July 17, 2011
FRANKFURT, Germany - After 69 minutes of scoreless play in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, it was a Golden Bear who first found the back of the net. Four-year letterwinner Alex Morgan scored in the 69th minute, giving the U.S. a crucial 1-0 lead against Japan in front of 48, 817 fans at the FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday evening.
Japan went on to equalize the game in the 80th with Abby Wambach putting the Americans back up, 2-1, with a goal in the 104th. Homare Sawa - who was playing in her fifth World Cup - scored in the 117th to force penalty kicks. The Japanese outscored the Americans, 3-1, to win the first title in their nation's history.
Morgan entered the game at the start of the second half and played the remainder of regulation and both periods of extra time.
"It's a great experience for her going forward," U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage said of Morgan. "She's done good things coming off the bench. I'd like to stress that the starting lineup gives the bench players the opportunity to be successful. It's not just Alex Morgan, it's 21 players. The way she came off the bench in the second half, and in previous games, she's done well. I think we've seen the beginning of her career. She has a lot of goals in her and a lot of games."
Her score was the first goal scored by the U.S. in a World Cup Final since 1991, when Michelle Akers netted two against China. The goal was Morgan's second of the 2011 World Cup after she scored in the 3-1 win over France in the semifinals.
Morgan was the leading scorer for the California women's soccer team in each of her four years in Berkeley. This past fall, the Diamond Bar, Calif., native only played in 12 matches due to being called up the U.S. National Team, but still led the Bears in goals (14) and points (30) all the while leading the nation in scoring for a majority of the season.
A four-time All-Pac-10 selection, Morgan earned first-team conference laurels in 2010 and 2009 and was a player of the year candidate in both seasons. A two-time member of the watch list for the Hermann Trophy - the most prestigious award in women's soccer - Morgan became the first California player to ever be named one of the top-three finalists in 2010.
While not training with the national team, Morgan plays for the Western New York Flash, which selected her first in the WPS draft. Morgan made her senior national team debut against Mexico on March 31, 2010.
The Golden Bears begin their 2011 campaign at Edwards Stadium with an Aug. 19 match against Pepperdine in Berkeley. For the complete schedule, please click here.