U.S. women top Scotland in coach Sermanni's debut
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Tom Sermanni coached the U.S. women's soccer team to a 4-1 win over Scotland on Saturday, making the most of two first-half goals by Christen Press.
It was quite the debut for Sermanni, who was born in Scotland and spent the last eight years as Australia's coach, He was hired by the U.S. Soccer Federation in October.
Press figured in each of the United States' first three goals in the exhibition game at the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, scoring twice and assisting on the third.
She got the Americans on the board in the 13th minute, taking advantage of a poor clearing attempt by Scotland. The ball was batted back in the direction of Press, who deftly lifted a kick over the defenders and goalkeeper Gemma Fay.
Press' second score came at the 32-minute mark. She took a pass from Tobin Heath and sent a header from 22 feet out into the left corner of the net.
The U.S. made it 3-0 early in the second half when Shannon Boxx got a pass from Press and lifted a kick over the outstretched arms of Fay.
Scotland avoided a shutout in the 54th minute. Kim Little drilled a hard shot past U.S. goalie Nicole Barnhart, who replaced Jill Loyden at intermission.
Sydney Leroux closed out the scoring for the United States, sending a loose ball into an uncontested net in the 89th minute in front of a crowd of 18,656.
The Americans stretched their unbeaten streak to 24 games (21-0-3) dating to the 2012 season.
It was only the second game between the United States and Scotland. The American women won 8-2 in the first meeting in 2002, powered by Abby Wambach's first career hat trick and the last three-goal performance by Mia Hamm. The countries will play again Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn., at the home of the Tennessee Titans.