DETROIT – Abby Wambach hopes to keep playing until the 2015 World Cup – a goal that suddenly looks a lot less daunting for the 32-year-old striker.
That’s because Wambach – the second-leading scorer in U.S. women’s national team history – now has plenty of help up front.
With 28 goals in 2012, Alex Morgan has emerged as Wambach’s ideal complement. Both are finalists for FIFA world player of the year and have put themselves in the record book alongside some of the most famous names in American soccer.
“Alex has kind of prolonged my career, I think, because I’ve had so much fun reconnecting with another forward,” Wambach said. “It took a lot of time to find her, but we finally did.”
Nine years apart in age – and each with her own distinctive style on the field – Wambach and Morgan are putting the finishing touches on a year to remember. The highlight, of course, was winning Olympic gold in London, but now the two are chasing a different kind of history. Wambach has 23 goals in 2012, leaving her and Morgan with a combined 51 – four short of the record for an American duo.
Michelle Akers and Carin Jennings scored 55 goals in 1991.
“It just came very natural for us, playing together, as I continued to get more playing time this year,” Morgan said. “I think that we just got each other on the field.”
They seem to have little in common at first glance. The 23-year-old Morgan is from California. Wambach is from Rochester, N.Y.
“Abby is getting in the air, winning the air game, playing physical and posting up,” U.S. fullback Kelley O’Hara said. “And Alex is that flashy, get-behind-the-defense and get those shots off those breakaways. They both are, hands down, the best players in the world at what they do.”