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U.S. women shut out Russia in soccer exhibition

Tom Sermanni predicted Friday that if the United States could score early the floodgates would open. And open they did.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd opened the scoring in the 29th minute, and 10 minutes later, the Americans held a 3-0 lead they took to the break. The United States added three more in a span of seven minutes early in the second half en route to a 7-0 rout of Russia on Saturday afternoon at FAU Stadium.

“[The first goal] kind of knocked the steam out of Russia,” Sermanni, the U.S. manager, said. “The way we approached the game [in the first 25 minutes], a gap was eventually going to open up and as soon as it did that, it was going to be a long way back for Russia.”

The Americans found most of their success on the right side, torturing whoever the Russians played at left back. It all began with Marina Pushkareva, who couldn’t handle the speed of the United States. She was replaced in the 33rd minute by Elena Medved, but she was only marginally better, getting outworked on several occasions.

Sermanni said he thought the Americans were able to find room on the wings because of how well they were able to switch the point of attack during the game. He specifically credited his forwards for staying involved and moving well despite not be pressured from Russia’s backline.

The first-half scoring bonanza began when Lloyd collected a pass from O’Reilly and beat two defenders, including Pushkareva, and fired a shot over Elvira Todua. O’Reilly found the back of the net four minutes later when a cross from midfielder Kristie Mewis bounced off a defender and onto O’Reilly’s left foot. Lloyd returned to the score sheet to close the first half, rocketing a shot into the upper-left portion of the goal.

The United States came out looking for more after the intermission and it only took six minutes for Lloyd to outrun Medved and lob a beautiful cross to attacker Christen Press, who met it with her head and directed it into the net. Not even two minutes later, forward Sydney Leroux slotted a ball past Todua on the short side to make it 5-0. The Americans got another in the 58th minute when defender Ali Krieger’s shot was bobbled by Todua and Press was there to clean up the mess.

“When we get a goal, we get hyped up,” Press said. “We have such an aggressive and attacking group that once there’s a little bit of a gap, we just run right through it, trying to get to the goal.”

Abby Wambach, who came on in the 59th minute as a substitute, scored her 164th international goal in the 67th minute, finishing a tic-tac-toe sequence in which Krieger crossed it to forward Amy Rodriguez, who hit the ball with her heel to Wambach for the tap in.

The match had a few tense moments in the minutes after Wambach’s tally. Valentina Orlova was sent off for tripping Amy Rodriguez on a breakaway in the 68th minute and just two minutes later Ekaterina Pantyukhina was shown a yellow card for a hard challenge outside the box.

Lloyd returned to the U.S. lineup for the first time since Nov. 10 after serving a red card suspension against Canada last week. She played all 90 minutes for the Americans, accounting for two goals and an assist and said she is happy to be back on the field wearing the red, white and blue.

The two countries will meet Wednesday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

“It was good to be back,” Lloyd said. “I was ready to get out there, I had been mentally preparing and physically I felt ready so it was a lot of fun to play out there.”

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