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U.S. Under-19 WNT Fall to Japan 1-0 in Philips Lighting Invitational

CARSON, Calif. (April 8, 2004) - The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team fell to Japan, 1-0, in a hard fought match at the 2004 Philips Lighting U-19 Women's Soccer Invitational. Japan's 79th minute goal on a header from team captain Aya Miyama handed the U.S. U-19s the first-ever loss in the short history of the program to a team at their same age-level. 

With the win, Japan actually clinches the tournament title as they have beaten China and the USA, and even if the USA defeats China on Saturday and the Netherlands defeats Japan, giving the USA and Japan six points each, Japan will have won the first tie-breaker, which is the head-to-head result.

The first half belonged almost entirely to Japan, which piled up a 9-1 shot margin before the break.  Early in the match, Maiko Nakaoka cracked a shot from 45 yards out that U.S. goalkeeper Kelsey Davis pushed over the cross bar.  She then punched clear a dangerous cross off the ensuing corner kick.

Japan pulled off a nice combination of passes up the middle in the 19th minute, but a scrambling tackle from defender Becky Sauerbrunn snuffed the opportunity.

Miyama gave the USA trouble all night with her dribbling and smart possession, but in the 43rd minute it was Mami Yamguchi who slammed a shot off the crossbar from 15 yards out.  The ball bounced to Mizuho Sakaguchi, but Davis smothered her rolling shot with a collapse dive.

The USA did not record a shot until the 43rd minute and that came from forward Megan Rapinoe, but it was well wide right of the goal.

The composed and quick Japanese did a fine job of limiting the time and space of the U.S. midfielders in the first half as the Americans struggled to find an attacking rhythm, but the USA did pick up the pace after halftime, firing seven shots to Japan's three.

In the 55th minute midfielder Jen Redmond got around the Japanese defense on the right side, but couldn't quite find the cutting Bristyn Davis in the seam. 

Just before the Japanese goal, midfielder Stephanie Kron bent in a dangerous free kick from the right sideline that almost flew into the goal, only to be snagged right on the goal line by goalkeeper Maiko Otomo.

Japan then attacked down the right flank and Nahomi Kawasumi chipped in a short cross that Miyama met with a powerful header from six yards out past diving U.S. goalkeeper Laura Comeau.

The USA pushed hard for the equalizer and in the 86th minute some great dribbling on the flank by Kron enabled her to cross dangerously from the left side as the ball flew over Otomo, but there was no U.S. player at the far post to finish.

The U.S. had a flurry of three corner kicks at very end of the match, but could not punch one in.  On the last corner, a U.S. header that might have actually gone over the goal line was cleared at the last moment.  The ball bounced out to Jen Buczkowski, but her blistering volley was also cleared off the line.  Kron had one last chance in stoppage time, but knocked her free kick from 30 yards high over the goal.

U.S. head coach Mark Krikorian played without several consistent starters as he continues to evaluate his entire roster as he prepares the team for the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament for the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship that will be held in Thailand in November.  The USA will travel to Canada from May 28-June 6, 2004, in an attempt to earn one of this region's two berths to Thailand.

China's lone goal in its 1-0 victory over the Dutch came in just the 6th minute as You Jia finished smartly through traffic into the near post from the left corner of the six yard box.

The Philips Lightning U-19 Women's Soccer Invitational finishes on Saturday, April 10, as the USA takes on China at 1 p.m. and Japan plays Holland at 11 a.m.

Match-up:       USA vs. Japan
Competition:  2004 Philips Lighting U-19 Women's Soccer Invitational
Venue:           Home Depot Center - Field 5 - Carson, Calif.
Date:             April 8, 2004; Kickoff - 6:30 p.m. PT
Attendance:   250
Weather:     Cold, damp - 62 degrees

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

JPN - Aya Miyama (Nahomi Kawasumi) 79th minute.

USA:  24-Kelsey Davis (1-Laura Comeau, 46); 4-Jen Buczkowski, 11-Becky Sauerbrunn, 12-Nikki Krzysik, 6-Stephanie Lopez; 17-Jen Redmond (16-Alexa Orand, 76), 14-Carrie Schmit, 19-Chioma Igwe, Stephanie Kron, 8-Stephanie Logterman (21-Julia Schnugg, 46); 15-Megan Rapinoe (7-Bristyn Davis, 46).
Subs not used: 3-Rachel Buehler, 20-Stacy Lindstrom, 23-Yael Averbuch.
Head Coach: Mark Krikorian

JPN: 12-Maiko Otomo, 4-Nayuha Toyoda, 5-Maiko Higashiyama, 7-Aya Miyama-C, 8-Rumi Utsugi, 9-Mami Yamguchi, 10-Asuka Kubota (16-Natsuko Iseki, 82, 2-Sayaka Yamazaki, 94+), 14-Azusa Iwashimizu, 15-Maiko Nakaoka (3-Akiko Okuda, 46), 13-Mizuho Sakaguchi, 19-Minako Ito (20-Nahomi Kawasumi, 46).
Subs Not Used: 1-Haruna Tsutsumi, 6-Chiaki Minamiyama, 17-Eriko Sato.
Head Coach: Morinao Imaizumi

Statistical Summary:      
Shots:                         8/12
Shots on Goal:             3/6
Saves:                         5/3
Corner Kicks:               6/4
Fouls:                         14/9
Offside:                       1/0

Misconduct Summary:
USA - Julia Schnugg (caution) 69th minute.
USA - Bristyn Davis (caution)       70.
USA - Buczkowski (caution)       93+
JPN - Mami Yamguchi (caution) 94+

Referee: Ramon Hernandez (USA)
Asst. Referee: Rachel Berg (USA)
Asst. Referee: Sandra Serafini (USA)
4th Official: Kim Oberle (USA)

Match-up:       China vs. Netherlands
Competition:  2004 Philips Lighting U-19 Women's Soccer Invitational
Venue:           Home Depot Center - Field 4 - Carson, Calif.
Date:             April 8, 2004; Kickoff - 4:00 p.m. PT
Attendance:   50 
Weather:       Overcast, breezy - 65 degrees

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

CHN - You Jia (Liu Sa) 6th minute.

CHN: 1-Weng Xiaojie, 2-Goa Yan, 4-Sun Yongxia, 5-Sun Ling (15-Wang Yihang, 90), 6-Hou Lija, 8-You Jia (14-Lou Xiaoxu, 68), 9-Xu Yuan, 11-Liu Sa (10-Wang Dandan, 76, 3-Guo Lin, 79), 12-Guo Yue, 19-Fan Tingting, 18-Weng Zhinzhi.
Subs not used: 16-Zheng Wen, 20-Zhang Yanru, 22-Shi Xuewen.
Head Coach: Wang Haimang

NED: 1-Loes Guerts, 2-Merel Snoeck, 3-Laura Van Leeuwen, 18-Jeanine van Dalen (12-Shary Bakker, 84), 5-Petra Hogewoning (15-Kristen van den Berg, 46); 14-Marjan Brouwer, 6-Renee de Vries (8-Janneke Bijl, 71), 13-Christa Stuart (19-Lisanne Vermeullen, 46); Marije Brummel, 10-Kirsten van de Ven, 11-Sylvia Smit (7-Manon Melis, 60).
Subs Not Used: 9-Anouk Dekker, 16-Nadja Olthuis.
Head Coach: Cornè Groenendijk

Statistical Summary:      
Shots:                       8/7
Shots on Goal:           3/4
Saves:                       4/2
Corner Kicks:             4/7
Fouls:                       2/12
Offside:                     4/2

Misconduct Summary:
NED - Laura Van Leeuwen (caution) 40th minute.

Referee: Amy Willing (USA)
Asst. Referee: Kim Oberle (USA)
Asst. Referee: Dallas Malhewsky (USA)
4th Official: Sandra Serafini (USA)

2004 Philips Lighting U-19 Women's Soccer Invitational Standings
Team   W   L   T   PTS  GF  GA  GD
JPN      2   0   0     6      3     1    +2
USA     1   1   0     3      2     1    +1
CHN     1   1   0     3      2     2      0
HOL     0   2   0     0      0     3     -3

2004 Philips Lighting U-19 Women's Soccer Invitational Standings Results
April 6
Japan 2, China 1
USA 2, Netherlands 0

April 8
China 1, Holland 0
Japan 1, USA 0

April 10
Japan vs. Holland 11:00 Field 4
USA vs. China 1:00 Field 5

Quote Sheet:
U.S. head coach Mark Krikorian

On the USA's start to the match:
"We didn't have very good possession at all in the first half.  We changed our system a bit in the second half, putting another player up front to maybe help hold the ball a bit more.  The possession became a bit more even, and we did get chances at the end, but that's not good enough, you have to be consistent through 90 minutes." 

On what he said at halftime:
"I said to them at halftime, for the first 45 minutes it was their game, so now you need to turn this around and make the second 45 our game.  I thought our competitive spirit was better in the second half and we battled better for air balls and were able to control the tempo a little bit better than in the first half."

On the objectives of the tournament:
"For me the objectives of this tournament are well defined.  It is about helping us select the proper players for Canada to qualify for the World Cup.  These games are an opportunity to help me evaluate the players.  We are in pretty good shape in understanding the first 11, not 100% there, but almost, so a lot of it is about the players who will round out the team and help us from the depth perspective."

U.S. co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn on the match:
"We definitely had trouble finding our midfielders and forwards, so it was definitely hard getting our attack going.  In the first 20 minutes, they were winning head balls that we should have been winning.  It's definitely a confidence booster when you can win head balls for your team.  We were lacking a lot of physical play, especially in the midfield and defense.  I think if we would have picked that up earlier, our speed of play would have been better, and we would have created a few more chances."

Sauerbrunn on Japan's goal scorer Aya Miyama:
"She's a very good player, very crafty, she definitely knows how break pressure and find the seems between the players.  I think we did well against her, but I'll admit it, she scored a great header."