History was made Thursday night at Red Bull Arena as the U.S. women's national soccer team hosted South Korea in a friendly.
Abby Wambach first tied and then broke Mia Hamm's international goal-scoring record of 158 with a hat trick within the first 29 minutes of the first half. She added a fourth goal in the closing minutes of the half to round out a dominating performance from the USWNT. Wambach now sits alone as the highest-scoring international soccer player, male or female, with 160 goals and counting.
In front of an adoring crowd made up mostly of families and young girls dressed in red, white and blue, the U.S. women gave the fans plenty to cheer about. When Wambach scored her record-breaking goal on a header from a Megan Rapinoe corner, the game was effectively over.
South Korea was run all over the pitch. In fact, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was pretty much a spectator due to her teammates' dominance. In her first start since wrist surgery earlier this year, she was replaced at the start of the second half by Jill Loyden.
While Wambach received most of the accolades, her teammates did a lot of the hard work to help her break Hamm's record. Lauren Cheney was the provider for Wambach's first goal in the 10th minute and her second nine minutes later.
An impressive Alex Morgan run down the right side and pass to Wambach in the box led to an easy tap-in for Wambach's fourth goal.
Chaney rounded out the scoring with a header in the 64th minute.
While not sold out, Red Bull Arena was filled with over 18,000 fans chanting U-S-A, U-S-A and Abby Wambach's name.
The enthusiasm began to build when the opening lineups were read out over the public address system. New Jersey natives Christie Rampone, Heather O'Reilly and Carli Lloyd received the loudest cheers from the home-town crowd. Fan favorites Solo and Wambach were also greeted with thunderous applause.
Wambach received a standing ovation when she was substituted in the 58th minute. She applauded the crowd in appreciation.
In her post-match interview, Wambach paid homage to Mia Hamm as well as her teammates.
“It’s special, not only because I could tell my teammates were trying to get me those goals in the first half, but my family was here, it was a great crowd, and a great team performance. I can’t say how much I look up to Mia and how amazing the record that she set was. My teammates have put me in all different kinds of positions to score goals, and I can’t say it enough, and I really through and through believe it in my heart that I’m only as good as my teammates allow me to be. And yes, I score a lot of goals, and yes, I put myself in position to score goals, but they do, too. I can’t thank my teammates enough. It’s a special night.”