CARSON, Calif. (Aug. 8, 2013) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team fell to Japan 3-2 on a sun-splashed afternoon at the U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center, giving up two first half goals only to tie the match in quick succession right after the break. The young Americans then conceded a third with 18 minutes left in the game.
Both teams are in preparations for qualifying for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup to be held in Canada. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1994, are age-eligible for that tournament. The two teams will meet again on Sunday, Aug. 11, at the U.S. Soccer NTC to compete the two-leg series.
A talented Japanese team out-shot the USA 15-8, but the USA got a solid eight-save game from Katelyn Rowland in goal.
The USA had the first chance to score in the just the 4th minute when midfielder Dani Weatherholt made good contact with a full volley off a corner kick from the left, but it went right to Japan goalkeeper Nene Inoue.
Rowland made big saves in the 12th off a shot from Yui Hasegawa and then a minute later stoned Mina Tanaka on a breakaway when she tried to lob the 5-foot-11 U.S. ‘keeper.
Tanaka would get her revenge in the 28th minute, dispossessing a U.S. midfielder and then going on a counter-attacking 40-yard run straight up the middle before cracking a 35-yard drive that dipped over Rowland and into the upper right corner.
Japan made it 2-0 a minute before halftime when the USA was unable to clear a cross, and after a scramble in the penalty area, Yuka Momiki was able to bend a shot into the left side of the U.S. goal from 12 yards out.
The Americans came out with a renewed vigor in the second half and pulled a goal back just seconds after the restart. It came off a corner kick from the left side as midfielder Rose Lavelle sent a cross into the goal box that was at first headed by defender Laura Liedle. On a quick ricochet, the ball glanced off the head of defender Andi Sullivan and into the upper right corner.
About six minutes later, the USA tied the game, once again off a Lavelle corner kick from the left. This time the ball skipped off the hands of Inoue and fell to substitute defender Mandy Freeman at the far post. She made the most of her chance, sending a volley into the net from close range.
“I liked the first 20 of minutes of each half, we were just as good if not better than Japan,” said U.S. head coach Michelle French. “I also like the way we responded after being down two goals and getting two in succession to start the second half. That showed the mentality of this team which is obviously extremely important.”
With both teams searching for a game-winner, it was the Japanese that got it as substitute Yu Nakasato, who came on the 57th minute, was able to finish from close range past Rowland in the 72nd.
“Offensively, we have to be better technically and our speed of play and thought needs to improve,” said French. “We need to be better at tracking their movement because there is so much interchanging between their midfield and forward lines and it caused a lot of problems for us. Looking at the game film will definitely help us for Sunday.”
-U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Match Report-
U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Date: Aug. 8, 2013
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center; Carson, Calif.
Weather: 71 degrees, sunny, breezy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
JPN 2 1 3
JPN – Mina Tanaka 28th minute
JPN – Yuka Momiki 44
USA – Andi Sullivan (Laure Liedle) 46
USA – Mandy Freeman 52
JPN – Yu Nakasato 72
USA: 1-Katelyn Rowland; 8-Laura Liedle (10-Karlie Mueller, 82), 15-Cari Roccaro (Capt.), 6-Katie Naughton (4-Mandy Freeman, 46), 21-Andi Sullivan; 14-Gabbi Miranda (11-Kayla Mills, 46), 17-Danie Weatherholt, 12-Rose Lavelle; 7-Summer Green (23-Crystal Thomas, 72), 2-Makenzy Doniak (13-Amber Munerlyn, 46), 20-Margaret Purce
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Janine Beckie, 5-Morgan Andrews, 9-Lauren Kaskie, 16-Toni Payne, 18-Cassie Miller, 19-Ryan Walker, 22-Ifeoma Onumonu, 24-Kaela Little.
Head coach: Michelle French
1-Nene Inoue, 2-Saki Ueno, 3-Shiori Miyake (5-Mayo Doko, 64), 4-Ruka Norimatsu, 6-Risa Shimizu (20-Miku Kojima, 75); 8-Hikaru Naomoto (Capt.), 11-Yuka Momiki, 18-Rin Sumida (14-Yu Nakasato, 57), 23-Yui Hasegawa; 10-Ayaka Michigami (17-Akari Shiraki, 56), 9-Mina Tanaka
Substitutions Not Used: 7-Akari Kurishima, 12-Mei Hayashizaki, 13-Ayaka Inoue, 15-Yui Narumiya, 16-Nao Kawahara, 19-Miyuka Hatanaka, 21-Ayaka Yamashita, 22-Marin Hamamoto
Head Coach: Hiroshi Yoshida
Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 8 / 15
Shots on Goal: 6 / 11
Saves: 8 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 1
Offside: 0 / 0
Referee: Reyna Fonseca
Asst. Referee 1: Robert Sarfaraz
Asst. Referee 2: Melissa Gonzalez
4th Official: Salma Perez