The United States played Ireland in preparation for the Women’s World Cup (which begins next month) and the match’s first goal contained several valuable lessons. Late in the first half, Ireland’s Ruesha Littlejohn attempted to clear a U.S. corner kick, but ended up blasting the defender at the post in the face. This prevented an own goal, but the force of the impact compelled goalkeeper Niamh Reid-Burke to check on her injured teammate.
Though this was nice of her to do, the timing wasn’t ideal, since the match was still going on and Abby Wambach was casually putting the ball into the side of the net that didn’t have an injured Irish defender in it. As the saying goes, you always play to the whistle.
This demonstrated, in a few different ways, why one of these teams will be playing at this summer’s World Cup and one will not.
The U.S. went on to win 3–0, but Wambach experienced some face pain of her own early in the second half when Reid-Burke hit her while trying to punch the ball away, leaving her with a bloody and broken nose.
The day wasn’t all about escalating facial injuries, though. Since it was Mother’s Day, broadcaster Fox flew the team’s mothers to San Jose, California to surprise their daughters (including coach Jill Ellis) and escort them onto the pitch before the match.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 10, 2015
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) May 10, 2015