Abby Wambach Blames Artificial Turf For USA’s World Cup Scoring Woes


June 15, 2015

Abby Wambach believes she’d be celebrating goals scored, not lamenting missed chances, if the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada was being played on natural grass field instead of artificial turf.

In an interview with ESPN on Saturday, Wambach blamed artificial turf for the scoring chances she missed in the United States’ first two World Cup games.

Wambach missed two headers in Team USA’s 3-1 win over Australia last Monday, and Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl denied the American striker with a save in Friday’s goal-less draw.

“I think I score if we’re on grass,” Wambach told ESPN. “The ball as it comes off my head against Sweden hits a dry turf and bounces higher. If it hits grass, it’s harder for a goalkeeper to react, so if the ball bounces higher the goalkeeper has more time to react off the turf.”

“I’m throwing my body, I’m not worried about anything,” Wambach said about playing on natural grass. “There’s no second-guessing.

“In the previous game, I don’t lay out and commit to those headers and that’s why they glance off my head rather than me contacting them. For me, I definitely think that the U.S. has more goals if we’re playing on grass.”

Wambach was one of many leading players who filed, and then dropped, a legal complaint last year against FIFA and Canada’s soccer association, which decided to stage the 2015 Women’s World Cup on turf fields.

While Wambach is a vocal opponent of playing World Cup games on artificial turf, Germany midfielder Melanie Behringer doesn’t share her American counterpart’s reservations.

?Of course it?s a difference whether you play on artificial turf or real grass,? Behringer said, according to USA TODAY. ?But we have demonstrated that you can score, so I don?t want to make this all about the turf. The ball acts differently, flies differently. But of course you can score.?

Germany has scored 11 goals in its first two games. The United States has scored just three.

Wambach backs “keep it real” campaign ahead of World Cup >>

Women stars lose turf war vs. FIFA, Canada soccer >>

Thumbnail photo via Michael Chow/USA TODAY Sports Images

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