Thursday was a historical night for US Soccer, as Women's National Team forward Abby Wambach finally matched Mia Hamm's decade-long world record for international career goals—then broke it handily. Wambach entered the friendly against South Korea at Red Bull Arena two goals back from Hamm's career total of 158, but her four goal performance in the first half pushed the Rochester native to 160. A goal from Lauren Cheney in the second half would push the final score line to 5-0.
"It's special," Wambach told media after the game, "not only because I can tell my teammates were trying to get me those goals in the first half. My family was here, it was a great crowd and a great team performance. I can't say enough about how much I look up to Mia and how amazing the record she set was. My teammates have put me in all types of positions to score goals. I'm only as good as my teammates will allow me to be." Wambach seemed happy to have finally ended the focus about the record, adding "As a competitor you want to be done with the things that put me at the forefront of conversations. This team is too good to be talking about one person."
USWNT coach Tom Sermanni was all smiles speaking to Abby's performance after the game as well. "Fairy tale night. Couldn't have done it any better. She's fantastic. She's a great professional, she's in great shape, and she was really determined tonight to go out there and break that record, and she did in great style."
While the second half was underway, US Soccer distributed a statement from Mia Hamm on her record finally being broken: "I'm just so proud of her. Just watching those four goals, that's what she is all about. She fights for the ball, she's courageous and she never gives up. Her strength and perseverance is what makes her so great and it's what defenders and opposing teams fear. From being her teammate early in her career, I know all she ever wanted to do was win and she continues to do that. I'm just glad I got to share 158 with her. It was short, but it was fun."
Watch all four of Abby's goals:
And her teammates were Tootsie Roll-ing:
The US Women aren't the only national team making waves this week, as the US Men closed out their June with a perfect record, greatly helping their World Cup qualification chances. After beating Germany 4-3 in a centennial game to start the month, the US Men found victories over Jamaica away, Panama at home in Seattle, and most recently beating Honduras 1-0 in Utah on Tuesday night. New Jersey native Jozy Altidore found the back of the net in all four games, breaking out of his long scoring slump for the national team at just the right time.
The results have boosted the USMNT to the top of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying "hexagonal" table. With four games to play in September and October, the team needs only a few more points to ensure a top three finish and punch their ticket to Brazil 2014. Meanwhile, rival Mexico continue to struggle (to put it gently), failing to win in June and crashing out of the FIFA Confederations Cup. There is a very real chance "El Tri" could fail to qualify for Brazil at all, especially if Honduras and Panama can start finding results if Mexico keeps faltering.