Legendary United States striker Abby Wambach has a simple answer for why she hasn't scored in the first two games of the 2015 Women's World Cup. -- Artificial turf. After missing three trademark headers in the U.S.' first two group games Wambach has laid blame solely on the artificial turf the tournament is being played on.
Wambach told USA Today if the games were being held on natural grass instead, she would've buried the chances against Australia. "The two headers that I had that I missed in the first game I think I score if we're on grass," said Wambach.
Not only is she blaming her inability to finish on the turf, but she claims the goalkeepers are somehow better on the artificial surface. "My focus was on getting my head on the end of a cross," Wambach said. "I did. Goalkeeper made a great save. If it's on grass, I think it goes in."
A professional soccer player for 14 years, perhaps Wambach as gained a knowledge of the physics of a soccer ball reacting to turf.
"Because I'm way more carefree (on grass)," she said. "I throw my body. I'm not worried about anything. There's no second-guessing. The ball as it comes off my head against Sweden, it's a dry turf and bounces higher. If it hits the grass, it's harder for a goalkeeper to react. So if the ball bounces higher, the goalkeeper has more time to react off the turf."
She also feels the turf limits her ability to commit 100% effort to her aerial attempts.
"The previous game, I don't completely lay out and commit to those headers and that's why they glance off my head rather than me contacting them. So for me, I definitely think that the United States has more goals if we're playing on grass."
With all six World Cup venues featuring artificial turf, she will have to endure the tough conditions if she has any chance of breaking the all-time scoring record. Wambach trails Brazil's Marta by two goals for the historic honor. It could be an impossible task if Jill Ellis continues to start the aging striker on the bench as she did in the second group game against Sweden.
With Alex Morgan gaining fitness and Christian Press shining, the veteran Wambach could see her World Cup minutes continue to dwindle.