Substitute Alex Morgan clinched a 1-0 win for USA deep into injury time to give the visitors a 1-0 win over Italy in the first leg of a qualification play-off for the final available seat for the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011™.
The two time women's world champions were forced into the play-off after a surprise loss to Mexico in the qualifying tournament for the North, Central American and Caribbean Zone. They will now host the Italians in the return leg to be played in Chicago on 27 November.
21-year-old Morgan, who has only eight appearances for the senior women's team, is no stranger to scoring when the stakes are highest. Morgan scored her first international goal in similar fashion last month to earn USA a 1-1 draw with China and back in 2008, at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile, Morgan scored a match winner to clinch gold for the USA.
"We’ve seen her come in and change games before, and the only thing I told her was: Just go to goal,” United States Coach Pia Sundhage told Associated Press after the match.
Morgan was sent into the match in the 85th minute and her goal places the USA on the verge of qualification for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 which will kick off on 26 June, 2011 in Germany.