• Rodriguez Tallies 17th Career Goal in 28th Minute, O’Reilly Adds Clincher in 69th
• USA Shuts Out World’s Fourth-Ranked Team for Second Game in a Row
• U.S. Women Have One More Match Before 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Taking on Mexico on June 5 at Red Bull Arena Live on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. ET
CARY, N.C. (May 18, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Japan 2-0 to win its second game in four days by the same score line against the world’s fourth-ranked team. Heather O’Reilly had an assist and a goal, setting up a goal by Amy Rodriguez in the 28th minute before bagging one herself in the 69th.
“Tonight two different players scored goals and both of them were great goals,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “We gain confidence when we look at the four goals we scored against Japan in these two games. That is something we are going to talk about and watch over and over again. We can gain some confidence just by watching.”
The USA also defeated Japan 2-0 four days ago at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Unlike that match, the USA started strong on a beautiful afternoon in North Carolina and managed some good ball-possession while putting high pressure on Japan’s backs and midfielders.
Japan did earn four corner kicks in the first 22 minutes, but didn’t manage a dangerous shot on goal in the first half before the USA took the lead.
The score came off a brilliant dribble from O’Reilly who ran down a long ball from Shannon Boxx near the end line on the right side of the penalty area. She squared up on Japanese defender Aya Sameshima and pulled off a nifty move to the outside before rolling a pass back into the middle for Rodriguez, who side-footed her shot into the net from 10 yards out. It was the 17th international goal for Rodriguez and second in two games against Japan.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo made three saves on the night, but controlled her penalty area extremely well and had an excellent game with her feet off back passes from her defenders. She did have to come fast off her line in the 34th minute to corral a through ball in front of Ohno and then in the 81st pushed a dangerous looking 25-yard shot from Karina Maruyama over the cross bar.
The Japanese had their best chance in the 41st minute as they wall-passed their way through the U.S. defense inside the penalty box. The sequence ended with an off-balance Shinobu Ohno firing high over the goal from 10 yards away while under pressure from Stephanie Cox.
Like they did in Columbus, the U.S. Women dominated the second half and should have scored a goal or two more. In the 52nd minute, a Rodriguez cross from the right wing found Wambach at the far post, but her full-out diving header flew over the goal.
In the 53rd, Megan Rapinoe got behind the defenders down the left wing through a perfect spinning ball from halftime substitute Amy LePeilbet, then slid a pass on the ground through the six yard box but the crashing Wambach couldn’t connect.
Three minutes later, Boxx squared up on a defender in the left side of the penalty area, nutmegged her and drove straight at the near post before rolling a pass straight across the goal mouth that was cleared.
In the 61st minute, Rapinoe flashed a shot just outside the right post after Wambach had slid a well-weighted pass into the left side of the box.
Young U.S. forward Alex Morgan came into the game for O’Reilly in the 61st minute and just seconds later got free on a breakaway. She beat Kaihori to the ball and took a hard touch into the left side of the penalty area. She had a wide open goal if she had shot with her left, but instead cut the ball back to her right and that gave time for the sliding Azusa Iwashimizu to recover and block the point blank shot.
Just a few minutes later, Morgan got behind the Japanese back line again and got off a shot with her right foot from 10 yards out, but Kaihori stuck up a right hand to bat it away.
With the crowd yearning for a goal, O’Reilly provided it, running onto a pass from Carli Lloyd into the right side of the penalty box. She dribbled inside to her left to lose a defender and struck a left-footed shot from 12 yards out the stuck just inside the left post.
It was O’Reilly’s 29th career international goal and it was scored into the same goal in the same stadium in which she got her first back in 2002 against Italy off an assist from Mia Hamm.
Sundhage also gave time to Lori Lindsey, Lauren Cheney and Tobin Heath in the second half and the Americans could have added to their total. In the 75th minute, Lindsey fired just over the upper right corner from 20 yards after winning a bouncing ball in the penalty area. In the 77th minute, Wambach struck a shot after a counter attack that had to be palmed over the top by substitute ‘keeper Miho Fukumoto.
In the 79th minute, Wambach won a header off a Rapinoe free kick from the right side, but somehow bounced it off the ground and over the goal from close range. The win extended the USA’s domestic unbeaten streak to 50 games with one match remaining before leaving for Europe.
Rachel Buehler captained the USA in the absence of Christie Rampone, who is still recovering from a slight muscle strain, and played an excellent match in the center of the defense along with Becky Sauerbrunn, who went 90 minutes for the second straight match. Ali Krieger also had a solid game at outside back as did Cox, who played on the left before she gave way to LePeilbet at halftime.
The USA’s Women’s World Cup Send-Off Match will take place on June 5 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., against Mexico. That match kicks off at 2 p.m. ET and will also be broadcast live on ESPN2.
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 USA will face Korea DPR, Colombia and Sweden in first round play.
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. Japan
Date: May 18, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 69 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
JPN 0 0 0
USA – Amy Rodriguez (Heather O’Reilly) 28th minute
USA – Heather O’Reilly (Carli Lloyd) 69
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Rachel Buehler (capt.), 14-Stephanie Cox (6-Amy LePeilbet, 46); 9-Heather O’Reilly (12-Lauren Cheney, 72), 7-Shannon Boxx (16-Lori Lindsey, 61), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Tobin Heath, 84); 8-Amy Rodriguez (13-Alex Morgan, 61), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 3-Christie Rampone, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Jill Loyden, 22-Whitney Engen, 23-Sinead Farrelly
Head coach: Pia Sundhage
JPN: 12-Ayumi Kaihori (1-Miho Fukumoto, 71); 3-Azusa Iwashimizu, 4-Saki Kumagai, 15-Aya Sameshima 2-Yukari Kinga (16-Maiko Nasu, 78); 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (13-Rumi Utsugi, 74), 8-Aya Miyama, 10-Homare Sawa (capt.), 11-Nahomi Kawasumi (18-Karina Maruyama, 63); 9-Shinobu Ohno (7-Kozue Ando, 74), 20-Mana Iwabuchi (14-Emi Nakajima, 78)
Subs not used: 5-Kyoko Yano, 17-Yuki Nagasato, 19-Megumi Takase
Head coach: Norio Sasaki
Statistical Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 15 / 8
Shots on Goal: 9 / 3
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 10 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 6
Offside: 4 / 6
Referee: Moo Hackett (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Buda (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Fitzgerald (USA)
Fourth Official: Larry Stroud Jr. (USA)
Bud Light Woman of the Match: