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WNT vs. Argentina: Highlights - December 18, 2014

Christen Press (four goals) and Carli Lloyd (three goals) accounted for all of the goal scoring as the U.S. WNT defeated Argentina 7-0 in its final group match of the International Tournament of Brasilia. The victory, combined with Brazil’s win against China later in the evening, gave the USA a berth to the tournament’s title game.

WNT Defeats Argentina 7-0 in Group Finale of International Tournament of Brasilia

BRASILIA, Brazil (Dec. 18, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s National Team needed to win big to put itself in position to potentially advance to the final of the 2014 International Tournament of Brasilia, and its offense came through. Led by four goals from Christen Press and a Carli Lloyd hat trick, the USA defeated Argentina 7-0 in its third group match at Mane Garrincha Stadium. 

Press scored three goals in the first half and the seventh of the game while Lloyd notched her second-career hat trick (the other came against Mexico on Jan. 24, 2012) and also moved into seventh place on the WNT’s all-time goal scoring list with 61. 

With Brazil defeating China PR 4-1 in Thursday's later match, that sets up a final between the USA and host Brazil on Sunday, Dec. 21 (4 p.m. ET). Brazil went 3-0-0 in group play (9 points, plus-8 goal differential). The U.S. is second (1-1-1, 4 points, plus-6). China (1-1-1, 4 points, plus-3) will play Argentina (0-3-0, 0 points, minus-17) in the third-place game at 1 p.m. ET.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made her full WNT debut and made one save to earn the clean sheet, becoming the seventh U.S. WNT goalkeeper to post a shutout in her first cap. 

Thursday’s USA-Argentina game originally was scheduled for Wednesday and was postponed because of inclement weather and poor field conditions. 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Christen Press (Morgan Brian), 7th minute: The U.S. struck quickly when Brian dribbled down the right side and forced Argentina goalkeeper Elisabeth Minnin to make the save, pushing the ball to her right. Press was on the spot to slam home the rebound. USA 1, ARG 0

USA – Christen Press (Abby Wambach), 23rd minute: In a combination on the right side of the box, Wambach played the ball to Press who took a couple dribbles and shot from 10 yards out. Elisabeth Minnin got a piece of the ball but was unable to parry it away. USA 2, ARG 0 

USA – Carli Lloyd (Morgan Brian), 30th minute: From the left side, Brian chipped in a perfect cross to Lloyd who headed it home for the three-goal cushion. The goal gave Lloyd a score in every match of the tournament. USA 3, ARG 0 

USA – Christen Press (Ali Krieger), 41st minute: Right back Ali Krieger crossed the ball in to Press who flicked her shot into the net at the near post for a first-half hat trick. It was Press’ first hat trick of her WNT career. USA 4, ARG 0 

USA – Carli Lloyd (Lori Chalupny), 44th minute: The outside backs continued to make an offensive impact as Chalupny dribbled up the left side of the box, beat her defender and crossed the ball in to Lloyd, who finished from close range for her second tally of the opening half. USA 5, ARG 0 

USA – Carli Lloyd (Heather O’Reilly), 47th minute: To open the second half, Megan Rapinoe crossed the ball in from the left side. Halftime substitute O’Reilly kept the attack alive with a high touch near the goal line and Lloyd hit a full volley into the lower left corner for her third goal of the match. USA 6, ARG 0 

USA – Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe), 78th minute: Megan Rapinoe dribbled into the penalty area and smashed a shot that the Argentina goalkeeper could not handle cleanly. That opened the door for Press, who tapped her shot in for her fourth goal of the match and her 11th of the year. USA 7, ARG 0 (FINAL) 

Milestone Watch:

  • With at least one goal in seven consecutive games, Carli Lloyd is now two games away from matching the U.S. WNT record of nine set by Michelle Akers from April 5 to May 25, 1991. Lloyd has 10 goals during that seven-game stretch.
  • Lloyd moves ahead of Shannon MacMillan for seventh place on the WNT’s all-time goal scoring list. Lloyd has 61 goals in 184 matches. MacMillan scored 60 goals in 176 games.
  • Alyssa Naeher became the seventh U.S. WNT goalkeeper to earn a shutout in her first appearance. The others are Gretchen Gegg (1986), Amy Allmann (1987), Mary Harvey (1989), Briana Scurry (1994), Hope Solo (2000) and Emily Oleksiuk (2001).
  • Abby Wambach now has 69-career assists (third all-time). 

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. WNT will look ahead to the tournament's championship game against Brazil at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 21, to cap off the 2014 International Tournament of Brasilia. The championship game is preceded by the third-place game between China PR and Argentina at 1 p.m. ET.
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram 

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 16-3-4 in 2014.
  • The U.S. is 16-1-4 under head coach Jill Ellis.
  • With three goals, Carli Lloyd takes over the team lead in scoring this year from Abby Wambach with 15 goals. That ties her career high in a calendar year when she also scored 15 in 2012.
  • U.S. head coach Jill Ellis made five starting lineup changes following the team’s 3-2 loss to Brazil.
  • Alyssa Naeher, the 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year for the Boston Breakers, made her USA debut. She became the 22nd goalkeeper to suit up for the U.S. WNT.
  • The back line featured Lori Chalupny at left back, earning her second consecutive start, right back Ali Krieger and center backs Whitney Engen and Becky Sauerbrunn. Sauerbrunn has started in four straight games.
  • The midfield in the USA’s 4-3-3 formation featured Carli Lloyd at attacking midfielder with Lauren Holiday and Morgan Brian behind her.
  • The front three feature Tobin Heath, Abby Wambach and Christen Press from left to right. Wambach wore the captain’s armband.
  • Heather O’Reilly replaced Chalupny and Megan Rapinoe entered for Heath to open the second half.
  • The USA switched to a 3-5-2 for the latter part of the game.
  • In the closing minutes, Sydney Leroux subbed for Wambach in the 81st minute and Kelley O’Hara replaced Lauren Holiday in the 84th minute.
  • Press is the only WNT player to appear in all 23 games this year.
  • Leroux picked up a red card in second-half stoppage time and will be unavailable for the USA’s placement match on Sunday.

Unexpected Soccer Tennis

A heavy storm in Brasilia, Brazil, the night before the U.S. WNT’s scheduled match with Argentina on Dec. 17 forced the postponement of the game just hours before kickoff. Undeterred, the U.S. team got in a few highly competitive games of soccer tennis just to get the legs moving.

WNT vs. Brazil: Highlights - Dec. 14, 2014

The U.S. WNT was edged out 3-2 by Brazil in its second match at the International Tournament of Brasilia. After early goals by Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, Marta responded with a hat trick to give the hosts the win.

One of the team's best goal scorers and craftiest players, Rapinoe saw the early part of her career stalled by knee injuries. But in recent years, Rapinoe has developed into a true scoring threat for the USA. She gained national and international acclaim with her left-footed cross to Abby Wambach to set up the tying goal in the dying seconds of overtime against Brazil in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinal. Rapinoe also scored her first Olympic goal during a 3-0 win against Colombia on July 28, 2012, to clinch a quarterfinals berth at the 2012 London Olympics.

One of the USA’s most skillful attackers and goal scorers, she (and her hair) gained instant fame for sending in the cross that Abby Wambach headed home in the dying seconds of extra time against Brazil in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal … Her two-goal performance in the epic semifinal match of the 2012 Olympics further cemented her star status … 2012: Had her best year yet for the U.S. WNT, playing 1,649 minutes in 29 games while starting 20, the highest yearly totals of her career … Scored eight goals with 12 assists, also career highs … Her 12 assists were third highest on the team … Started all six games of the 2012 Olympics, her first Olympic tournament, while scoring three goals with four assists … Her four assists at the Olympics were tied for tops on the team … One of her assists came on Carli Lloyd’s game-winning goal in the 2-1 Olympic gold medal game victory against Japan … Scored the game-winning goal against Colombia in group play and also scored two spectacular goals against Canada in the Olympic semifinal, twice drawing the USA even in a match it would win 4-3 in the final minute of extra time of overtime … Her first goal against Canada came directly off a corner kick and the second was a brilliant strike from outside the penalty area … Played in four games at CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, starting one and had one goal and one assist … Was on the short list for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and finished 10th in the final voting … 2011: Played in 18 games, starting 13, and scored three goals with five assists over her 1,085 minutes … Was a starter for most of the year, but lost her spot just before the Women’s World Cup, where she played her role extremely well coming off the bench, getting one goal with three assists … Played in all six games in the World Cup, starting the group match against Sweden and the World Cup Final … Her three assists came in the final three games of the World Cup, crossing the ball that was famously headed home by Abby in the quarterfinal against Brazil, setting up Alex Morgan’s game-clinching goal in the semifinal victory against France and Morgan’s score in the World Cup Final against Japan … Also scored against England and Japan during the year … 2010: Recovered from illness to work her way back into the U.S. lineup, starting eight of the 10 games she played … Scored four goals with two assists, one of which came in the second leg of the Women’s World Cup playoff series against Italy that set up Amy Rodriguez’s game-winning goal … Started both games in the playoff series … Scored against Sweden and China, and twice against Guatemala at the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament, in which she played three games … 2009: Made a big impact in her return to the WNT for the first time in two years, playing in seven games and starting six while scoring two goals with one assist … Scored against Norway in the Algarve Cup in a 1-0 victory and also added a goal against Canada in Toronto … 2007-08: Did not play for the USA as she recovered from two ACL injuries … 2006: Trained with team at 2006 Residency Training Camp in Carson, Calif. … Came into training with the USA early in 2006 and played in four matches, scoring her first two career goals against Chinese Taipei on Oct. 1, but returned to her college team and suffered an ACL injury just four days later … Youth National Teams: Was one of the standout players on the U.S. team that finished third at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand … She had an excellent tournament, scoring three goals, tied for the team lead, including one in the third-place match victory against Brazil … Ended her U-19 international career with 21 caps and nine goals … First camp with the U-19 WNT was in January of 2003 in Chula Vista, Calif. … Played in three matches at the 2004 CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying tournament, scoring three goals … Scored her first goal with the U-19s against Mexico on March 1, 2003 … Scored against Canada in 6-1 victory on May 27, 2003 … Traveled with U-19s on European tour to Netherlands and Germany in July of 2003 … Played in USYSA International Tournament in Houston in May of 2003 … Played with the U-16 GNT in 2002 and traveled with the U-16s to France and Houston … First Appearance: July 23, 2006, vs. Ireland ... First Goal: Oct. 1, 2006, vs. Chinese Taipei (two goals).

2013: Allocated to the Seattle Reign for the inaugural NWSL season … Signed with two-time European Champions League winners Lyon for the second half of the French league season … 2011: Signed with the Philadelphia Independence for the 2011 WPS season after the Chicago Red Stars ceased operations but was traded to magicJack in exchange for cash considerations on June 22 during the Women’s World Cup … Ended up playing 10 WPS matches, starting six, with two goals and two assists over 641 minutes … Played all 90 minutes of magicJack’s two playoff matches, scoring in the quarterfinal victory against Boston … 2010: Struggled with illness and fitness, but played in 20 games, starting 19 and scoring one goal on the last touch of the last game of the season … 2009: Taken second overall in the first round of the 2009 WPS College Draft by the Chicago Red Stars … Started 17 of the 18 games she played for the Red Stars, scoring two goals with three assists … Was named as a WPS First-Team All-Star … Youth: She played with the Mavericks from U-12 to U-14, then played with Elk Grove United until she went to college … Won State and Regional Champions with Elk Grove United in 2003 … National runner-up in 2003.

Full name is Megan Anna Rapinoe … Nickname is “Pinoe” … Enjoys playing guitar, the beach and shopping … Majored in sociology … Has a twin sister, Rachael, who also played soccer at Portland … Is the youngest of six children … Prefers living in a city … Lists “The Shawshank Redemption” as one of her favorite movies … Competed in track as a freshman and sophomore, and basketball as freshman, sophomore and senior in high school … Was on the honor roll every semester of high school … Enjoys traveling, going to zoos and good coffee … Her favorite cities are Sydney; London; San Francisco; Phuket, Thailand; Chicago and Boston … She cannot travel without gum, a hair straightener, her computer, neck pillow, iPod, and toothbrush … Her favorite musical artists are currently Florence and the Machine, Adele, Missy Higgins, Kings of Leon and Dar Williams, Tegan + Sara, M83, Black Keys, Cat Power

Played just three full seasons at Portland as her junior year was cut short after two matches due to an ACL injury … Had one more season of college eligibility remaining, but opted to enter the WPS draft … As a senior in 2008, she started all 22 games for the Pilots and was named a Soccer America First-Team All-American and an NSCAA Second Team All-American … Voted the WCC Player of the Year and was All-WCC First Team … She led the team and the WCC in assists (13) … Also became the eighth player in school history to get 30 goals and 25 assists in a career … Her 88 career points (30 goals, 28 assists) are 10th-best in school history despite playing just 60 total games due to injuries … As a junior in 2007, she appeared in just two matches off the bench early in the year before suffering season-ending knee injury for the second consecutive season … Was granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA, but never used it … As a sophomore in 2006, she was among the nation’s leading scorers with 10 goals and two assists in 11 matches before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Washington State on Oct. 5 … She joined Tiffeny Milbrett and Shannon MacMillan as the only Pilots to score 25 goals and 15 assists in just two years … In 2005 as a freshman, she helped the Pilots to an undefeated season and the NCAA championship. … She was an NSCAA First-Team All-American and was on the Soccer America First Team Freshman All-American list ... She made the College Cup All-Tournament Team and was the WCC Freshman of the Year ... An All-WCC First Team and All-WCC Freshman Team selection ... She played and started all 25 games as an attacking midfielder, scoring 15 goals and adding 13 assists for 43 points … Also recorded seven game-winning goals … Did not play college soccer in what would have been her freshman season in order to play in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand … High School: Did not play high school soccer, opting for club instead … Parade and NSCAA All-American as a junior and senior … A McDonald’s All-American in 2004.
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