U.S. Women Open 2008 Peace Queen Cup With 2-1 Victory Over Australia
SUWON, South Korea (June 15, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Australia in its opening match of the 2008 Peace Queen Cup, winning 2-1 on a hot, humid afternoon as forward Natasha Kai scored in the first half and forward Abby Wambach added the winner 13 minutes from the end of the game.
“When you go into a tournament it’s always good to have a win instead of a tie,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “That is good for the confidence and we go from there. We will not only look at the result, but also how we did in attacking and defending.”
The match contrasted the two meetings between the teams earlier this spring when the U.S. won by 3-2 and 5-4 scores, but once again the U.S. gutted out a one-goal victory. Australia played compact defense to limit the USA’s chances while the American back line did a great job of keeping Matilda speedster Lisa De Vanna in front of them.
Neither team put on a dynamic attacking performance, combining for just seven shots on goal, but the Americans had the better of the match, firing 11 shots to Australia’s five and produced the greater number of dangerous chances.
Looking heavy-legged at times during the early going, the U.S. got on the board first in the 35th minute through a nice bit of flank play from midfielder Heather O’Reilly. She created the goal after collecting a ball on the right wing and pausing to assess the situation. She then exploded down the flank, beating an Australia defender to create space before sending a dangerous chip into the penalty area. Kai was making a cutting run and slipped in front of a defender before beating Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri to the ball. Kai poked it by her from six yards out into the lower left corner with the ball kissing the post as it rolled over the line.
The goal was Kai’s team-leading 11th of 2008 and 19th of her young international career.
Both U.S. goal scorers had collision incidents within three minutes of each other in the first half as Kai had to leave the game momentarily due to a cut under her left eye, courtesy of a Cheryl Salisbury elbow, while Wambach took a hip to the ribs that necessitated a few moments of breath-catching before she rose to her feet.
The U.S. back line of right back Heather Mitts, center backs Christie Rampone and Kate Markgraf, and left back Lori Chalupny was superb, limiting the Matildas to just two shots on goal for the match. The second of those was Australia’s only shot of the second half and it produced a goal.
The equalizer came in the 57th as Amy Chapman chipped in a cross from the right wing that landed amongst a group of U.S. defenders, but took an awkward spinning bounce to the foot of Heather Garriock. The Australia midfielder got only a small piece of the ball on her shot, but it was enough send the well-placed change-up trickling past U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo and into the lower right corner of the net.
Aside from the goal, the USA’s best two chances of the first half came courtesy of Wambach, who ran onto a bouncing ball in the 15th minute and almost caught Barbieri napping with a 25-yard worm-burner half-volley that just skidded outside the left post. Moments after Kai’s goal, O’Reilly sent another deft pass that put Wambach momentarily through at the top of the penalty area, but Barbieri did well to race two yards outside the box and sweep away the ball with her legs, upending Wambach in the process.
Barbieri was especially good in the air during the match, catching at least six high services in traffic, but she could do nothing on the winning goal, which came in the 77th minute off a corner kick from the left side.
Halftime substitute Aly Wagner, who was seeing her first action of 2008 after a long recovery from a double-hernia operation, sent a service to the back post just outside the six-yard box. In a Herculean effort, Wambach rose up over two defenders and with her back to the goal, sent a shot on goal off the back of her head. The ball snuck past the diving Barbieri and through a small gap over the left hip of Heather Garriock (who was standing on the goal line) and the right post. The ball caromed off the post at such an angle that it clearly crossed the goal line, but never hit the net.
The goal was Wambach’s 96th international score as she continues the assault on the 100-goal mark.
Sundhage sent on Wagner to start the second half, replacing Lindsay Tarpley, and made two other subs in the second half, giving runs to 20-year-old Tobin Heath and 21-year-old Lauren Cheney. The USA moved to a 4-5-1 formation to finish the game, with Wambach playing in the attacking midfielder slot, and still produced a handful of good chances.
Kai had several opportunities to add another goal before she left the game in the 62nd minute in favor of Cheney, the first coming in the 44th minute as Angela Hucles cut a pass back to her at the right elbow of the six yard box, but she cracked her shot way wide of the goal. Hucles played the final 55 minutes of the game after replacing Carli Lloyd in the first half.
In the 55th, Kai just missed connecting with another nice pass as Wambach got behind the Aussies on the left side and rolled a ball cross the six-yard box, but the Hawaiian could not quite get a foot on it.
Wagner had a chance in the 65th minute as Cheney made a long dribbling run and slipped the ball through into the left side of the penalty box. Wagner tried to bend the ball around Barbieri into the far post, but the Aussie ‘keeper cut down the angle and smothered the shot.
Solo was troubled little in the match, but did make a brave play seconds after the winning goal, coming out of the net into the right side of the penalty area to smother a ball in a footrace with Garriock and got a kick to the face for her trouble. Solo also pulled of a nifty piece of footwork in the first half, evading De Vanna with a nifty dribble inside the penalty area in the first half.
The U.S. will have one day of rest before facing Brazil in its second Group B match, that taking place at the Suwon Sports Complex on June 17 at 2 p.m. local (1 a.m. ET). The two teams are tied atop the group after Brazil defeated Italy, 2-1, in today’s second Group B game.
Brazil got a sixth minute header from sweeper Erika and a scrappy goal in the 77th from Maurine, who finished a rebound. Italy had equalized on a penalty kick right before halftime from Tatiana Zorri. The penalty occurred on a bizarre play as a Brazilian defender picked up the ball with her hands near the end line. The ball was rolling out of bounds, but hadn’t yet fully crossed over the line.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Australia
Competition: 2008 Peace Queen Cup – Group B
Venue: Suwon Sports Complex, Suwon, South Korea
Date: June 15, 2008; Kickoff – 2:00 p.m. Local / 1 a.m. ET
Weather: Hot, light breeze – 78 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
AUS 0 1 1
USA – Natasha Kai (Heather O’Reilly) 35th minute.
AUS – Heather Garriock (Amy Chapman) 57.
USA – Abby Wambach (Aly Wagner) 77.
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 17-Lori Chalupny, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts; 9-Heather O’Reilly (13-Tobin Heath, 72), 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd (16-Angela Hucles, 36), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (10-Aly Wagner, 46); 6-Natasha Kai (8-Lauren Cheney, 62), 20-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: 14-Stephanie Cox, 19-Amy Rodriguez, 21-Kacey White, 24-Nicole Barnhart, 26-Rachel Buehler
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
AUS: 1-Melissa Barbieri; 4-Dianne Alagich, 5-Cheryl Salisbury (2-Kate McShea, 72), 16-Lauren Colthorpe, 19-Clare Polkinghorne, 32-Ellyse Perry; 7-Heather Garriock, 14-Collette McCallum (6-Amber Neilson, 85), 20-Joanne Burgess (13-Amy Chapman, 50); 11-Lisa De Vanna, 8-Caitlin Munoz (12-Kate Gill, 74).
Subs not used: 3-Karla Reuter, 18-Lydia Williams, 23-Kim Carroll, 24-Kyah Simon, 25-Jenna Tristram.
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
USA / AUS
Shots: 12 / 5
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 0
Fouls: 9 / 16
Offside: 3 / 5
AUS – Dianne Alagich (caution) 9th minute.
AUS – Caitlin Munoz (caution) 55.
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Asst. Referee: Cristina Cini (ITA)
Asst. Referee: Mi-Suk Park (KOR)
4th Official: Suk-Hee Kim (KOR)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Kate Markgraf
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
USA 1 0 0 3 2 1 +1
BRA 1 0 0 3 2 1 +1
ITA 0 1 0 0 1 2 -1
AUS 0 1 0 0 1 2 -1
USA 2, Australia 1
Brazil 2, Italy 1
USA vs. Brazil
Italy vs. Australia
Brazil vs. Australia
USA vs. Italy
June 21 Venue
Championship Game Suwon World Cup Stadium