The United States will meet the Republic of Ireland twice in the next four days as the 2012 Fan Tribute Tour winds down. Rather than a typical preview of the current teams, let’s stroll down memory lane.
Below is a retrospective of the previous eight meetings between the two sides. This feature promises plenty of 5-0 wins, Abby Wambach goals, feats by former greats, and Kate Markgraf’s first and final international goal.
September 4, 1999 – 5-0 – Foxborough, MA
The game in which… the U.S. cruised to a 5-0 victory in its first homecoming match since being crowned world champions
Setting the stage: The freshly-minted world champions (and sporting superstars) returned to action before a rapturous crowd totaling 30,564. Head coach Tony DiCicco admitted his team was still a bit weary from the World Cup but commended the side for its professional performance. DiCicco reassembled his World Cup squad but a couple key actors were missing including Michelle Akers and Briana Scurry. Tiffeny Milbrett owned the moment scoring two goals and providing one assist.
Stat of note: This match remains the third highest-attended USWNT friendly since 1999. It also marked Tony DiCicco’s 99th win as head coach.
Stock ‘Brave Ireland’ line from match report: Ireland put up an admirable fight against a U.S. roster stocked with a staggering 1,599 international games worth of experience as compared to a combined 104 total for the Irish.
Current USWNT players used: None
June 14, 2003 – 5-0 – Salt Lake City
The game in which… an 18-year-old Heather O’Reilly scored her first goal moments before breaking her leg in her first senior appearance.
Setting the stage: It was the third-to-last tune-up match ahead of the 2003 World Cup. The timing proved opportune as Julie Foudy explained, “This year we only have three and a half weeks between the end of the WUSA season and the start of the World Cup. When we’re only playing an average of one game a month, a game like this is a great chance for us to come together and gel.” This was only just the second domestic friendly staged since the decision to move the tournament from China to the U.S.
Fate was cruel to precocious high school talent Heather O’Reilly as she recorded her first senior goal seconds before colliding with goalkeeper Emma Byrne. X-Rays would later reveal a broken fibula, ruling her out of the 2003 World Cup. Head coach April Heinrichs relied on established stars to carry the day for the USWNT, as Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm joined Abby Wambach in the goal parade.
Stat of note: This was just Wambach’s 11th cap and also marked the second time she went the full 90 for the senior side.
Stock ‘Brave Ireland’ line: Byrne, the starting goalkeeper for the Arsenal Ladies in England, played a brave match in the net for Ireland.
Current USWNT players used: Wambach; O’Reilly
Attendance: 19,584 Attendance at most recent appearance in city: Rio Tinto Stadium June 30, 2012 (16,805)
October 20, 2004 – 5-1 – Chicago
The game in which… Cindy Parlow’s hat-trick propelled the U.S. to a 5-1 win and Ireland grabbed a goal
Setting the stage: The U.S. visited Soldier Field on its sixth stop on the post-2003 World Cup Fan Celebration Tour. The match reads like a routine U.S. romp complete with the seventh hat-trick of Cindy Parlow’s career. Abby Wambach and Cat Whitehill (then Reddick) were also on the scoresheet.
Stat of note: But hey, Ireland managed to score! Who was in goal for the home side, you ask? Kristin Luckenbill. Michelle O’Brien’s goal marks the Republic’s first and only goal ever scored against the U.S. The strike also snapped the 439-minute goalless record the U.S. had maintained on the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour.
Stock ‘Brave Ireland’ line: The USA battled a feisty Irish side that showed commitment on defense and some skill in the attack.
Current USWNT players used: Rampone; Mitts; Boxx; Wambach
October 23, 2004 – 5-0 – Houston
The game in which… Abby Wambach helped herself to all five goals as Mia Hamm edged closer to retirement
Setting the stage: The night belonged to USWNT icons. Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm formed an unbeatable tandem and nearly blew the retractable roof off Reliant Stadium. Wambach’s five-star performance brought the Rochester native’s season goal total to a whopping 28 that year (she would go on to score three more). Longtime Texas resident Hamm assisted in four of Wambach’s five goals on the night. The match would serve as Hamm’s third-to-final game in a USWNT shirt.
Stat of note: Wambach became the fourth player to score five goals in a match (that list now includes Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux). The victory also marked the USWNT’s record 27th win a calendar year. (That record would be surpassed in 2008.)
Current USWNT players used: Mitts; Rampone; Boxx; Wambach
July 23, 2006 – 5-0 – San Diego
The game in which… Abby Wambach captained the U.S. for the first time, Cat Whitehill netted a brace, and Megan Rapinoe earned her premier USWNT cap
Setting the stage: The USWNT’s second generation (Solo; LePeilbet; Lloyd; Whitehill; Chalupny; Kai, etc.) was firmly establishing itself in the Greg Ryan era. The match report sums it up from the getgo lamenting the ‘unlucky Irish’ and saying there was ‘no drama this afternoon’. Christie Welsh, Tina Frimpong, Lori Chalupny, and Aly Wagner all chipped in with assists.
Stat of note: The U.S. fired off 36 shots to Ireland’s 2. It was also the fifth time in five meetings in which the USWNT scored five against Ireland.
Current USWNT players used: Solo; Mitts; Rampone; LePeilbet; Lloyd; O’Reilly; Rapinoe; Wambach
September 13, 2008 – 2-0 – Philadelphia
The game in which… Heather O’Reilly earned her 100th cap and locked up the 2-0 win with a late goal
Setting the stage: The first match of the 2008 Achieve Your Dream Tour was also its best-attended with 13,176 people at Lincoln Financial Field. Natasha Kai continued her scoring streak with the first strike of the night.
Stat of note: Emma Byrne came up with eight saves; the most for the Republic of Ireland in the USA-IRL series. It was the first time the U.S. failed to put five goals away against Ireland.
Stock ‘Brave Ireland’ line: Despite getting out-shot 20-4, Ireland put in a solid effort against the Olympic champions, playing compact, energetic defense that featured some hard tackling.
Current USWNT players used: Solo; Barnhart; Rampone; Buehler; Mitts; Boxx; Lloyd; O’Reilly
Attendance: 13,176 Attendance at most recent appearance in city: May 27, 2010 PPL Park (18,573)
September 17, 2008 – 1-0 – East Rutherford, NJ
The game in which… Tasha Kai nabbed the lone goal before hurdling the advertising board at then-Giants Stadium
Setting the stage: Chances were sparse on the night as the U.S. accounted for just 12 shots and merely thee on goal. Natasha Kai and Carli Lloyd combined for Kai’s team-leading 15th goal of the year.
Stat of note: Kai’s goal put her average at one goal per every 90 minutes in 2008.
Stock ‘Brave Ireland’ line: The USA dominated the possession, but had trouble breaking through a packed and committed Ireland defense.
Current USWNT players used: Solo; Rampone; Buehler; Mitts; Boxx; Lloyd; O’Reilly
September 20, 2008 – 2-0 – Bridgeview, Illinois
The game in which… Kate Markgraf scored her maiden international goal. And it came thanks to a little help from her friends.
Setting the stage: Two cult favorites wound up on the score sheet as Lori Chalupny opened the scoring and Kate Markgraf converted a penalty kick. Both goals were scored by defenders which must also be some kind of record.
Markgraf on her goal in her own words: “For the past 10 years, any time we’ve had a penalty opportunity that wasn’t in a major tournament they’ve tried to get me to take one. Today I finally caved and said ‘okay, I’ll take one today.’ Some of it had to do with being here in Chicago [shout-out to WPS fans] but I also had to get rid of the pressure! Natasha Kai probably put the most pressure on me. She would always say ‘I’m getting you a PK!’”
Stat of note: The 2-0 win marked the USWNT’s 29th win in 2008; setting a record for most wins in a calendar year. The win also put Pia Sundhage’s win percentage at .951; the best ever at that point.
Current USWNT players used: Solo; Barnhart; Rampone; Buehler; Mitts; Boxx; Lloyd; HAO
Attendance: 5,390 Attendance at most recent appearance in city: 19,522 (October 20, 2012)
Note: AWK will be providing live coverage on Wednesday night from JELD-WEN Field. Yup, your author is being wholly irresponsible and flying out for a midweek friendly against the 34th best team in the world, but heck, I’m just making up for lost time or something.