Abby Wambach's career came to an end Thursday night, and so did the 104-game home unbeaten streak for the United States Women's National Team. The USWNT fell to China, 1-0, in New Orleans, marking the first time the U.S. has lost at home since 2004.
Wambach got the start up top along with the Orlando Pride's Alex Morgan and played 72 minutes. From the outset the goal of team was clear -- get Abby a goal. Try as they might however, the final ball just was not there and Wambach struggled to get a clear shot on goal. Her best opportunity came 30 minutes in when her toe poke attempt from around ten yards out dribbled to the Chinese keeper.
The all-time leading goal scorer in the game finishes her career with 184 career international goals, the most all-time among men or women. Her career also includes two Olympic gold medals and of course a World Cup title earned this past summer. When her time on the field was up, Wambach took off her cleats and hugged each teammate on the field before making way for Christen Press, to thunderous applause.
Just before halftime, Morgan was subbed off with what looked like a possible hamstring injury, but Orlando fans should take comfort in the fact that the 26-year-old was all smiles as she hugged Wambach before walking off the field under her own power.
For the second straight game, the Chinese defense was resilient and unlike on Sunday got to halftime tied at zero.
Also unlike Sunday, China got on the scoreboard. In the 58th minute, Wang Shuang got on the end of a cross and with the help of a deflection off of defender Meghan Klingenberg, slipped her shot past Hope Solo, who was caught wrong-footed because of the carom. It was only the second time on the Victory Tour that the USWNT trailed.
The U.S. threw numbers forward after that, but could not get the equalizer.
The USWNT will play Ireland in a January friendly before beginning Olympic qualifying in February.
Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris did not play.