U.S. blanks Japan in Cup tuneup

Updated: May 14, 2011, 11:13 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Abby Wambach showed she's back from a heel injury that slowed her at the beginning of the year, scoring a goal and assisting on another by Amy Rodriguez to lead the United States to a 2-0 win against No. 4 Japan in an exhibition Saturday.

Wambach's 118th career goal came in the 29th minute off a header from 8 yards after a 40-yard free kick by Ali Krieger. Eight minutes later, Wambach took a pass on the right flank from Heather O'Reilly and found Rodriguez at the near post for a left-footed redirect.

"Abby's back," said goalkeeper Hope Solo, who made three saves for her 51st shutout in a U.S. uniform. "She's going to be huge in Germany."

The teams play again Wednesday in Cary, N.C., as the teams prepare for next month's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.

Wambach hadn't scored since November.

"It gets the monkey off my back," Wambach said. "It was the size of this stadium."

Japan played its first match since devastating earthquakes and a tsunami hit the northeastern part of the country March 11. A moment of silence was held before the game.

"We are no different before the earthquake and after the earthquake," Japan forward Yuki Nagasato said. "We are all focused mentally and have the same intention to play well."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press