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USA Squares Off vs. China in Thursday's Semifinal at 2006 U-20 Women's World Championship


Wednesday, August 30, 2006
U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team
Notes from Moscow, Russia


USA TO FACE CHINA IN 2006 FIFA U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL: From the 16 teams that started the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Championship, just four are left, and one of those is the United States. After using vastly different lineups to win the group, U.S. head coach Tim Schulz deployed his big guns against Germany in the quarterfinals, earning an historic 4-1 victory. The win earned the young Americans a spot in the semifinal round where they will take on China on Thursday, Aug. 31, at Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow. China was the runner-up at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, losing, 2-0, to Germany. Fans can follow all the action as it happens on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker at 7 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET. The other semifinal featuring Brazil vs. North Korea kicks off at 4 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET.

2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship - Quarterfinal Match-Ups
Date         Teams                               Stadium (Venue)                    Kickoff local / ET
Aug. 26    Brazil 2, Nigeria 1            Torpedo (Moscow)                  --
Aug. 26    China 4, Russia 0           Torpedo (Moscow)                  --
Aug. 27    North Korea 2 France 1  Petrovsky (St. Petersburg)     --
Aug. 27    USA 4, Germany 1           Petrovsky (St. Petersburg)     --
Semifinals
Aug. 31    Brazil vs. North Korea      Lokomotiv (Moscow)              4 p.m. / 8 a.m.
Aug. 31    China vs. USA                   Lokomotiv (Moscow)            7 p.m. / 11 a.m.

FIRST GAMES AT LOKOMOTIV: The two semifinals will be the first of the tournament at Lokomotiv Stadium, which will also host the third-place match and the championship game. Lokomotiv is widely hailed as one of the best soccer stadiums in Russia and hosted the Russia-Brazil Men’s National Team match last March before the 2006 World Cup. The stadium was totally renovated in 2002 and the “expressive, flying design of the stadium is the new word in architecture.” The field is actually a grass-plastic hybrid, with “each two centimeters of the field stitched with synthetic thread, making a seemingly silk and delicate grass cover strong enough to resist huge loads without being seriously threatened.” The stadium, which is home to Lokomotiv Football Club, seats just over 30,000 fans and has no track around it, so the spectators are tight to the field. To see Lokomotiv Stadium, click here.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Both the USA and China have won all four games they have played so far, with China scoring 10 goals and conceding just one, while the USA has scored 11 total goals, but has given up three. China controlled all three of its matches, including a 3-0 win vs. Nigeria in which they were actually out-shot 25-6 and managed just three shots on goal, all of which went in. Nigeria had 11 shots on goal in that game, but couldn’t get one past Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Yanru, who has played every minute for her team so far. China was also out-shot by Russia in the quarterfinals after they built a large lead and needed to absorb the Russian’s pressure until the final whistely. With Schulz rotating his entire roster, the United States struggled to finish in its first three matches, but was in total control of the first two and had a solid win over France to finish group play. The 4-1 win over Germany in the quarterfinals saw the USA at its best. The USA was without several key players early in the tournament due to injuries and suspensions, but has everyone fit and available for the semifinal.

USA’s Road to the Semifinal
Date Result USA Goal Scorers
Aug. 18 USA 2, DR Congo 1 Kelley O’Hara, Amy Rodriguez
Aug. 21 USA 4, Argentina 1 Jessica Rostedt, Danesha Adams, Allie Long, Casey Nogueira
Aug. 24 USA 1, France 0 Jessica Rostedt
Aug. 27 USA 4, Germany 1 Kelley O’Hara, Danesha Adams (2), Amy Rodriguez

China’s Road to the Semifinal
Date Result China Goal Scorers
Aug. 17 China 2, Finland 1 Yuan Fan, Ma Xiaoxu, Zi Jingjing
Aug. 20 China 3, Nigeria 0 Lou Xizoxu, Ma Xiaoxu (2)
Aug. 23 China 1, Canada 0 Ma Xiaoxu
Aug. 26 China 4, Russia 0 Zi Jingjing, Ma Xiaoxum Zhang Wei Shuang, You Jia

For complete standings and results, visit ussoccer.com’s FIFA U-20 WWC page.

USA-CHINA PREVIEW: These two teams met twice this year before the World Championship, both in New Jersey, on July 2 and 4, as China was on a North American swing after also playing games in Canada. The USA won both matches and both were high scoring affairs. China and the USA’s youth teams both certainly take characteristics from their senior sides. China is extremely skillful and excellent at keeping possession of the ball, but relies on just a few players to get their goals as Max Xiaoxu and Zi Jingling have seven of their country’s 10 scores in Russia. The USA features a slew of dynamic attacking players, and has gotten goals from six players in the tournament, including four players with multiple scores in Danesha Adams (3), Kelley O’Hara (2), Amy Rodriguez (2) and Jessica Rostedt (2). The Americans are a high-pressuring and hard running side, while the crafty Chinese can stay extremely organized, sit back and counter-attack quickly. With both teams playing attractive soccer, this could be one of the better played matches of the tournament.

USA Takes Two From Chinese
In the game on July 2, the USA got goals from five different players as Jordan Angeli, Casey Nogueira and Rodriguez scored in regulation and O’Hara and Cheney got the extra-time goals. The eight goal outburst didn’t start until the 42nd minute when China scored to make it 1-0. The USA equalized in the 56th minute through Angeli and then took the lead as Nogueira tallied in the 64th minute. The USA seemingly put the game away two minutes later as Rodriguez made it 3-1, but the Chinese mounted a furious comeback to tie the match. In the 84th minute, China pulled a goal back, and then Nogueira inadvertently knocked the ball into her own net just three minutes from the end of the game to knot the score at three a piece. The teams had agreed to play overtime if the match was tied at the end of regulation and O’Hara got the winning goal in the 111th minute, making a run from the top of the penalty box as Tina DiMartino slipped her a pass behind the defense. With a defender on her left hip, O’Hara finished smartly into the lower left corner from six yards out. Cheney got an insurance goal in the 117th minute making a far post run to meet a cross from Rodriguez from the left wing. The Chinese ‘keeper came out to challenge Cheney, but she dribbled around her to the right, slotting the ball into the open net from a sharp angle. Two days later, the teams squared off again, with the USA winning 3-2 on goals by Rodriguez, Angeli and Cheney. The USA was up 3-0 in the game before China roared back with two goals.

No Ma in NJ
The U.S. picked up its two wins over China while the Chinese were without their top player, five-foot-seven striker Ma Xiaoxu, who is the leading scorer in this World Championship with five goals. Ma, who started against the full U.S. Women’s National Team in China’s matches against the USA last January at the Four Nations Tournament and in March at the Algarve Cup, has scored in all four games her team has played in Russia. She scored on a penalty against Finland in China’s 2-1 win to equalize the match, got two goals against Nigeria in the 3-0 win over the Baby Falcons, scored the lone goal in the 1-0 win over Canada and predictably got one of her country’s four scores in the 4-0 win over Russia. If the USA is going to be successful against China and earn a berth in the World Championship Final, they will have to stop Ma, who wears the number 10 shirt for her country.

Heath and Cheney On Yellows
U.S. defenders Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney are carrying yellow cards into the China match and must be extremely careful not to get another, as they would be suspended for the USA’s final match, either the World Championship Final or the Third-Place Game. China has three players sitting on yellow cards.

U.S. Quote Sheet:

Defender Stephanie Lopez
On the team’s improvement over four games:
“Over the course of the tournament, I think our team has become tougher mentally and physically. None of the games have been easy games, and I think that has made us better prepared for the following game. I think the battle against Germany prepared us to do the same against China, and to stay together and keep playing until we can get a goal.”

On the USA’s style:
“Our team is known for playing some pretty soccer, but we’ve added some grit and high pressure to our style that is characteristic of the U.S. women’s teams and that has helped make us more successful. Still, there is definitely some flair and ginga out there, which we hope is fun for the fans to see.”

Midfielder Allie Long
On the China match:
“We definitely need to play quicker and smarter. We’ve played some good soccer during the tournament, but I am not sure we have put together 90 minutes of good rhythm. We also have to win our tackles, which I think we did a good job of against Germany. We just have to come out with that same intensity to win the first balls and second balls.”

U.S. Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3):
18-Kelsey DAVIS (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 21-Joanna HAIG (Inver Grove Heights, Minn), 1-Val HENDERSON (Orinda, Calif.);
DEFENDERS (6): 15-Carrie DEW (Encinitas, Calif.), 16-Erin HARDY (Costa Mesa, Calif.), 4-Nikki KRSYSIK (Clifton, N.J.), 3-Stephanie LOGTERMAN (Austin, Texas), 6-Stephanie LOPEZ (Elk Grove, Calif.), 5-Sara WAGENFUHR (Colorado Springs, Colo.);
MIDFIELDERS (8): 2-Jordan ANGELI (Lakewood, Colo.), 9-Danesha ADAMS (Shaker Heights, Ohio), 10-Brittany BOCK (Naperville, Ill.), 13-Tina DiMARTINO (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), 11-Tobin HEATH (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 14-Allie LONG (East Northport, N.Y.), 20-Casey NOGUEIRA (Cedarburg, Wis.), 7-Amanda POACH (Bowie, Md.);
FORWARDS (4): 8-Lauren CHENEY (Indianapolis, Ind.), 12-Amy RODRIGUEZ (Lake Forest, Calif.), 19-Kelley O’HARA (Fayetteville, Ga.), 17-Jessica ROSTEDT (Kent, Ohio).

China Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3):
1-ZHANG Yanru (Jiangsu Shuntian), 18-WENG Xiaojie (Jiangsu Shuntian), 21-XU Meishuang (Changchun Yatai);
DEFENDERS (7): 2-ZHOU Gaoping (Jiangsu Shuntian), 3-YUAN Fan (Shanghai Shenhua), 4-ZHANG Wei (Jiangsu Shuntian), 5-WENG Xinzhi (Jiangsu Shuntian), 14-WANG Dongni (Dalian Shide), 15-YUE Min (Wuhan Guoce), 20-LIU Xiaoyan (Shanghai Shenhua);
MIDFIELDERS (7): 6-HOU Lijia (Dalian Shide), 7-XI Dingying (Shanghai Shenhua), 8-YOU Jia (Shanghai Shenhua)
9-RAO Huifang (Guangdong Xiongying), 13-ZHUANG Ran (Sichuan Guangcheng), 16-ZHANG Weishuang (Changchun Yatai), 17-MA Zixiang (Beijing Chengjian);
FORWARDS (4): 10-MA Xiaoxu (Dalian Shide), 11-LOU Xiaoxu (Changchun Yatai), 12-ZHU Wei (Jiangsu Shuntian), 19-ZI Jingjing (Tianjin Teda).

TOURNAMENT’S TOP SCORERS: Of the top seven scorers in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship, only two are still playing in Ma Xiaoxu of China (five goals) and Danesha Adams of the USA (three). Ma is the front-runner for the Golden Boot, but Adams may have something to say about that as the two teams meet head-to-head in the semifinal. Brazil has one player with multiple goals in Fabiana, who has two scores. North Korea has three players who have scored two goals a piece in Jong Pok Hui, Kim Kyong Hwa and Kim Song Hui. The following are the players with three or more goals so far in the tournament.

Player (Country) - Goals
Ma Xiaoxu (CHN) - 5
Anna Blaesse (GER) - 4
Cynthia Uwak (NGA) - 4
Ludmila Manicler (ARG) - 3
Fatire Bajramaj (GER) - 3
Danesha Adams (USA) - 3
Maureen Eke (NGA) - 3

all_access video – A-ROD AND L.C. PREVIEW CHINA MATCH, AND APPARENTLY THE U.S. TEAM HAS BEEN WATCHING TOO MUCH ANIMAL PLANET: ussoccer.com sat down with U.S. forwards Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney to get their thoughts on playing with the full WNT and the U-20s, as well as the upcoming semifinal match against China. The U.S. team also takes you to the jungle, the farm and the sea, with their animal impressions. And if you haven’t seen the “Ball Trick Battle” between U.S. midfielders Tobin Heath and Casey Nogueira, then turn in your membership card for the U.S. National Team Supporters Club. See it all on usoccer.com’s all_access video.

USSOCCER.COM'S U-20 WNT BLOG ANSWERS ALL THE QUESTIONS: What happens when you combine Pictionary with the U.S. U-20s? What are the top-10 reasons you know you’ve been in Russia for a long time? And what is Brittany Bock’s favorite snack? ussoccer.com answers these questions and more in this exclusive blog from Russia, keeping you up to date from inside the U-20 WNT at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship. Check back for regular updates as the team gets set for its semifinal match against China on Thursday, Aug. 31 in Moscow.

PODCAST – VAL IS NO BARBIE, AND DEWBOCK IS ON A ROLL AGAIN: Val Hendrson has played two excellent games for the U.S. U-20s at the World Championship. She talks about getting herself prepared after sitting out the first two matches as well as the USA’s run in Russia (listen). Also, Carrie Dew and Brittany Bock check in early-morning from a Russia train and let us know if they’ve become more proficient on their bikes at Notre Dame, as well their view of the Germany match and Carrie Dew’s tackling (listen). A hint: Bock says Dew’s tackles were “disgusting.” In a good way, of course. [SUBSCRIBE]

COLORS: For the fourth time in five WWC matches, the USA will wear their red jerseys, blue shorts and blue socks. China will be wearing all white.

AUSSIE IN THE MIDDLE: Australian Tammy Ogtson will be the referee for the USA-China match. Christine Beck from Germany will handle the Brazil-North Korea match.

Stat of Note:
Eight of the 10 midfielders or forwards on the U.S. roster have registered at least a goal or an assist in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship.

Quote of the Day:
Midfielder Casey Nogueira, confirming the team’s addiction to Animal Planet, one of the few English-language stations in the team hotel.

“My favorite is Lion Battlefield. It’s on Monday’s at 20:00.”

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