For the second time in four days the U.S. Women's National Team defeated the Republic of Ireland. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe both netted first half goals as the team continued to roll through its post-Olympic Fan Tribute Tour with a 2-0 win on Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Morgan got the scoring started, tallying her 28th goal of 2012, in the first minute. The U.S. put the pressure on from the opening whistle and capitalized when Ireland failed to clear, as Shannon Boxx slotted a perfectly-timed ball through for Morgan, who sent her left-footed shot sailing past keeper Emma Byrne and into the far corner. Morgan, who scored a hat trick in Wednesday's 5-0 win, now has 38 career goals - in just 55 appearances.
The U.S. continued to pressure Ireland, but couldn't produce much in the way of quality chances until the 38th minute, when Rapinoe doubled the lead. After bringing the ball to the end line Morgan sent a pass back toward the penalty spot for Rapinoe, whose shot deflected off an Ireland player on its way past Byrne and into the net. In addition to Morgan's 28 goals this year, the pass to Rapinoe was good for her 19th assist of 2012.
The second half produced few chances for Ireland as the U.S. continued to pepper the opposing goal with shots. The 33 year-old Byrne had a stellar game in net for Ireland, keeping the scoreline respectable despite more than a few defensive lapses. The longtime Arsenal Ladies keeper stopped everything that came her way in the second frame, giving the U.S. just one decent chance through the final 45. A miscommunication between Byrne and Megan Campbell in the 82nd minute left a Lauren Cheney cross rolling across the goal line before being cleared by Louise Quinn.
The U.S. had one more chance just before full time to give the crowd of 11,570 something to cheer about, but Carli Lloyd sent her free kick deflecting off the Ireland wall and wide of the goal, leaving things to end 2-0. The USWNT now has 110 goals in 2012, the fourth most in team history. One more would tie the 111 goals scored in 1999. The record for goals in calendar year is 124, set in 2000 when the team played 41 matches.
The USWNT will finish out the Fan Tribute Tour with a three game set against China, beginning on December 8th at Ford Field in Detroit. The two sides will meet again at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on December 12th before finally wrapping up 2012 on the 15th of December in Boca Raton, Florida.