It was quite the day for Thorns FC players in international matches, headlined by U.S. Women’s National Team defender Rachel Buehler’s performance at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.
Making her milestone 100th international appearance for the United States, Buehler was honored with the captain’s armband for the Group A match against Iceland at Municipal Stadium in Albufeira, Portugal. That was only the beginning as the Thorns FC defender helped jumpstart the USA after a scoreless first half with a goal in the 48th minute.
Midfielder Lauren Cheney whipped a corner kick into the box and Buehler made a run through the middle and nodded home the go-ahead goal, the fourth goal of her national team career. The United States took control after that, winning 3-0 on goals from Shannon Boxx (62nd minute) and Abby Wambach’s 154th career international goal in the 74th minute, which was assisted by Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan.
“Today was an incredible game for me,” Buehler told ussoccer.com after the match. “It’s sort of coming full circle here in the Algarve for me as I got my first cap here and my 100th cap here. Wearing this jersey is always such an honor and I value every moment of that, but to wear the captain’s armband makes it even more special and then to get a goal on top of it! Usually, we hit the corner kicks back post, but it came right to my head and I was ready and it was probably the best goal I’ve had. Well, maybe the Korea goal (in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup), but it was an awesome goal so I’m pretty excited about it.”
The USA faces China PR on Friday at 6 a.m. (PT) and is set to play Sweden on Monday at 8 a.m. (PT) to conclude group play.
Also at the Algarve Cup in Group C, Thorns FC defender Marlene Sandoval started and played 90 minutes in helping Mexico get off on the right foot with a 1-0 shutout win against Hungary at Estadio Da Nora in Ferreiras, Portugal. Renae Cuellar (FC Kansas City, Thorns FC’s season-opening opponent) scored for Mexico in the 47th minute.
Mexico squares off against Wales at 10 a.m. (PT) on Friday.
Canada began the sixth edition of the Cyprus Cup on Wednesday morning with a 2-0 win against Switzerland as former University of Portland midfielder Sophie Schmidt (2nd minute) and Diane Matheson (79th minute) scored the goals.
Neither Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc nor forward Christine Sinclair (serving the last match of a four-game suspension) saw playing time for Canada, but with a match on Friday at 7:30 a.m. (PT) against Finland, both Thorns FC players could see some minutes.