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U.S. Women

U.S. Defeats China 2-0 to Win Four Nations Tournament

  • Carli Lloyd and Amy Rodriguez Score for U.S. 
  • USA Rebounds From Opening Game Loss To Win Tournament for the Seventh Time 
  • Nicole Barnhart Wins Tournament’s Best Goalkeeper Award 
  • USA to Regroup in Florida for Training Camp from Feb. 3-9 on Road to 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup

CHONGQING, China (Jan. 25, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated host China PR 2-0 to win the 2011 Four Nations Tournament while getting a first half score from midfielder Carli Lloyd and a second half goal from forward Amy Rodriguez.

After Canada beat Sweden 1-0 in the first match of the evening, the USA needed just a victory against China to tie Canada on points with six apiece and win the tournament based on its head-to-head win over the Canadians two days ago. As it turned out, the USA also finished with the best goal differential of any of the four teams at +2. Canada finished second, China third and Sweden, which defeated the USA in the opening game, but then lost two straight, ended in fourth.

“It’s so much more fun to win,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “We took some good things from the loss to Sweden, and that’s one of the reasons we stepped up a little bit against Canada. We took certain things from the 2-1 win against Canada and I think today we ended up controlling the game.”

The USA and China PR produced just four total shots in the first half with both American chances coming off the right foot of Lloyd. The second shot was her goal, giving her two for the tournament after also scoring against Sweden and 24 in her international career.

In the 25th minute Tobin Heath was chopped down above the left side of the penalty box, earning a yellow card for Liu Huana, and Lloyd pounded her free kick chance just left of the goal. She would not miss in the 31st minute as the USA played its first corner kick of the match short from the left side, with Lloyd passing to Rodriguez, who touched it back to Lloyd. She took a hard touch into the penalty area, slipping the tackle of a defender and then drove a low shot inside the near post from 16 yards out.

China’s two good chances came in the first 15 minutes after bad giveaways by the USA inside their own half resulted in passes directly to Chinese attackers. The first turnover led to a hard shot from outside that U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart gobbled up, and the second led to an attack deep into the right side of the USA’s penalty area that the defenders had to scramble to clear. Barnhart was named Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament after performing well in all three matches.

The USA put the ball in the net in the 40th minute off another corner from the left side, but seconds after Rodriguez had seemingly stuffed the ball home from a crowd inside the six yard box, the referee waved it off for a foul.

At halftime, Megan Rapinoe replaced Lauren Cheney and Yael Averbuch replaced Shannon Boxx as the USA switched to a 4-5-1 formation with Rodriguez as lone striker. Rapinoe was at the point of a three-woman center midfield in front of Lloyd and Averbuch.

During the second half the USA absorbed quite a bit of Chinese pressure and played some better rhythmical soccer, firing nine of its 11 shots after the break. In the 53rd minute, Lloyd rocked the crossbar after a Rodriguez cross from the right was cleared back to her near the top of the penalty box and Heath’s follow-up volley was just deflected away for a corner kick.

The clinching goal came in the 67th minute off a nice combination down the left wing between Rapinoe and Heath, who launched a perfectly-angled pass over the Chinese back line. Rodriguez raced past the defenders and Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Yue seemed to misread the U.S. forward’s quickness, hesitating as she came off her line. Rodriguez punished her indecision by slipping the ball past the stranded ‘keeper into the lower left corner from just inside the penalty area. It was the 14th international goal for Rodriguez.

China showed some excellent possession throughout the match and especially in the second half as the USA was content to play low pressure and challenge the hosts to find a way through or around them. They could do neither as the midfield did a nice job of ball-winning while the back line of Stephanie Cox (who came on for Amy LePeilbet in the 42nd minute), Becky Sauerbrunn, captain Christie Rampone and Rachel Buehler held strong to earn the shutout.

The victory gave the U.S. women their seventh tournament title under Sundhage, dating back to the 2008 Four Nations which were the first games for the USA under the Swede. The USA has now won the Four Nations Tournament in China seven out of eight times it has participated.

The U.S. team will now get a week-long break before heading to Florida and a training camp from Feb. 3-9, after which Sundhage will choose a team for the 2011 Algarve Cup in Portugal. The USA is at the end of the first of six months of preparation for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will take place from June 26-July 17 in nine venues across Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen.

The 16 nations competing are: host Germany, Korea DPR, Japan and Australia from Asia and Sweden, Norway, France and England from Europe, New Zealand from Oceania, the USA, Canada and Mexico from CONCACAF, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea from Africa and Brazil and Colombia from South America. 

- U.S. Women's National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. China
Date: Jan. 25, 2011
Competition: 2011 Four Nations Tournament
Venue: Yongchuan Sports Centre Stadium; Chongqing, China
Kickoff: 6:35 p.m. local / 5:35 a.m. ET
Attendance: 12,000  
Weather: Cold, haze – 39 degrees

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                            1          1          2
CHN                           0          0          0

USA – Carli Lloyd (Amy Rodriguez)             31st minute
USA – Amy Rodriguez (Tobin Heath)           67

USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 22-Becky Sauerbrunn, 6-Amy LePeilbet (14-Stephanie Cox, 42), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 19-Rachel Buehler (27-Meghan Klingenberg, 82); 11-Tobin Heath, 7-Shannon Boxx (4-Yael Averbuch, 46), 10-Carli Lloyd, 9-Heather O’Reilly; 12-Lauren Cheney (15-Megan Rapinoe, 46), 8-Amy Rodriguez (13-Alex Morgan, 71)
Subs not used: 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 21-Kelley O’Hara, 24-Ashlyn Harris, 25-Brittany Taylor
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

CHN: 13-Zhang Yue; 2-Liu Huana (19-Li Wen, 46), 3-Zhou Goaping, 5-Yuan Fan, 4-Li Danyang, 11-Gu Yasha (14-Wang Lingling, 46), 16-Zhang Na, 17-Pang Fengyue (25-Xu Wenjia, 82), 18-Qu Shanshan (capt.) (24-Zhang Jieli, 54), 23-You Jia, 9-Ma Jun
Subs not used: 1-Huang Luna, 10-Zhou Feifei, 20-Wang Dongni, 21-Zhang Nan
Head Coach:  Li Xiaopeng

Statistical Summary: USA / CHN
Shots: 11 / 4
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 11 / 7
Offside: 6 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
CHN – Liu Huana (caution)             26th minute
USA – Heather O’Reilly (caution)     58

Referee: Wang Jia (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: Fang Yan (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Cui Yongmei (CHN)
Fourth Official: Margaret Domka (USA) Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

Final 2011 Four Nations Tournament Standings

Team   W  L  T  GF  GA  GD  PTS
 USA  2  1  0  5  3  +2  6
 CAN  2  1  0  5  4  +1  6
 CHN  1  2  0  4  5  -1  3
 SWE  1  2  0  3  4  -1  3

2011 Four Nations Tournament Awards
Best Player: Christine Sinclair (CAN)
Top Scorer: You Jia (CHN)
Best Goalkeeper: Nicole Barnhart (USA)
Fair Play Award: Sweden