GUANGZHOU, China (January 28, 2007) – Goals were tough to come by on the second match day of the 2007 Four Nations Tournament as the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team drew 1-1 with England and host China tied Germany, 0-0.
The combination of results means the USA is still alive for the tournament championship, but must get a big result against China in its final match of the competition on Tuesday, January 30, with a kickoff at 4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET at the Guangdong Olympic Stadium.
While the USA was playing without several key veterans and England had most of their first choice players on the pitch, it was a lackluster performance for the Americans. The final shot count was 10-10, but England produced more dangerous attacking chances and manufactured seven corner kicks to the USA’s two.
"For these young (players) that haven't played that much, this was a very, very competitive international match that could have turned on any second in the game," said head coach Greg Ryan. "Just that experience is going to be very helpful to the young players."
The U.S. women had not tied two consecutive matches since August of 2000 when they drew both Russia and Canada by 1-1 scores in matches separated by five days.
The USA got its lone goal on a brilliant header from forward Heather O’Reilly in the 17th minute. Forward Natasha Kai barely saved a ball from going over the end line on the right flank and then skinned her defender to the inside with a razor-sharp cut-back before drilling a cross into the middle. O’Reilly met the ball with a bullet header from eight yards out that bulged the left side of net. It was her ninth career goal for the Women’s National Team.
England equalized just two minutes into the second half after the USA couldn’t clear the ball out of its own penalty area. Forward Eniola Aluko, who caused the USA trouble in the first half with her speed and shiftiness, got possession in the left side of the penalty area and smacked a cross on the ground through the goal box. Right back Alex Scott timed her run perfectly and finished smartly at the far post from just six yards out.
The USA almost got on the board in the third minute, but midfielder Marci Miller was denied her first career goal when her header off a cross from O’Reilly skipped just past the right post.
In the 24th minute, O’Reilly almost created a second goal as she raced down the right side on a 40-yard run into the penalty box and played a hard cross through middle. England goalkeeper Rachel Brown did extremely well to cut off the pass before a U.S. forward could get a boot on it.
O’Reilly almost got a winner in the 68th minute when her shot from 30 yards surprised Brown, who was forced to push it off the underside of the crossbar. The ball bounced down just in front of the goal line, giving England a momentary scare, before it was cleared away.
Seventeen-year-old forward Casey Nogueira, who played the first half, and 20-year-old midfielder Yael Averbuch, who played the final half-hour, both earned their first caps for the Women’s National Team.
Ryan made four changes from the lineup that drew, 0-0, with Germany on Jan. 26, inserting Nogueira and Kai up front with O’Reilly and giving Miller the start in midfield while Briana Scurry went the distance in goal. Lori Chalupny, who played attacking midfielder against Germany, moved to her usual left back position and played 90 minutes.
Defensive midfielder Leslie Osborne did a credible job keeping midfielder Kelly Smith in check, although the England star did have her requisite moments of brilliance on the ball during the match. Smith, a former WUSA star, almost created a winner for her team near the end of the match with a long dribbling run up the middle. She set up substitute Jill Scott for an open look in the left side of the penalty area, but Scurry cut down the angle well and made the save. England put seven of its 10 shots on goal, but Scurry was well positioned on all six of her saves.
The USA had one last chance in stoppage time as Averbuch chipped a ball to O’Reilly running behind the defense into the penalty box, but the U.S. forward couldn’t bring the ball down and it skipped out for a goal kick.
It was the first-ever draw between the teams after the USA had won six straight matches. The all-time series now stands at 6-2-1 in favor of the USA.
China is only team to win a game thus far in the tournament, and with the USA-China and Germany-England matches still to come on Tuesday, China, Germany and the USA are all still in contention for the tournament title. With the Germany-England match taking place first at 1:30 p.m. local, the USA will know exactly what result it needs to win the tournament once the second match kicks off at 4 p.m.
In the first match of the day, Germany sent out a lineup with numerous players not likely to be starters come September at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but still took the game to the Chinese and had a slew of near misses in both halves. Chinese ‘keeper Han Wenxia came up big on a half-dozen saves to keep the game knotted and twice Chinese defenders cleared German shots off the goal line that had beaten Han.
Germany was struck a major blow yesterday in training as starting goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg, long one of the best in the women’s game, tore her ACL. It will be a race against time to get healthy for the Women’s World Cup. Stephanie Ullrich got her first cap in goal for Germany, but was injured in the 65th minute in a hard collision with a Chinese player and for a moment, without a back-up ‘keeper, it looked as Germany might have to put a field player in goal. Ulrich, however, shook off the knock and resumed her post.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. England
Competition: 2007 Four Nations Tournament
Venue: Guangdong Olympic Stadium; Guangzhou, China
Date: January 28, 2007; Kickoff – 4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET
Weather: Clear, crisp – 55 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
ENG 0 1 1
USA – Heather O’Reilly (Natasha Kai) 17th minute.
ENG – Alex Scott (Eniola Aluko) 47.
USA - 1-Briana Scurry, 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Cat Whitehill, 15-Kate Markgraf – Capt. (14-Stephanie Lopez, 61), 17-Lori Chalupny; 7-Marci Miller (11-Carli Lloyd, 46), 12-Leslie Osborne, 16-Angela Hucles (20-Yael Averbuch, 61); 26-Casey Nogueira (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 46), 6-Natasha Kai (23-Joanna Lohman, 79), 9-Heather O’Reilly.
Subs not used: 8-Tina Frimpong, 18-Hope Solo, 25-Lauren Cheney, 27-India Trotter.
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
ENG - 1-Rachel Brown; 2-Alex Scott, 19-Casey Stoney, 5-Anita Asante, 20-Emily Westwood (3-Rachel Unitt, 81); 8-Fara Williams, 10-Kelly Smith - Capt., 4-Katie Chapman (12-Vicky Exley, 84); 9-Eniola Aluko (17-Jill Scott, 60), 7-Karen Carney, 11-Rachel Yankey.
Subs not used: 6-Mary Phillip, 13-Siobhan Chamberlain, 14-Jody Handley, 15-Lindsay Johnson, 16-Lianne Sanderson, 18-Sue Smith.
Head Coach: Hope Powell
USA / ENG
Shots: 10 / 10
Shots on Goal: 5 / 7
Saves: 6 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 12 / 15
Offside: 2 / 2
ENG – Fara Williams (caution) 62nd minute.
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution) 90.
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Asst. Referee: Zhang Lingling (CHN)
Asst. Referee: Liu Hongjuan (CHN)
4th Official: Da Fuping (CHN)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Heather O’Reilly
2006 Four Nations Tournament Standings
Team W L T Pts. GF GA GD
CHN 1 0 1 4 2 0 +2
USA 0 0 2 2 1 1 0
GER 0 0 2 2 0 0 0
ENG 0 1 1 1 1 3 -2
2006 Four Nations Tournament Goal Scorers
Player, Country - Goals
Zhang Ying, China - 1
Han Duan, China - 1
Heather O’Reilly, USA - 1
Alex Scott, England - 1