Abby Wambach’s career ends with first USWNT loss at home in 11 years

This wasn’t quite the storybook ending for Abby Wambach’s career and I’m sure the USWNT will want to redo this game again. They lost to China in New Orleans 1-0 and lose their first game at home since 2004, a run of 104 games.

Since it was Abby Wambach’s final game, the USWNT was focused on getting her a goal so she could end her career on a high note. In the end, that may have led to their downfall and made things worse to end Wambach’s career even though Abby seemed to take it in stride after the game.

The first half was no doubt a bit of a disjointed mess. The focus was on Wambach to get a goal and China made sure that the USWNT wouldn’t get a good shot off. Wambach stayed on for the second half and the closest Wambach got to scoring was a Heather O’Reilly ground pass but Wambach was offside.

By not scoring, it opened up a chance for China to take the lead and they did just that. Wang Shuang scored as her shot deflected off of Meghan Klingenberg and past Hope Solo to give them the lead.

Even though she hadn’t scored and the team was down, Wambach knew she had enough and in the 71st minute, was subbed out for Christen Press. She left with a standing ovation and chants from the fans as well as hugs from all the USWNT players on the field, on the bench and from the coaching staff.

With Press in, there would be a bit more focus on everyone and there was some more urgency but it wasn’t enough. China would hold on to win 1-0 and cause the USWNT to lose their final game in their five month Victory Tour.

Wambach was interviewed by FOX Sports after the game and Wambach, although understandably emotional, seemed content with how things ended.

In a way, I can agree with Wambach that it wasn’t as bad that the USWNT lost. I’m sure if given the choice, they would want to win. But by losing in Wambach’s final game, it can signal a new era. The USWNT will need to move on without Abby Wambach and symbolically, can start a long winning streak of their own as they enter this new era. Will they match 11 years and 104 games? I highly doubt it. But at least the team can start fresh in all aspects of the team. Next is the beginning of Olympic qualifying and the start of the journey to defend their World Cup. They will start 2016 with a 0 game winning streak and will be without a legend. Seeing some of the displays by the players on the team, they may hit a rough patch or two but they look like they are going to be just fine.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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