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U-21 WNT Downs China, 2-0, at Futbol Internacional Tournament in Alabama

CHICAGO (April 22, 2007) – The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team opened the 2007 Futbol Internacional Tournament in Alabama with a solid 2-0 victory over China’s U-21s at the famed Legion Field in Birmingham. Texas junior Kelsey Carpenter and substitute Kelley O’Hara, a Stanford freshman, both scored second half goals to lead the USA to victory in the first international match of the year for the U-21 women.

The six-team, nine-match tournament features the U.S. U-21s, China’s U-21s and Trinidad & Tobago’s full Women’s National Team in Bracket A while the full Women’s National Team of Argentina joins Canada’s Olympic Development Team and Mexico’s U-21s in Bracket B. Canada beat Mexico, 1-0, in the day’s other match.

The two group winners will play for the championship, the second place finishers will play for third and the third-place finishers in each bracket will meet for fifth place.

The USA dominated the match from the beginning, but forwards Danesha Adams and Carpenter wasted golden chances in the first half, and the USA had to show patience as they found it difficult to navigate through a defense-minded Chinese team.

"I thought the game went very well possession-wise,” said O’Hara, one of the standouts for the USA at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia who will join the full Women’s National Team in Residency Training Camp after the end of this tournament. “They had very few chances and we had so many right in front of the goal. It could have been 3-0 at halftime.”

Carpenter finally broke through in the 57th minute when midfielder Amanda Poach, who had both assists in the game, won a fifty-fifty tackle at the top of the penalty area and then put Carpenter behind the defense for her to finish smartly from inside the six-yard box.

O’Hara, playing in her first competitive match since the end of her college season after recovering from a foot injury, doubled the lead in the 75th minute after entering the game just 16 minutes earlier. Poach, a member of the FIFA All-Star Team at the last U-20 World Championship in Russia, sent a cross in from the right wing that flew just over a few Chinese heads to O’Hara, who pounded her header down off the left post and in. O’Hara, who is age-eligible for the next U-20 World Cup in Chile in 2008, has 10 international goals at the U-20 level, but this was her first for the U-21s.

“We dominated the game, made a lot of chances and missed a lot of chances, but other than that, the girls played really well,” said U.S. head coach Bill Irwin. “China got everyone behind the ball and made it difficult for us, but in the second half we made some adjustments and got two goals. Kelsey tucked her chance away well and Kelley finished off a great sequence of ball movement.”

The U.S. defense of center backs Rachel Buehler and Kendall Fletcher and wing backs Stephanie Logterman and Manya Makoski were solid during the game, limiting the dangerous Chinese attacks to a precious few.

The USA’s next match will be against Trinidad & Tobago’s full National Team on Tuesday, April 24 at the Alabama A&M Football Stadium in Huntsville.

Irwin is preparing the U-21s for the annual Nordic Cup, which this year will be held in Finland from July 18-24. The USA won seven Nordic Cup titles in a row before falling last summer to Germany in the title game.


Match-up: USA U-21 vs. China U-21
Competition: 2007 Futbol Internacional
Venue: Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama
Date: April 22, 2007; Kickoff – 5:00 p.m. ET
Attendance: 3,000
Weather: Sunny, dry – 75 degrees

Scoring Summary:
           1    2    F

USA    0    2   2
CHN    0    0   0

USA – Kelsey Carpenter (Amanda Poach) 57th minute.
USA – Kelley O’Hara (Amanda Poach) 75.

USA: 1-Cori Alexander, 16-Stephanie Logterman, 9-Kendall Fletcher, 15-Rachel Buehler – Capt., 2-Manya Makoski (10-Nkechi Kanu, 82); 4-Lisa Sari (13-Kara Kabellis, 71), 22-Sarah Huffman, 8-Amanda Poach; 19-Kiki Bosio (5-Kelley O’Hara, 59), 7-Danesha Adams, 12-Kelsey Carpenter.
Subs not used: 6-Rachel Rapinoe, 11-Danielle Collins, 14-Natalie Capuano, 17-Angie Woznuk, 18-Kelsey Davis, 20-Marissa Abegg, 24-Joanna Haig, 25-Chioma Igwe, 26-Courtney Hooker, 29-Tiffany Weimer.
Head coach: Bill Irwin

CHN: 1-Chi Xiao Hui, 4-Liu Yan Mei (15-Zu Kunrui, 61), 5-Zen Xiu Lan, 3-Ran Xiao Qing, 17-Wang Lin Lin, 8-Ma Zi Xiang, 2-Huang Zi Iuan, 7-Mao Ai Hong (16-Wong Ni, 65), 11-Zhang Lu (10-Zhu Wei, 46), 19-Qu Ya Sha, 13-Lu Ai Xue (9-Li Lin, 39).

Statistical Summary:
Shots: 20 / 3
Shots on Goal: 11 / 2
Saves: 2 / 9
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 8 / 10
Offside: 4 / 0

Misconduct Summary: None.

Referee: Sandra Serafini (USA)
Referee Asst.: Stephen Smith (USA)
Referee Asst.: Justin Brown (USA)
4th Official: Kari Seitz (USA)

2007 Futbol Internacional Tournament
Bracket A                       W    L    T    Pts.    GF    GA    GD
USA U-21                       1     0    0      3        2       0     +2
Trinidad & Tobago        0     0    0      0        0       0       0
China U-21                     0     1    0      0        0       2      -2

Bracket B                    W     L     T    Pts.   GF    GA    GD
Canada ODT               1     0     0     3         1       0      +1
Mexico U-21                 0    1      0     0         0       1      -1
Argentina                      0     0     0     0         0       0       0

Date       Match-Up                                  Venue (Stadium) Kickoff (All times CT)
April 22   Canada ODT 1, Mexico U-21 0     Birmingham, Ala. (Legion Field)
April 22  USA U-21 2, China U-21 0          Birmingham, Ala. (Legion Field)
April 24  USA U-21 vs. T&TApril 24           Huntsville, Ala. (Alabama A&A Football Stadium) 7:30 p.m.
April 24   Argentina vs. Canada ODT          Montgomery, Ala. (Montgomery YMCA Soccer Complex) 7:30 p.m.
April 26   China U-21 vs. T&T                    Tuscaloosa, Ala. (U. of Alabama Soccer Stadium) 7:30 p.m.
April 26   Mexico U-21 vs. Argentina           Decatur, Ala. (Jack Allen Soccer Stadium) 7:30 p.m.
April 28   5th place Match                          Mobile, Ala. (Baker HS Stadium) 2:00 p.m. 
             3rd Place Match                          Mobile, Ala. (Baker HS Stadium) 5:00 p.m.
             Championship                             Mobile, Ala. (Baker HS Stadium) 7:30 p.m.