The U.S. Women's Team rolled into Crew Stadium in the midst of a seven game winning streak, dominating defeat of New Zealand just days earlier in San Francisco. Rolling out a changed up lineup and formation they scraped to a late first half goal, but then gave up a late second half goal to end up tying New Zealand 1-1.
Head coach Tom Sermanni went for a different look shuffled up the formation and brought out a 4-3-3 that the Americans often close out games with. Abby Wambach lead the line with Sydney Leroux playing off her and Heather O'Relley dropping off on the right. The home side obviously struggled with the new look. They held the ball well, but they struggled and created few chances early on.
The first chance was the biggest as the U.S. earned a penalty New Zealand's Ria Percival brought down the Hannah O'Reilly cross with her arm. Wambach stepped up and drove the PK to the right of Erin Nayler, but she palmed the ball away to keep the score at 0-0.
With the U.S. still controlling play, Wambach would nearly get the elusive first with a popped header that caromed off the N.Z. crossbar in the 27th. Ten minutes later Kristie Mewis would get off a beautiful chip that drifted just outside the upper corner.
The Americans would finally break through moments later as Mewis slipped a pass to Leroux 25 yards from goal. Leroux would slip the New Zealand defense and got off a dribbling shot that went by the outstretched hand of Nayler to give the U.S. the deserved lead.
The U.S. nearly doubled their lead in stoppage time as Wambach took down a long pass, but was called for a foul. Leroux finished the centering pass, but play was whistled dead well before.
The lack of cutting edge would give the muted, but decidedly pro U.S. crowd little to cheer about. They provided little sparks of electricity as the Americans controlled the match throughout the second half.
New Zealand wasn't able to match the attacking depth and prowess of the U.S. and were content to play on the counterattack. The speedy Hannah Wilkinson had tested the American back line several times throughout the evening and they struggled with her pace.
Wilkinson had forced a save out of Hope Solo early in the second half, but otherwise the Americans set up shop in the New Zealand half of the field. The U.S. would pepper the visitors with 14 shots, but only 5 would be on goal.
As the second half wore down, the U.S. appeared to have escaped with the narrow win, but a visibly worn out Wilkinson took a ball at midfield and cut down the sideline. She shed her marker and cooly finished the individual effort to tie up the game.
The home side threw everything at the New Zealand goal, but failed to get the winner.
The tie is a disappointment for one of the world's top teams, but it's also indicative for a team that is still settling on how they want to play as World Cup Qualification looms next year. Another friendly, this one against Brazil, awaits in November. It's another chance for Sermanni to find the right pieces.