Wambach bows out in defeat as China end 11-year U.S. streak

Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:11am EST
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(Reuters) - Abby Wambach, the most prolific goalscorer of all time in international soccer, bowed out of the game in defeat on Wednesday when the United States women's team lost 1-0 to China to end an unbeaten run of 104 matches on home soil.

Despite the best efforts of her American team mates to get the ball to her in the friendly played in front of 32,950 fans in New Orleans, Wambach had only a couple of half-chances to add to her tally of 184 international goals.

China struggled to get the ball out of their own half for long periods, but scored on a rare attacking foray when Wang Shuang connected with a cross in the 58th minute, her shot deflecting past a wrong-footed American goalkeeper Hope Solo.

The result, the first home loss for the U.S. since 2004, was not exactly the perfect Wambach send-off but it did not detract too much from an evening that was largely a celebration of her career.

She was substituted after 71 minutes, trotting off the pitch to a standing ovation after removing her boots and hugging several team mates.

Wambach bowed out with 184 goals, the most by either man or woman in internationals, from 255 matches. Iranian Ali Daei holds the men's record with 109 goals in 149 games.

"It is time to go. I think it's a little fitting that this is the result," Wambach said in a pitch-side interview.

"I know everybody wanted to get me a goal. That's probably why we didn't score, because they were so focused on trying to get me a goal.

"I think it's kind of appropriate I lost my last game. Today wasn't about winning. Today was about celebrating a long career and almost the end of an era."   Continued...

Dec 16, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA;  United States of America forward Abby Wambach (20) reacts to a call during the first half of the World Cup Victory Tour match against the China PR at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports