- Lilly Ties Akers for Second on All-Time U.S. Scoring List With 105th Career Goal
- Boxx, On a Header, and Wambach on a Solo Dribble, Add Goals for U.S.
- Norway Penalty Ends U.S. Shutout Streak at 1,009 Consecutive Minutes
Guangzhou, CHINA (January 18, 2006) – Led by captain Kristine Lilly who played in her historic 300th match for the United States, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team scored all three of its goals in the second half to notch an excellent first win of 2006, defeating Norway 3-1 in the opening match of the Four Nations Tournament.
It was the 39th meeting between the two most successful countries in women’s soccer history and the win moved the USA’s record against Norway to 19-18-2, the first time the Americans have led the all-time series since 1990 when they were 3-2-0 after five games. It was also the sixth straight win for the USA over the Norway, the longest such streak in history between the teams.
The match was scoreless through 72 minutes, but appropriately it was Lilly, the most capped player in the history of international soccer, who broke the deadlock. She scored the USA’s first goal in the 73rd minute and assisted on the second in the 77th as the U.S. built a 2-0 lead, only to see it cut in half by a Norway penalty kick with eight minutes left. The U.S. did not give Norway much time to find an equalizer as Abby Wambach sealed the game three minutes later with the 50th goal of her international career.
“Kristine Lilly’s performance in her 300th game was tremendous, with a goal and a beautiful assist on the corner kick,” said U.S. head coach Greg Ryan. “She is still such a special player and the most special thing about Kristine is that every game she comes to play with her whole heart. She gives us everything, now for the 300th time.”
Dangerous shots were scarce for both teams, but the Americans played quality, quick possession soccer, keeping the pressure on Norway for most of the match while using compact defense to limit the Scandinavian’s chances to a precious few. Norway was also extremely organized on defense and the U.S. could not break through until substitute forward Heather O’Reilly was chopped down just outside the right corner of the penalty area after bursting forward on a lighting-quick counter-attack.
In one of the most amazing moments of many in her legendary career, Lilly stepped up to drill a magnificent free-kick into the upper right corner from 19 yards out, sticking the ball into the net at the near post past lunging Norwegian goalkeeper Bente Nordby.
The goal was the 105th in Lilly’s 18-year international career, tying her with Michelle Akers for second on the all-time U.S. list. It also tied her with Akers and Italian Carolina Morace for third-best all-time in women’s international soccer behind Mia Hamm (158) and another Italian legend, Elisabetta Vignotto (107).
The goal put even more fire into the U.S. attack and just four minute later, they got another. This one came on a corner kick from the right side as Lilly curled her cross to the far post. Shannon Boxx rose above a mass of players to get her head on the ball, sending it off the left post and into the net from close range. It was the defensive midfielder’s 14th career goal in her 51st appearance.
Holding a 2-0 lead with 13 minutes left to play, the game looked to be well in hand, but a dubious penalty kick call in the 82nd minute allowed Norway to halve the lead. The call came off a cross from the right side which U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo went high to win, only to come down in a tangle of players. In the scrum, referee Zhang Dong Qing ruled that U.S. substitute Leslie Osborne had fallen on the ball with her arms and pointed to the spot. Trine Ronning stepped up and slotted her kick into the lower left corner, ending the USA’s shutout streak at 1,009 minutes, dating back to the last match of 2004. The U.S. women, who did not allow a goal in nine games in 2005, still have yet to allow a goal from the run of play in the last 1,018 minutes.
With Norway briefly inspired, the Americans then sunk in a dagger, courtesy of a great individual effort from Wambach. The 5-foot-11 U.S. forward ran hard to dig out an Aly Wagner pass in the left side of the penalty box, flung aside a defender, cut into the middle and stuffed her shot through the legs of the charging Nordby from the top of the six-yard box. Wambach’s score five minutes from time made her the eighth U.S. player in history to score 50 or more goals, joining Hamm, Lilly, Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Cindy Parlow, Shannon MacMillan and Carin Gabarra. Wambach hit the half-century mark in just 64 matches.
Most of the offensive danger in the first half came not from the passing of Wagner, but from her shooting. Wagner hit five of the USA’s first seven shots and had the two best chances of the first half.
In the 17th minute, Lilly won a bouncing ball on the right side of the box that had floated over the defense. She lifted the ball over a defender in tight space, dribbled at the near post and then cut it back to Wagner, whose driven shot was brilliantly knocked down by Nordby. The ball rolled tantalizingly along the goal line before a defender was able to clear it away.
Wagner challenged Nordby again in the 32nd minute, running onto a bouncing ball in the right side of the penalty area, but her heavily struck shot from 16 yards went straight to the ‘keeper.
Norway’s most dangerous chance came two minutes before halftime when Leni Larsen hammered a 25-yard shot off the underside of the crossbar. Flying U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo sprang up to get a hand on the ball as it thundered off the crossbar, before bouncing back and striking the still-airborne Solo in the face. The U.S. ‘keeper popped up and grabbed the ball, which had landed safely just outside the U.S. goal line, before any Norwegian could get to it.
Solo faced six Norwegian shots on the day, and made four saves, including a clutch parry of a free kick in the 87th minute. She had to come off her line several times to snare crosses, and in the first half denied Lise Klaveness on a semi-breakaway, laying her body across the ground to corral the ball before the Norwegian forward could get a toe on it.
Klaveness played a lone striker in Norway’s 4-5-1 formation against the USA’s 4-3-3, that featured three left-footed players – Lilly, Wambach and Christie Welsh – up top. Kalveness had a long day as a young U.S. defense did very well winning air balls and keeping the Norwegians in front of them.
The performance of the U.S. back line was even more impressive considering that Tina Frimpong was making her first-ever start for the USA in central defense. It also marked just her second career start in just her fourth-ever game. Right back Christie Rampone played in her first game back with the national team in over a year, and only 112 days after having a baby girl. Left back Lori Chalupny was playing in just the 16th game of her career while center back Amy LePeilbet earned her 11th cap.
Twenty-year-old forward India Trotter earned her first career cap, coming on in the 90th minute and playing the last two minutes of stoppage time. Norway went the entire match without making a substitute.
In the second game of the day, China got a late equalizer to draw 1-1 with France in a match officiated by American Rachel Woo. The USA will face France Jan. 20 on the second matchday of the Four Nations Tournament. The game at Guangdong Olympic stadium kicks off at 1:30 p.m. local / 12:30 a.m. ET.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Norway
Competition: Four Nations Tournament
Venue: Guangdong Olympic Stadium; Guangzhou, China.
Date: January 18, 2006; Kickoff – 1:30 p.m. local time / 12:30 a.m. ET
Weather: Hazy, cool – 72 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 3 3
NOR 0 1 1
USA – Kristine Lilly (unassisted) 73rd minute
USA – Shannon Boxx (Kristine Lilly) 77.
NOR -- Trine Ronning (Penalty Kick) 82.
USA – Abby Wambach (Aly Wagner) 85.
USA - 18-Hope Solo; 3-Christie Rampone (2-Heather Mitts, 67), 17-Lori Chalupny, 23-Tina Frimpong, 14-Amy LePeilbet; 7-Shannon Boxx, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (12-Leslie Osborne, 76), 10-Aly Wagner (8-Carli Lloyd, 88); 20-Abby Wambach (27-India Trotter, 90), 19-Christie Welsh (9-Heather O’Reilly, 61), 13-Kristine Lilly – Capt.
Subs not used: 4-Stephanie Lopez, 11-Angie Woznuk, 21-Marci Miller, 28-Jenni Branam.
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
NOR - 1-Bente Nordby; 3-Gunhild Følstad, 2-Ane Stangeland - Capt., 11-Martitha Kaufmann, 5-Siri Nordby; 16-Leni Larsen, 4-Ingvild Stensland, 10-Unni Lehn, 7-Trine Ronning, 9-Isabell Herlovsen; 20-Lise Klaveness.
Subs not used: 6-Lene Storløkken, 8-Camilla Huse, 12-Ingrid Hjelmseth, 13-Toril Akerhaugen, 14-Tonje Hansen, 15-Kristin Blystad Bjerke, 17-Marianne Paulsen, 18-Marie Knutsen, 19-Gunilla Forseth,
Head Coach: Bjarne Berntsen
USA / NOR
Shots: 13 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 5 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 9
Offside: 4 / 0
NOR – Martitha Kaufmann (caution) 8th minute.
Referee: Zhang Dong Qing (China)
AR 1: Liu Hong Juan (China)
AR 2: Deng Jun Xia (China)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Kristine Lilly
2006 Four Nations Tournament Standings
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
USA 1 0 0 3 3 1 +2
CHN 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
FRA 0 0 1 1 1 1 0
NOR 0 1 0 0 1 3 -2