Abby Wambach assured of one career milestone when U.S. women play Scotland

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 8:50pm

Abby Wambach will become the eighth player – all women – in U.S. Soccer history to appear in 200 international matches Wednesday.

The 2011 Women’s World Cup hero will serve as captain for the Americans when they meet Scotland in a friendly at LP Field (7 p.m.).

Wambach is one of 29 players available to first-year coach Tom Sermanni, who will choose 18 to play in the second match in four days between the sides.

The U.S. defeated Scotland 4-1 Saturday at Jacksonville behind a budding offensive star.

Midfielder Christian Press, who plays professionally in Sweden, became the third player in U.S. history to score twice in her national team debut. Her two first-half goals put the Americans up 2-0.

The last to score two in her international debut was Sherrill Kester in 2000. Cindy Parlow first accomplished the feat in 1996.

“I was hoping that my first cap would be my first start and my first goal all in the same day,” Press said following the match. “I was sort of going for the trifecta and my teammates made it easy so I am thankful to them.”

Press was one of three Americans who made their international debuts Saturday.

On the other hand, Wambach, a five-time U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, has been a fixture on the U.S. team since her initial appearance in 2001. She was the only player who started all 32 international matches in 2012 and finished the year with 27 goals and eight assists.

In 2011, she led the Americans to a runner-up finish at the Women’s World Cup with eight goals with four assists, including an unprecedented run of goals in each of the final four matches. She won the Silver Ball as the second best player and the bronze boot as the third leading scorer overall in the tournament.

With 152 goals Wambach trails only Mia Hamm (158) as the all-time leading scorer in international women’s soccer history.

She had several opportunities to add to that total in Saturday’s victory but came up empty before she was replaced in the 55th minute.

The only meeting between the U.S. and Scotland prior to Saturday was Sept. 8, 2002 at Columbus. Hamm and Wambach each scored three goals in the Americans’ 8-2 victory that day. For Wambach, those were the second, third and fourth goals of her international career.

“I’m still trying to get to know the players and getting to know how they play and all things they can do,” Sermanni, a native of Scotland said. “So, [Saturday’s] match was a really valuable experience to get started.

“What impressed me was the number of chances that the players got and how they can create chances all at times. At times, some of the combinations impressed me. So, just the way they focus and go about doing the job and winning games is very impressive.”

• Briefly: U.S. Soccer reported Tuesday that 12,000 tickets had been sold, which created optimism that Wednesday’s contest will set a women’s soccer attendance record in the state. The current mark is 13,081, at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga when the U.S. defeated Sweden 3-1 on Nov. 1, 1997. Saturday’s match at Jacksonville drew a crowd of 18,656.