If we are to do that, I think we are going to get a lot of goals."
The US would also like to pounce on the Chinese quicker than they did in Detroit, as forward Alex Morgan described.
"I think since we've gotten two training sessions under our belt in Houston, we're really looking forward to just starting that rhythm and tempo a little bit sooner," Morgan said. "Hopefully getting a couple of goals earlier than later, and just having fun and enjoying ourselves and a performance for the crowd."
Morgan the new face of women's soccer When the US Women last came to town, it was during the farewell tour for many of the team's greats. A young Wambach came into her own that night in 2004 with five goals; four of them were assisted by the legendary Mia Hamm -- a sort of passing of the baton.
Now at 32, she sees the new generation of talent coming onto the national team. Leading the charge for this new group is Morgan, the darling of the London Olympic Games.
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"Alex Morgan is kind of coming into her own," Wambach said. "She's the perfect person to take this team and carry us through the media aspect of things."
During this current post-Olympic tour Morgan became the first player since Hamm to score 20 goals and have 20 assist in one calendar year. Along with Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, and Amy Rodriguez, they hope to win the one title that has eluded the veterans on this squad: a FIFA Women's World Cup.
"I'm really proud to be on this team," Wambach said. "To not only just settle on winning Olympic gold, but you know what, a lot of us haven't won a World Cup. That's what our sights are set on. Obviously there's a long time between now and then, but this team is going to be an even better team in four years."
Wednesday night's match against China is set to kick-off at 7:30 p.m., and will be aired nationally on Fox Soccer Channel.