VILA REAL de SAN ANTONIO, Portugal (March 12, 2007) – The U.S. Women’s National Team needed a win in its final Group B game to make the championship of the 2007 Algarve Cup and two goals from forward Abby Wambach and another from midfielder Carli Lloyd proved just enough to lift the U.S. to a 3-2 victory vs. Sweden.
The USA now advances to its fifth consecutive Algarve Cup title game, one of the premier women’s international tournaments in the world, which this year serves as a preview to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China.
The USA will face Denmark for the title on Wednesday, March 14, at Vila Real de San Antonio. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. local time / 12:30 p.m. ET and fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Denmark won Group A despite a 3-0 loss to Germany in its final group match earlier on Monday.
A draw would have gotten Sweden into the final so the USA came out attacking in its usual a 4-3-3 formation with Wambach, Kristine Lilly and Lindsay Tarpley up top. The trio, backed by attacking midfielders Lloyd and Lori Chalupny immediately put pressure on the Swedes, out-shooting the world’s fourth-ranked team, 11-1, in the first half and 15-4 for the match.
Swedish goalkeeper Carolina Jonsson grabbed or cleared anything that came close to her goal early on, but the USA kept the pressure up and broke through with two goals in the final six minutes of the half.
The first came in the 39th minute as Lloyd worked hard to poke a ball to Lilly out on the left flank. The U.S. captain ran the ball down and touched it back to Stephanie Lopez, who then put Lilly through down the left side. Lilly just got to the ball before it crossed the end line, sliding to place a perfect pass across the top of the six-yard box. Tarpley got a flick on it with her head, sending it to the far post where Wambach finished smartly with the inside of her right knee from five yards out.
The second goal came just a minute before halftime after the USA took a quick free kick on the left side. The ball got to Lopez making an overlapping run and this time she crossed from the end line, cutting the ball right into the path of the hard-charging Lloyd, who crushed her first-time left-footed shot into the left corner from eight yards out, giving Jonsson no chance.
It was the third goal of the tournament for Lloyd, who has tallied in all three Algarve Cup games thus far, after scoring just once in her first 24 caps for the full Women’s National Team.
Down 2-0, Sweden head coach Thomas Dennerby started making substitutions five minutes into the second half, sending on top scorer Victoria Svensson and young star Josefine Oqvist while throwing numbers forward. The Swedes picked up their pressure and earned a corner kick in the 71st minute that led to a strange goal. Therese Sjogran sent in a well struck cross and Oqvist got a head on it just outside the six yard box, bouncing it hard off the ground and then up into the right corner. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo leaped to get a hand on the ball, but couldn’t turn it over the bar.
The possibility of Sweden getting one more goal in the last 19 minutes to earn a berth in the final was quickly erased by the Americans, who scored just one minute later to make it 3-1. The goal originated off a short corner kick as Lopez played Lilly and she smacked a cross into the middle. Leslie Osborne was flattened by a Swedish defender who came over her back, freezing the players in the box for an instant as they thought a penalty kick might have been called. Instead, the referee let the play continue and the ball fell to Shannon Boxx in the right side of the penalty area. She quickly lofted a cross back to Wambach, who was stationed inside the six yard box, and the U.S. forward headed home while three Swedish defenders and Jonsson watched helplessly. The two goals upped Wambach’s total to 68 in just 87 international appearances.
The U.S. team was always in control of the match even as Sweden pushed for another goal. They got it off another quirky play as Svensson, Osborne and Heather Mitts all tumbled to the ground on a Swedish service into the U.S. penalty area. The referee whistled the dubious penalty kick, gave Mitts a yellow card, and Svensson hammered it into the left corner with seven minutes left to play. Solo was also cautioned before the penalty kick when she did not retreat to her line quickly enough for the referee’s liking.
While those seven minutes, plus four of stoppage time, were tension filled, the Americans coolly whittled away the time until the final whistle. The back line of Mitts, Rampone, Cat Whitehill and Lopez, fronted by defensive midfielder Osborne, and then later Boxx after she replaced Chalupny in the 63rd minute, kept the Sweden attack in check for most of the match. The Swedes’ only two shots on frame produced goals, including the penalty kick.
Lopez, the USA’s left back, was involved in all three goals and got her third career assist on Lloyd’s score.
Before tonight, the most recent match between the USA and Sweden took place last July in Blaine, Minn., and also finished with a 3-2 scoreline in the USA’s favor.
In the other Group A match, France defeated Norway, 1-0, and will play Sweden for third place, the third year in a row those two countries will meet in the consolation game. Finland, which defeated China, 2-0, in the other Group B match, will play Norway for fifth place. Italy, which won Group C, will play Germany for seventh place. Iceland will play China for ninth place while Ireland and Portugal meet again, this time with eleventh place on the line.
Visit the Algarve Cup competitions page for a complete schedule and standings, plus features, podcasts, and exclusive all_access video coverage of the WNT in Portugal.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Sweden
Competition: 2007 Algarve Cup
Venue: Municipal Stadium; Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal
Date: March 12, 2007; Kickoff – 8:00 p.m. local / 4:00 p.m. ET
Weather: Cool, crisp – 62 degrees
1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
SWE 0 2 2
USA – Abby Wambach (Lindsay Tarpley) 39
USA – Carli Lloyd (Stephanie Lopez) 44.
SWE – Josefine Oqvist (Therese Sjogran) 71.
USA – Abby Wambach (Shanon Boxx) 72.
SWE – Victoria Svensson (penalty kick) 83.
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Cat Whitehill, 3-Christie Rampone, 14-Stephanie Lopez; 12-Leslie Osborne, 17-Lori Chalupny (7-Shannon Boxx, 63), 11-Carli Lloyd; 5-Lindsay Tarpley (9-Heather O’Reilly, 77, 6-Natasha Kai, 86)), 20-Abby Wambach, 13-Kristine Lilly – Capt.
Subs not used: 1-Briana Scurry, 8-Tina Ellertson, 10-Aly Wagner, 16-Angela Hucles, 19-Marci Jobson, 22-India Trotter.
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
SWE: 1-Caroline Jonsson; 3-Stina Segerstrom, 4-Hanna Marklund – Capt., 7-Marlene Sjoberg (19-Anna Paulson, 60), 6-Sara Thunebro; 15-Therese Sjogran (9-Therese Lundin, 78), 16-Salinna Olsson (8-Frida Ostberg, 51), 17-Frida Nordin (14-Josefine Oqvist, 51), 18-Nilla Fischer; 10-Maria Aronsson (11-Victoria Svensson, 51), 13-Lotta Schelin (2-Sara Johansson, 73).
Subs not used: 5-Caroline Seger, 12-Sofia Lundgren, 20-Charlotte Rohlin.
Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby
USA / SWE
Shots: 15 / 4
Shots on Goal: 7 / 2
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 10 / 9
Fouls: 7 / 9
Offside: 5 / 0
USA – Heather Mitts (caution) 83rd minute.
USA – Hope Solo (caution) 83.
Referee: Etsuko Fukano (JPN)
Asst. Referee: Hongjuan Liu (CHN)
Asst. Referee: Hongjue Fu (CHN)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Abby Wambach
Group B Standings - Full Standings
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
USA 3 0 0 9 6 3 +3
SWE 2 1 0 6 6 3 +3
FIN 1 2 0 3 2 4 -2
CHN 0 3 0 0 1 5 -4
Group B Results - Full Schedule / Results
USA 2, China 1
Sweden 3, Finland 0
USA 1, Finland 0
Sweden 1, China 0
USA 3, Sweden 2
Finland 2, China 0
March 14 Placement Match Venue Kickoff (local)
Ireland vs. Portugal 11th Place Ferreiras 10 a.m.
Iceland vs. China 9th Place Montechoro 10 a.m.
Italy vs. Germany 7th Place Olhao 10:30 a.m.
Norway vs. Finland 5th Place Portimao 10:30 a.m.
Sweden vs. France 3rd Place VR de SA 1 p.m.
USA vs. Denmark Championship VR de SA 4:30 p.m.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM QUOTE SHEET
U.S. HEAD COACH GREG RYAN
On the match:
“It was a fantastic effort. We talked about it before, we had to go after Sweden, but we wanted to anyway. We wanted to throw numbers forward and Stephanie Lopez was involved in all three goals tonight. Getting the backs forward, throwing numbers forward and seeing if they could handle it. I think it showed tonight if we are committed to attack like that we are going to be hard to beat.”
On the positives of the match for the young players:
“This is a great Sweden team. They have great players, the ones that started, and the ones coming off the bench. So number one, (the game gave the team) tremendous confidence and experience. The number of young players that impacted this game today was incredible. Lopez, Chalupny, Carli Lloyd, Tarpley and Leslie Osborne, it was a fantastic game from Leslie. So for these guys to step into a big match, that is a ‘You either go on or you don’t’ kind of match, will give them the confidence and composure to step on (the field), and know that they’ve been there before. So it’s fantastic for the whole team, but especially for the young players.”
On Abby Wambach getting her first two goals of the year after some frustration in the first two matches:
“I think she’s feeling better now. She did a fantastic job. She got great service, Tarp put it right on her foot on the first one and Boxxy put in a great ball on the second one. Abby is not going to miss those. She knows what to do with it and she did.’
On Carli Lloyd’s third goal in as many games:
“We’ve all been waiting for it because she’s got so much ability. I think she’s feeling very confident and feeling like she can go forward and create and get in the box, go at players, take her shots and I think we are seeing a very different Carli Lloyd. She’s very mature and very confident at the moment.”
On the championship game against Denmark:
“They are a very attack-oriented team. They send five players on your restraining line and so it’s just going to be a game of attacking. We’re not going sit back and defend them all day. We’re going to get numbers forward and go after them. It could be a very wide open game.”
U.S. FORWARD ABBY WAMBACH
On scoring twice:
“The other day at practice I said I was going to score today. So I think really I was trying not to look like a fool with my teammates.”
On the match:
“Sweden is a great team. We had the commitment to go forward today. Lopez was getting in on the left side, she was a part of three goals and she’s our left fullback. It just goes to show you that once we put the effort and commitment into scoring goals, we score a lot of them.”
On the team’s commitment to win:
“Going back to the 80s, I’m sure April Heinrichs could tell you that this team shows up when there is pressure on the line. When there’s a final on line, whether you are going to get in or not, this team shows up. We come to play. We don’t come to tie games to get into a final. So having to win this game was almost better for us.”
U.S. MIDFIELDER CARLI LLOYD
On her goal:
“Steph (Lopez) took the ball down the end line, I saw where she was going to play and I made a run to that exact spot around the six. She cut it back and played an awesome ball. I kept my head down and made sure that it went in.”
U.S. MIDFIELDER LESLIE OSBORNE
On her battle with Nilla Fischer, who fouled her numerous times:
“We went at it the entire game. I don’t know what she said to me, but it was not good.”
On the team’s attitude coming into the match:
“We new we had to win, we knew we had to score goals and we attacked tonight.”
DEFENDER STEPHANIE LOPEZ
On her role in the match:
“I’ve played in the past two games, and even though I knew this was a little bit bigger of a game, I approached it the same way. I was just really looking to improve and get forward more effectively. I’ve been trying to get forward, and the coaches are pushing our outside backs to get forward, but I felt more in sync with the offense this game.”
On if she’s ever been involved directly in three goals in a game:
“I can’t remember. I not that much of an offensive player, but I am trying to work on that side of my game so it was kind of surprising. Everyone else put the balls away, I just did my job.”
On her assist:
“Sweden was caught, they were a little slow on their recovery on a foul that they committed and Heather Mitts played a ball out. Carli just switched it over to me, I played into Abby’s feet and got around her on the overlap. I got end line and played it back to Carli and she just drilled it near post.”
On the end of the match:
“It was crazy. It was man-to-man all over the place. They were pushing up four or five players on our line. It was pretty crazy with the PK call, but I think we battled and I think that’s what this team is about, battling to the final whistle. We had some smart play back there and did our job.”