US SoccerUS Soccer

U-21 WNT Down Finland 3-0 in Opening Match of Nordic Cup

Americans Face Norway Next in Quest For Sixth Straight Nordic Cup Title

DALVIK, Iceland (July 23, 2004) - The U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team scored three goals in the first 30 minutes to put the game away and then cruised to a 3-0 win over Finland to open the 2004 Nordic Cup, the top competition in the world for U-21 women.

The win gave the USA a great start to the tournament in which the group winner advances to the title game and the Americans will face arch rival Norway on Sunday in their second match of Group B.

The USA opened the scoring just seven minutes in after central defender Jill Oakes served in a long ball behind the Finnish defense for speedy forward Natasha Kai.   The University of Hawaii star took a touch on the ball, but was then upended by Finland goalkeeper Minna Pyykko who slid into her legs, taking her down in the penalty area.  U.S. captain Joanna Lohman stepped up to bury the penalty kick for the early lead.

"It was a solid performance, especially in that we started the game well," said U.S. head coach Chris Petrucelli.  "We had talked about starting fast and then we scored seven or eight minutes into the game.  We accomplished a couple of things in this match.  We got the three points, certainly helped our goal difference with the three goals, got a number of players rest and got some solid minutes for the reserves."

The USA played in a 4-3-3 formation with Sarah Huffman and Lori Chalupny as the attacking midfielders with Lohman tucked in behind them, and the trio dominated the midfield throughout the match.

"One of the main points was getting a quick start and pressuring them to get an early goal," said Lohman.  "We wanted to pressure their backs to see if they could handle it."

The second goal came in the 18th minute as forward Kelly Wilson slipped a pass between two defenders to the streaking Kai who hit the ball first time from 16 yards out.  It grazed a sliding defender before caroming into the right corner of the net.

"It's good to get Tasha on track and scoring goals," said Petrucelli of his leading scorer who notched her 10th goal of 2004.

The third goal came in the 30th minute as midfielder Sarah Huffman played a ball through to Kai, who touched it to Lloyd.  The Rutgers University senior dribbled across the top of the penalty area to her right and struck her shot back into the lower left corner from 18 yards out.

The U.S. totally dominated the match, played in windy conditions and on a narrow field.  After letting in three goals, Finland packed their defense, brought all 11 players inside their half, and with the USA going against the wind in the second half, the Americans could not manufacture another goal.

Still, the USA almost got two more goals in the last 10 minutes of the match.  Defender Jenny Farenbaugh hit a solid volley off a service from substitute Manya Makoski that forced a diving save from Pyykko and Julianne Sitch saw her one-on-one chance stuffed by the Finnish goalkeeper as well.

Chalupny got in on a one-on-one with about 20 minutes left, but sailed her chance over the crossbar.  In the first half, Oakes had a chance off a goalmouth scramble from a corner kick, but hit her shot over the top.

Finland did get behind the U.S. defense twice in the second half, but both shots were rushed by closing defender and easily handled by U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, who had to dive to her right to corral the second chance.

"We did a good job of creating chances and defensively, we basically keep them in front of us and minimized their chances," said Barnhart, who picked up the shutout.  "It was kind of tough with the wind swirling around, but this was a good opening game for us to get our legs under us."

Petrucelli used all five of his subs in the second half, sending on Makoski at halftime, followed by Nikki Thaden, Julianne Sitch, Kacey White and Hayley Hunt.  With every match of the Nordic Cup crucial in determining advancement to the championship game, the USA's clash with Norway on Sunday looms large.

"It's a typical Norwegian team" said Petrucelli, who watched Germany defeat Norway, 3-1, in the other Group B match.  "They are really good on the counter, good in the air and they battle hard  They will be a difficult team to play against."

In Group A, Sweden downed Denmark, 2-0, while England and Iceland tied, 1-1.

Match-up:       USA vs. Finland
Competition:  2004 Under-21 Nordic Cup
Venue:           Dalvik Field - Dalvik, Iceland
Date:             July 23, 2004; Kickoff - 2:00 p.m. local / 10:00 a.m. ET
Attendance:   250
Weather:       Crisp, clear, windy - 56 degrees

Scoring Summary:
            1    2     F
USA     3    0     3
FIN       0    0     0

USA - Joanna Lohman (Penalty Kick) 7th
USA -- Natasha Kai (Kelly Wilson)       18.
USA - Carli Lloyd (Natasha Kai)       30.

USA: 1-Nicole Barnhart, 5-Jenny Farnenbaugh, 14-Jill Oakes, 12-Keeley Dowling, 2-Lindsey Huie (9-Kacey White, 67); 3-Joanna Lohman (4-Nikki Thaden, 62), 8-Sarah Huffman, 16-Lori Chalupny; 17-Kelly Wilson (6-Hayley Hunt, 80), 7-Natasha Kai (15-Julianne Sitch, 59), 10-Carli Lloyd (13-Manya Makoski, 46).
Subs not used: 12-Esmeralda Negron, 18-Kati Jo Spisak.
Head coach: Chris Petrucelli.

FIN: 1-Minna Pyyko (12-Satu Peltonen, 33), 2-Laura Kivisto (4-Tinna Elonen, 46), 3-Miia Niemi, 7-Sanna Malaska, 14-Heidi Ahonen; 5-Taru Hakala, 6-Tiina Salmen, 8-Susanna Lehtinen (13-Tanja Petaja, 68, 16-Irina Vaelma, 86), 11-Linda Lindqvist; 9-Jessica Thorn, 10-Sanna Talonen (17-Nora Jafs, 74).
Subs not used: N/A
Head coach: Ulfar Hinriksson

Statistical Summary:       
                          USA          FIN
Shots:                  18             6
Saves:                   2             7
Corner Kicks:         3             1
Fouls:                   3              9
Offside:                 5              3

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Moiken Jung (Germany)
Referee Asst.: Gudmundur Jonsson (Iceland)
Referee Asst.: Asgrimur Einarsson (Iceland)

Group A
Teams        W   L   T   Pts   GF  GA   GD
Sweden       1    0   0    3      2     0     +2
Iceland        0    0   1    1      1     1       0
England      0    0    1    1     1      1       0
Denmark     0    1    0    0     0      2     -2

Group B
Teams       W   L    T   Pts  GF  GA   GD
USA           1    0    0    3     3     0     +3
Germany     1    0   0    3     3     1     +2
Norway       0    1    0    0    1     3      -2
Finland       0    1    0    0    0      3     -3

Nordic Cup Results
Friday, July 23
Sweden 2, Denmark 0
Iceland 1, England 1
USA 3, Finland 0
Germany 3, Norway 1

Sunday, July 25
England v Sweden
Iceland v Denmark
Finland v Germany
USA v Norway

Tuesday, July 27
Denmark v England
Sweden v Iceland
Norway v Finland
Germany v USA

Placement Matches
Thursday, July 29
Match for 7th and 8th
Match for 5th and 6th
Match for 3rd and 4th