U.S. Women Put Four Past Finland in Group A Finale
Alex Morgan Scores Two, Shannon Boxx and Carli Lloyd Each Add One
USA to Face Iceland on Wed., March 9, In Algarve Cup Championship Game
Fans can follow all the action on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker
QUARTEIRA, Portugal (March 7, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Team rolled past Finland in what amounted to a warm-up match for the Algarve Cup championship game, winning 4-0 on two goals from Alex Morgan and one each from Shannon Boxx and Carli Lloyd.
In Group B, Iceland defeated Denmark 1-0 for its third win of the tournament to earn a spot in its first Algarve Cup title match. The USA will be playing for the tournament championship for the ninth consecutive year. The championship game will be held on March 9 at the beautiful Estádio Algarve, built for the 2004 European Championships, with a kickoff of 12 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the action as it happens on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.
The USA scored twice in the first 13 minutes to effectively put the match away, with the first goal coming in the eighth minute on a fantastic header from Shannon Boxx. Lauren Cheney earned the corner kick and Carli Lloyd drove a cross from the right side to Boxx, who jumped over a defender to powerfully head home from just outside the six yard box. It was Boxx's first goal since March 28 of last year against Mexico and the 22nd of her career.
Five minutes later the USA doubled its lead as Lloyd won the ball in midfield and played Cheney, who raced toward goal before laying a pass to Tobin Heath on the left side. The U.S. midfielder bobbed and weaved into the left side of the penalty box, faking out a defender so badly that she fell to the ground. That allowed her to play a square pass to her right into the path of Lloyd, who drilled her sliding shot on a line into the left corner from 16 yards out.
Morgan was active inside the Finland penalty area and had several looks at goal before tallying her first of the game just before halftime. Seconds before the halftime whistle, right back Ali Krieger drove a beautiful ball over the Finland back line to the sprinting Morgan, who took the ball down off her chest. As Finnish goalkeeper Minna Meriluoto came out to challenge, Morgan lifted the ball into the left corner with her left foot to make it 3-0 at the break. The assist was Krieger’s first point in a U.S. uniform.
Heather O’Reilly was a menace down the right wing, as she has been all tournament, and created numerous chances with her speed and tenacity. In the 18th minute she came close to scoring when her close-range volley was deflected off the leg of a Finland defender and up off the cross bar. In the 30th minute, she once again laid waste to a defender to get around the end and struck a hard shot on the ground to the far post that just evaded the sliding boot of Rampone, who had made a long run from center back.
One minute later, Lloyd won a tackle at the top of the penalty box and took a dribble in alone on the ‘keeper. She bent her first shot off the right post, got it back and smacked a second shot that was pushed away by Meriluoto, whose solid play kept the final goal total from becoming much more inflated.
The USA went into the match already having clinched the top spot in Group A and the accompanying berth to the Algarve Cup title game. U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage used her bench liberally, sending on four substitutes at halftime.
Abby Wambach, who is still returning to fitness after recovering from a heel injury that kept her out of the Four Nations Tournament in China in January, came off the bench for the third straight game and had a handful of chances to score. She was joined in the second half by Kelley O’Hara, who recovered from a deep gash above her left knee to play the final 45 minutes in place of Heather O’Reilly. Becky Sauerbrunn came on in relief of captain Christie Rampone, and Lori Lindsey replaced Boxx.
Morgan got her second of the game in the 54th minute when she ran down a ball on the left end line that had been deflected up in the air by a Finnish defender. Morgan tried to cross the ball, but it was blocked and rolled back to her. She then took a crack at goal with her right foot, but it was pushed away by Meriluoto. Morgan then won the ball right back from a defender, made space with her left foot, and powered a shot through traffic and into the lower right corner.
The goals were Morgan’s fifth and sixth of her career and first since she scored the winning goal in stoppage time against Italy in the first leg of the Women’s World Cup playoff match in Padova, Italy.
Heath, who got a rare 90 minutes, created much of the USA’s danger in the second half with dancing runs down the flanks and came close to setting up a few goals and scoring herself. The USA out-shot Finland 24-1 for the match and U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart had a quiet day, save for one shot she had to push over the bar early in the first half.
The USA will be playing in its 12th Algarve Cup Final (11th since the tournament went to eight teams in Groups A and B) and ninth in a row. The USA has faced five different teams in the final during that time: Germany (three times), Sweden, Denmark (twice), Norway (three times) and China (twice). Iceland defeated Sweden 2-1, China 2-0 and Denmark 1-0 to make the title game.
Japan will play Sweden for third place and Norway and Denmark will meet for fifth place.
The USA is preparing for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will take place from June 26-July 17 in nine venues across Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen.
The 16 nations competing are: host Germany, Korea DPR, Japan and Australia from Asia and Sweden, Norway, France and England from Europe, New Zealand from Oceania, the USA, Canada and Mexico from CONCACAF, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea from Africa and Brazil and Colombia from South America.
- U.S. Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Finland
Date: March 7, 2011
Competition: 2011 Algarve Cup – Group A
Venue: Municipal Stadium; Quarteira, Portugal
Kickoff: 3 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET
Weather: 52 degrees – Overcast, windy, intermittent rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 1 4
FIN 0 0 0
USA – Shannon Boxx (Carli Lloyd) 8th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (Tobin Heath) 13
USA – Alex Morgan (Ali Krieger) 45
USA – Alex Morgan 54
USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 11-Ali Krieger (25-Whitney Engen, 59), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (22-Becky Sauerbrunn, 46), 19-Rachel Buehler, 14-Stephanie Cox; 9-Heather O’Reilly (21-Kelley O’Hara, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx (16-Lori Lindsey, 46), 10-Carli Lloyd, 17-Tobin Heath; 13-Alex Morgan (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 70), 12-Lauren Cheney (20-Abby Wambach, 46)
Subs not used: 8-Amy Rodriguez, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
FIN: 1-Minna Meriluoto; 2-Petra Vaelma, 3-Tuija Hyyrynen, 5-Elina Syrojala, 11-Susanna Lehtinen (4-Maija Saari, 46); 7-Annika Kukkonen, 16-Pernilla Nordlund, 19-Essi Sainio (15-Leena Puranen, 70); 9-Laura Kalmari (14-Marianna Tolvanen, 63), 18-Linda Sallstrom, 20-Annica Sjolund (capt.)
Subs not used: 8-Katri Nokso-Kovisto, 10-Anna-Kaisa Rantanen, 12-Tinja-Riikka Korpela, 13-Hanne Ojanpera, 17-Emmi Alanen
Head Coach: Andrée Jerglertz
Statistical Summary: USA / FIN
Shots: 24 / 1
Shots on Goal: 13 / 1
Saves: 1 / 7
Corner Kicks: 9 / 3
Fouls: 6 / 5
Offside: 7 / 2
USA – Abby Wambach (caution) 79th minute
Referee: Jacqui Melksham (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Allyson Flynn (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Sarah Ho (AUS)
Fourth Official: Etsuko Fukano (JPN)
Bud Light Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd