WASHINGTON (AP) — Winning the World Cup is tough enough. If Tuesday night's thumping of Mexico is any indication, making the U.S. roster might be even tougher.
Over the next two years, the next generation of American women's soccer talent will compete with the old guard for precious roster spots and even more precious playing time for the 2015 championship in Canada. The established and the upstarts blended nicely in a 7-0 win at RFK Stadium, a signal to the world that the U.S. pool is as deep as ever.
"I think what a result like tonight does is it sends a message right across the whole squad that there are no places safe on this team," coach Tom Sermanni said. "And that's important for competition, and it's important for the continued development of the team."
Abby Wambach extended her world record with her 161st international goal, while Morgan Brian got her first. Sydney Leroux scored four times in the first half alone, while defender Rachel Buehler tallied just her fifth goal in 104 U.S. games. Erika Tymrak and Leigh Ann Robinson earned their first U.S. caps.
Oh, the dilemmas Sermanni will face as he thinks ahead. It's a good problem to have.
"I think our second 11 would definitely get into the semifinals of any world championship," Wambach said. "Tom has a difficult job over the next two years deciding who the team's going to be, who's going to be the starters. ... That's why he gets paid the big bucks."
The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world, ran their overall unbeaten streak to 35 games and their home unbeaten streak to 73. They are 27-1-1 all-time against 24th-ranked Mexico.
The U.S. team had been off for 2½ months while the National Women's Soccer League wrapped up its inaugural season. Several regulars missed the game because they're either playing in Europe or nursing injuries. Forward Alex Morgan, who strained a ligament in her left knee during the NWSL season, was on the bench but did not play.