BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (August 27, 2006) – The United States Women’s National Team defeated China, 4-1, at the brand new home of the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, Ill., on Sunday, Aug. 27. The U.S. came back from a one-goal deficit, with unanswered goals from Cat Whitehill, Aly Wagner and two by Kristine Lilly.
"We worked them very hard and put them under a lot of pressure," said head coach Greg Ryan. "We've been playing very well defensively, and they played right up the middle of our defense and scored an easy one. We were disappointed. I think it did fire up the players though and they fought back well."
The win increases the team’s 2006 record to 10-0-3, including a 2-0-1 record vs. China. Lilly’s brace was her second of the year vs. China, as she also scored both U.S. goals in a 2-0 victory in the final of the Four Nations Tournament on Jan. 22. The two goals also tie Lilly with Abby Wambach for the team lead with eight goals this year, and up her career total to 112 in 310 appearances.
It is only the second time the U.S. has scored four goals against China, with the last victory a 4-1 decision at the 1998 Algarve Cup. It was the third time the U.S. has defeated the Steel Roses by three goals and the first on U.S. soil.
Both the U.S. and China had early chances, but it was China who scored first in the 24th minute when midfielder Ren Liping caught the U.S. defense pushed up and slipped the ball past the defense to Han Duan, who found herself one-on-one with Briana Scurry. Scurry came off her line to try to cut off the angle, but Han Duan shot it around the oncoming goalkeeper and into the lower left corner of the net. For Scurry, who took a year off in 2005, it was her first appearance and start for the U.S. since the final match of the Fan Celebration Tour on Dec. 8, 2004.
The U.S. came back to tie the game in the 29th minute, albeit with a slight bit of luck. After receiving the ball on the edge of the area, Wagner laid it off to Whitehill, who turned it and took on two defenders before sending in a shot that took a slight deflection off a Chinese defender. China goalkeeper Han Wenxia jumped to grab the shout, but couldn’t control the spin of the ball as it slipped through her hands and into the top of the goal.
U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet, a Chicago-area native who was cheered on by the local crowd, almost put the U.S. ahead in the 41st minute when a Wagner corner kick crossed the goalmouth and landed at Leslie Osborne’s feet. Osborne tapped the ball back to LePeilbet, who came rushing on, but fired her shot right at Han Wenxia.
Shortly after the break, Wagner converted a penalty kick to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. Wagner began the play at midfield with a pass to Carli Loyd on the left flank. Lloyd dribbled down the flank and sent a cross back in to Wagner, who was taken down in the penalty area by Ren. She did well to convert the spot kick, sending the ball into the middle as Han Wenxia dove to her left.
Wambach took several hits during the match, the most notable coming in the 86th minute when China captain Pu Wei was sent off for elbowing and kicking Wambach on the ground after a play about 30 yards from goal on the right side of the field. On the ensuing free kick, Lilly sent a powerful and perfectly placed ball into the upper left hand corner as both Natasha Kai and Wambach were challenging the goalkeeper at the far post.
Lilly scored the final goal of the match just two minutes later when second half substitute Linsday Tarpley sent her a pass on the left side. The savvy veteran then beat her defender, and finished off the move with a sublime chip over the charging goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net.
In the 90th minute, midfielder Joanna Lohman came into the game making her first appearance since March 17, 2001 at the Algarve Cup when she was part of a young U.S. team sent to the annual tournament.
The U.S. will next face Mexico at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 13 at PAETEC Park in Rochester, N.Y. The U.S. will also face Chinese Taipei at 1 p.m. PT on Oct. 1 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., before taking on Iceland on Oct. 8 in their final domestic match before the CONCACAF Gold Cup in November, where the U.S. will attempt to earn a berth to the 2007 FIFA World Cup in China. Kickoff against Iceland is set for 2 p.m. ET at the University of Richmond Stadium in Richmond, Va. All three matches will be televised live on ESPN2, and fans can also follow the action on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. China
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.
Date: August 27, 2006; Kickoff – 12 p.m. CT
Weather: 74 degrees, cloudy
1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
CHN 1 0 1
CHN – Han Duan (Ren Liping) 24th minute.
USA – Cat Whitehill (unassisted) 30.
USA – Aly Wagner (penalty kick) 59.
USA – Kristine Lilly (unassisted) 85.
USA – Kristine Lilly (Lindsay Tarpley) 88.
USA: 1-Briana Scurry; 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill, 14-Amy LePeilbet (17-Lori Chalupny, 46), 2-Heather Mitts; 12-Leslie Osborne, 10-Aly Wagner (16-Angela Hucles, 88), 11-Carli Lloyd (6-Natasha Kai, 74); 13-Kristine Lilly (23-Joanna Lohman, 90), 9-Heather O’Reilly (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 46), 20-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: 8-Tina Frimpong, 18-Hope Solo
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
CHN: 1-Han Wenxia; 2-Liu Huana (14-Wang Kun, 84), 3-Li Jie, 5-Pu Wei (capt.); 7-Bi Yan, 12-Zhang Tong, 13-Wang Dandan (8-Zhang Ying, 68, 23-Zhang Na, 76), 15-Ren Liping (19-Guo Yue, 81), 17-Pan Lina; 10-Han Duan (21-Zhou Xiaoxia, 89)
Subs not used: 16-Liu Yali, 22-Xiao Zhen, 24-Sun Yongxia, 25-Zhao Xiaoyan, 26-Qu Feifei
Head Coach: Ma Liangxing
USA / CHN
Shots: 15 / 5
Shots on Goal: 11 / 3
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 13 / 13
Offside: 2 / 0
CHN – Liu Huana (caution) 39th minute.
CHN – Wang Dandan (caution) 46.
CHN – Dan Wenxia (caution) 58.
USA – Abby Wambach (caution) 61.
CHN – Pu Wei (sent off) 86.
Referee: Sandra Serafini
AR1: Sharon Wheeler
AR2: Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Margaret Domka
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Cat Whitehill