LA MANGA, Spain (Feb. 26, 2010) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux scored her second goal in as many games to lead the young Americans to a 1-0 victory over the England Under-23 Women’s National Team. The victory, combined with a 1-0 victory over Norway’s U-23s and a 1-1 tie with Germany’s U-20s, gives the USA the title in the four-team tournament.
Prior to today’s matches, the La Manga Cup could have gone to England, Germany or the USA. Norway played Germany to a 0-0 tie in a match that took place before the USA-England game so the Americans knew a victory would give them first place.
England came into the match with only two available substitutes due to a sickness from a virus that has impacted several teams, including the USA. Two English players went down with knee injuries during the game and they were forced to play with 10 women for about the last 35 minutes.
“We needed everyone today and England certainly gave us a great test because we had to fight and battle for every ball,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis, who was born in England. “I was happy for the players to get the win at the end of a physically demanding week and very proud of them for closing out the tournament.”
The USA’s goal came with just nine minutes left after Zakiya Bywaters dribbled toward the left wing and chipped a ball into Leroux who was making a run between the two center backs. Sandwiched between them, Leroux was still able to meet the ball and blast a half-volley into the net.
It was Leroux’s 20th international goal at the U-20 level in just 24 matches.
“England challenged our backs with some precision long balls but I was proud of our back four’s determination and physical commitment to win balls,” said Ellis. “We had some good looks early in the game that got away from us but it was a great feed from Zakiya that set up Syd’s game-winner and she took it well.”
The U.S. roster for La Manga featured 16 players who are fresh off winning the 2010 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championships in Guatemala in January that qualified the team for the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany.
The U.S. U-20s will come together next for a domestic training camp in Gainesville, Fla. in the middle of March.
Match: United States U-20 Women’s National Team vs. U-23 English National Team
Date: February 26, 2010
Competition: La Manga Cup
Venue: La Manga Club, La Manga, Spain
Weather: 63 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
England 0 0 0
USA - Sydney Leroux (Zakiya Bywaters) 81st minute
USA: 1-Alexa Gaul; 15-Courtney Verloo, 5-Amber Brooks, 22-Toni Pressley, 20-Kendall Johnson; 7-Tiffany McCarty (6-Rachel Quon, 75), 8-Samantha Mewis (4-Crystal Dunn, 66), 10-Casey Short (13-Jenna Richmond, 75), 9-Teresa Noyola (12-Zakiya Bywaters, 46); 19-Sydney Leroux, 14-Morgan Marlborough (16-Maya Hayes, 46)
Subs not used: 3-Lucretia Lee, 24-Adrianna Franch
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
ENG: 1-Marie Hourihan; 2-Mel Sutcliffe, 5-Fern Whelan, 6-Kerys Harrop, 3-Claire Rafferty (12-Chelsea Weston, 31); 7-Steph Houghton, 4-Sohpie Bradley, 10-Brooke Chaplen, 8-Remi Allen, 11-Danielle Bird; 9-Ellen White
Subs not used: 13-Ashley Baker
Head Coach: Brent Hills
Stats Summary: USA / England
Shots: 9 / 2
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 13 / 1
Fouls: 1 / 4
Offside: 2 / 1