It was the same old story for veteran United States National Soccer Team forward Abby Wambach. For Erika Tymrak however, it was a start to a whole new adventure. Both are former Gator soccer players as well.
The US downs Brazil 4-1 Sunday and Wambach and Tymrak had a lot to do with the outcome.
For Wambach, her performance for the game was all too similar, playing the #9 target striker role for the team and getting her 163rd international goal as well as getting an assist on a second goal. While Wambach added to her already impressive legacy on the international stage, Tymrak’s story had just begun. In only her second appearance for the United States, Tymrak scored her first goal in a USA shirt after coming on as a substitute only a minute earlier.
In addition to both former Gators getting on the score sheet, forward Sydney Leroux also added two goals for the United States in front of a record crowd of 20,274 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando and the Lady Yanks did not disappoint their fans.
Leroux dazzled the crowd with her second goal when she was played a clean through ball on goal by Wambach and then dribbled around the keeper after leaving the last defender in a cloud of dust to make it 3-1. Leroux now takes her tally to 24 goals in her first two years with the United States team and says her recent run of form is thanks to her teammates, most notably her strike partner Abby Wambach, in helping transition her game to the international stage.
“Abby, especially since we play the same position, has really taken me under her wing and shown me the way,” she said.
Wambach and Leroux played Batman and Robin up top for most of the night until they were replaced by Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan 68 minutes in. It wasn’t until the 76th minute however, that the US put the nail in the coffin for Brazil. Erika Tymrak had nine goals and 12 assists for Florida last year and came on in the 75th minute in what was only her second appearance on the senior international level. Tymrak did not waste any time and collected a ball from other substitute Horan at the top of the box with a clear look on goal.
With only a slight window of time to get the shot off, Tymrak fired a low, hard shot to the bottom left corner of the goal to make it 4-1 in the 76th minute. It is safe to say by the look on her face that Tymrak was stunned to get her first tally in a US shirt so early in her international career, and in her old stomping grounds at that.
“It was amazing. I think you could tell by my celebration that I was so overwhelmed, but in a good way. Absolutely incredible atmosphere tonight, so many fans. We got the win, and it was an incredible feeling to get my first goal in my home state,” said the former All-American.
Wambach was also very happy for her fellow Gator earning her stripes at the highest level.
“I was jumping up on the sideline like a little kid, me and Lauren Cheney (her teammate at Kansas City). Obviously Erika Tymrak, being a Florida Gator, I’m really proud to see her get her first goal; and to do it here, so close to Gainesville, is awesome.”
The United States finished with an undefeated record of 13-0-3 to end their calendar year. The team now prepares for World Cup Qualifying starting next year, in anticipation for the tournament hosted by Canada this cycle in 2015.
Audio clips from this story can be found below.