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U.S. Women Rebound to Defeat Canada 2-1 at Four Nations Tournament in China

  • Lauren Cheney and Lindsay Tarpley Score and Assist in Second Half 
  • Three Players Get First-Ever Start, Meghan Klingenberg Earns First Cap 
  • USA Finishes Four Nations Against Host China on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 5:35 a.m. ET, Fans Can Follow the Match Live @ussoccer_wnt on Twitter

CHONGQING, China (Jan. 23, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Team got itself back into contention for the title at the 2011 Four Nations tournament with a 2-1 victory against Canada as Lauren Cheney and Lindsay Tarpley scored second half goals.

“You have to look at two things from the game, attitude over 90 minutes, which we emphasized after the Sweden game, and I think we brought that to this game, but also smartness,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “We kept possession with our two center midfielders. Carli Lloyd and Lori Lindsey did a good job at times and eventually we created chances and eventually we put them away as well.”

China PR defeated Sweden 2-1 in the first match of the evening, meaning all four teams in the tournament have a win and a loss, three points and a goal difference at zero. China and Canada sit in a better position by virtue of scoring four goals each, one more than the USA and Sweden.

In order to win the tournament, the USA must defeat China and hope Sweden and Canada tie their last match, or that the USA comes out on top in the tie-breakers against the winner of that match, which are: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored and 3) head-to-head result.

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage changed seven players from the starting lineup that lost to Sweden on Friday, switching out both outside backs, a center-back, both flank midfielders, a center-midfielder and one forward.

The match marked the first career starts for defender Brittany Taylor, midfielder Kelley O’Hara and forward Alex Morgan, who earned their second, fourth and 10th caps respectively. Defender Becky Sauerburnn earned just her fourth cap and made her first start since she debuted at the Four Nations Tournament in 2008. Twenty-two-year-old midfielder Meghan Klingenberg earned her first career cap when she entered the match in the 78th minute for O’Hara.

The first half was mostly uneventful with each team creating just one legitimate chance. The USA’s came in the 38th minute as Amy Rodriguez darted free into the left side of the penalty area and hit a high shot toward the near post that Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc had to push away for a corner kick on a flying dive.

Canada’s came in the 44th minute when its star forward Christine Sinclair burst into the right side of the penalty area with Christie Rampone on her hip. U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was quick off her line to stuff Sinclair’s shot, which spun away for a corner.

The USA did have several other looks at goal before the break. In the 17th minute, Alex Morgan dribbled almost all the way to the left post and slid a ball through the goal mouth, but no one was inside the six yard box to finish. In the 34th minute, O’Hara got under a long free-kick from Stephanie Cox, but her volley flew wide left.

Canada did well to earn seven corner kicks in the first half and the USA was perhaps a bit fortunate as the Maples Leafs sabotaged their own chances with numerous poor services.

Canada created the first chance of the second half off yet another corner kick as the ball flew from the left side to Emily Zurrer at the far post, but she shanked her wide-open shot high and wide.

Sundhage had sent on Lindsay Tarpley just 31 minutes into the game for Megan Rapinoe and also inserted Lauren Cheney on the forward line for Amy Rodriguez at halftime. Those two players would trade goals and assists to give the USA the win.

Before the goals, the U.S. was the aggressor, playing much better in the attacking third than in the first half while also connecting through the center midfield via Lloyd and Lindsey, and then later Yael Averbuch after she came into the game.

In the 50th minute, Morgan got in behind the Canadian defense off a Lloyd pass down the right wing. Her cross was deflected up in the air by a defender and fell just inches from the crossbar. LeBlanc got her hands on it to push it back up off the crossbar. The ball bounced down, if not over then line, then halfway, before the Canadians could clear as Cheney’s desperate attempt to bundle it home went wanting.

Just a minute later, Tarpley powered shot off the cross bar and a rebound chance was cleared out of the goalmouth.

The U.S. pressure finally paid off in the 54th minute as O’Hara made a run down the left wing, cut back away from the goal and spun a cross to Tarpley in the center of the penalty area. With her back to the goal, Tarpley deftly flicked the ball first-time into Cheney’s path near the left-side of the goal box and she gracefully lifted the ball over LeBlanc and into the net from about seven yards out. The goal was the 12th of Cheney’s international career.

Canada roared right back with Sinclair finding some space deep into the right side of the U.S. penalty box. Her cross on the ground was stabbed by Barnhart, who then jumped on the rebound.

Barnhart couldn’t save Canada’s quickly-earned equalizer in the 56th minute as Melissa Tancredi got behind the defense off a pass from Kaylyn Kyle, drove into left side of the penalty area and rolled a 16-yard shot just inside the right post.

The USA continued to pound away and in the 59th minute a two-shot flurry saw LeBlanc make a save and then a defender clear a ball out of the goal. Cheney forced another Canadian clear out of its six-yard box just a minute later after some nice work in tight space near the right post.

Cheney was the fulcrum of the USA’s counter-attack that produced the winning goal, driving the ball toward the Canadian defense before playing a rolling pass to Tarpley into the left side of the box. She hit an inch-perfect shot with her left foot that snuck just inside the right post although LeBlanc seemingly had the angle covered.

It was Tarpley’s 31st career goal, moving her past Brandi Chastain into 11th place on the USA’s all-time scoring list. It was also Tarpley’s first goal since May 25, 2009, when she scored against Canada in a 4-0 win in Toronto. Tarpley tore an ACL at the end of the 2009 WPS season was playing in just her second international game since the injury.

The USA almost had a clinching goal in the 86th minute as Morgan burst past Zurrer up the middle while chasing a skipping ball and was taken down from behind just at the edge of the penalty area by substitute Carmelina Moscato, who was fortunate to just receive a yellow card. The USA pounded the ensuing free kick into the Canadian wall.

Canada pushed hard in the last 15 minutes for the equalizer, but the USA defended well and got a fantastic game in the middle from Sauerbrunn who hadn’t started for the USA since the Four Nations Tournament in 2008.

Sinclair earned her 150th career cap on the night and almost all of the Canadian danger came from her dribbling, passing or shooting, including a golden chance in stoppage time as she crushed a full volley that was headed into the right side of the net were it not for a flying save from Barnhart that pushed it away and preserved the win. Seconds later, Barnhart followed up her world class stop by rushing out of her goal to sweep a ball away with her legs from the onrushing Sinclair.

The victory for the USA ended Canada’s team record 11-game unbeaten streak in what was the first meeting between the long-time rivals since the summer of 2009. For the second game in a row, Sundhage used all five substitutes, also sending on Rachel Buehler at halftime for Rampone.

The USA is at the start 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. Canada
Date: Jan. 23, 2011
Competition: 2011 Four Nations Tournament
Venue: Yongchuan Sports Centre Stadium; Chongqing, China
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. local / 6:05 a.m. ET
Attendance: 7,000
Weather: Cold, haze – 39 degrees

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

USA – Lauren Cheney (Lindsay Tarpley)     54th minute
CAN – Melissa Tancredi (Kaylyn Kyle)         56
USA – Lindsay Tarpley (Lauren Cheney)      70

USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 25-Brittany Taylor, 22-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (19-Rachel Buehler, 46), 14-Stephanie Cox; 21-Kelley O’Hara (27-Meghan Klingenberg, 78) 16-Lori Lindsey, 10-Carli Lloyd (4-Yael Averbuch, 66), 15-Megan Rapinoe (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 31); 8-Amy Rodriguez (12-Lauren Cheney, 46), 13-Alex Morgan
Subs not used: 9-Heather O’Reilly, 11-Tobin Heath, 24-Ashlyn Harris, 26-Sydney Leroux
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

CAN: 1-Karina LeBlanc; 7-Rhian Wilkinson, 9-Candace Chapman (4-Carmelina Moscato, 64), 13-Sophie Schmidt (19-Desiree Scott, 73), 20-Marie-Eve Nault; 6-Kaylyn Kyle, 82-Emily Zurrer, 8-Diana Matheson, 16-Jonelle Filigno (23-Jodi-Ann Robinson, 81); 14-Melissa Tancredi (10-Christina Julien, 67), 12-Christine Sinclair (capt.)
Subs not used: 3-Melanie Booth, 5-Robyn Gayle, 17-Brittany Timko, 21-Laura Chénard, 22-Stephanie Labbé
Head Coach: Carolina Morace

Statistical Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 12 / 8
Shots on Goal: 8 / 5
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 8 / 10
Fouls: 11 / 5
Offside: 7 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
CAN -- Candace Chapman (caution)    61st minute
CAN – Carmelina Moscato (caution)    85
USA – Lauren Cheney (caution)          94

Referee: He Jin (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: Fang Yan (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Wu Chun (CHN)
Fourth Official: Qin Liang (CHN) Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd