Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Abby Wambach's brains provided crucial assist to U.S. women's soccer's comeback against Canada

It was no secret Canada's strategy against the deeper, more talented Americans was to slow the game down. That included, Wambach said, having goalkeeper Erin McLeod hold the ball as long as possible, even over 15 seconds at times during the first half. Soccer rules say the goalkeeper must get rid of the ball within six seconds. During the second half, with the U.S. frantically trying to speed up the game while attempting multiple comebacks, Wambach began running near referee Christiana Pedersen and counting off the seconds that McLeod held the ball. She said she often got to 10 and into even the teens.

"I wasn't yelling. I was just counting," Wambach revealed Tuesday during an interview at the team hotel. "Probably did it five to seven times."

The last time came in the 78th minute, with Canada trying to milk a 3-2 lead. McLeod made a save, and Wambach began counting again.

"I got to 10 seconds right next to the referee, and at 10 seconds she blew the whistle," Wambach said.

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