US SoccerUS Soccer
Lauren Cheney

Stoppage-Time Strike from Cheney Lifts U.S Women to Win Against Mexico

  • Lauren Cheney Scores Game-Winner From Distance in Second Half Stoppage Time
  • USA Earns Third Straight Shutout Heading into FIFA Women’s World Cup
  • U.S. Team Departs for Pre-Women’s World Cup Training Camp in Austria on June 14

HARRISON, N.J. (June 5, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Mexico 1-0 in its final international match before the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany as forward Lauren Cheney scored on a strike from distance in the second minute of second half stoppage time.

The Americans thoroughly dominated the entire game, putting together some dynamic attacking sequences, but struggled in the final third to finish and in the end had just one goal to show for a 34-4 shot advantage.

“I think the road to the World Cup has been bumpy,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “In a perfect world we should have scored a couple of goals today but my glass is half full. When you look at the game, it was an excellent game because we played well and we created chances and it was a player coming off the bench, Lauren Cheney, who made the difference. That tells us how important every single player is on this team.”

Part of the final score can be attributed to 16-year-old Mexican goalkeeper Ceci Santiago, who made a slew of excellent saves to keep the score down.

She could do nothing on Cheney’s blast, however, which came from 27 yards out and was launched from the right of the penalty arc. The screamer blasted into the upper left corner giving the USA a much-deserved and cathartic winning goal. The score for Cheney, who was a 61st minute sub for Amy Rodriguez, was the 14th of her international career.

The USA buzzed around Mexico’s penalty area for the entire match, firing 14 shots on goal – 10 in the second half – but could not find the net through the first 91 minutes against a scrappy and committed Mexican defense.

It was not for a lack of effort. Abby Wambach had four excellent chances inside the first 25 minutes. She struck a left footer just wide from a sharp angle in the sixth minute, sent a diving header wide of the right post in the 13th, saw her one-on-one chance swept away by the feet of Santiago in the 18th and rounded the ‘keeper in the 25th after picking off a back-pass, only to hit side-netting.

A few minutes later, Santiago made a great save on Megan Rapinoe’s driven shot from the left side of the box, tipping away the chance after the U.S. midfielder had weaved through penalty box traffic.

One of the USA’s best chances of the first half came in the 37th minute when Rodriguez fired over the top from eight yards after Carli Lloyd had made a nice run into the penalty area from the right side and set her up well with a pass into the slot.

In the 41st minute, Shannon Boxx pounded a header at goal off a Heather O’Reilly cross that came from a short corner kick, but Santiago once again rose to bat the ball up in the air before it was cleared.

Right before halftime, Rodriguez got behind the defense to bring a long ball down on her chest, but her half-volley from near the top of the penalty area sailed over the goal.

Just three minutes into the second half, Wambach challenged Santiago on a cross from the right side. The ball was knocked down inside the penalty area where Lloyd latched on, took a touch to her left and fired straight at the goal, only to see her shot deflected away off the goal line by a scrambling defender.

As the second half wore on the shots kept coming. The Americans produced a powerful left-footer from O’Reilly inside the penalty box that just missed the left post, a Rapinoe header that went over the crossbar and a brilliant save from Santiago at the left post after Lloyd had dribbled through the Mexican defense to get to the left corner of the six-yard box.

The USA’s youngest player – 21-year-old striker Alex Morgan – came into the match in the 76th minute and also caused danger for the last quarter of an hour, perhaps her best chance coming in the 80th minute when she shot just wide after doing well to bring down a ball inside the penalty area.

After playing the second 45 minutes against Mexico today with no issues, Sundhage confirmed that defender Heather Mitts earned a spot on the final 21-player Women's World cup roster. Today's match was just the second of 2011 for Mitts, who played in the opening game of the year against Sweden, but then struggled with hamstring injuries for most of the next few months. She was named to the Women's World Cup roster on May 9, but then had another niggling injury that put her status in doubt for a few weeks. Even though she has 116 caps, this will be the first Women's World Cup for Mitts. If she plays in a match, at age 33, she will be the oldest U.S. player ever to debut in a Women's World Cup.

The match marked the first game between the two teams since Mexico defeated the USA in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament last November, forcing the Americans into a playoff against Italy for the 16th and final berth to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Mexico faces England, Japan and New Zealand in first round play at the World Cup.

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will take place from June 26-July 17 in nine venues across Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen. The USA will face Korea DPR, Colombia and Sweden in first round play.

The USA will depart on June 14 for a training camp in Austria and then will arrive in Dresden, Germany, several days before its Women’s World Cup opener against the Koreans.

The 16 nations competing are: host Germany, Korea DPR, Japan and Australia from Asia and Sweden, Norway, France and England from Europe, New Zealand from Oceania, the USA, Canada and Mexico from CONCACAF, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea from Africa and Brazil and Colombia from South America.

Before the match, U.S. legend Kristine Lilly was honored for her historic career which included five Women’s World Cup appearance, including two titles, and three Olympic Games, including two gold medals. Lilly, who retired in January after 23 years on the national team, finished with a world record 352 caps and 130 goals.  

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
June 5, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET
Attendance: 5,852
Weather: Sunny – 72 degrees

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                            0          1          1
MEX                            0          0          0

USA – Lauren Cheney (Abby Wambach)        90+2 minute

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger (2-Heather Mitts, 46), 19-Rachel Buehler (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 84), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet (14-Stephanie Cox, 61); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx (16-Lori Lindsey, 71), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (13-Alex Morgan, 76); 8-Amy Rodriguez (12-Lauren Cheney, 61), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 17-Tobin Heath 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Jill Loyden, 22-Whitney Engen
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

MEX: 20-Ceci Santiago, 2-Kenti Robles, 4-Alina Garciamendez, 5-Natalie Vinti, 15-Charito Saucedo, 8-Lupita Worbis, 17-Tania Morales (24-Monica Ocampo, 46), 18-Veronica Perez (7-Eve Lopez, 46; 23-Monica Alvarado, 84), 9-Maribel Dominguez (capt.) (22-Charlyn Corral, 80), 10-Dinora Garza (11-Nayeli Rangel, 71), 21-Fany Mayor (19-Teresa Noyola)
Subs not used:  1-Erika Vanegas, 3-Marlene Sandoval, 6-Moni Vergara, 13-Natalie Garcia, 16-Liliana Mercado
Head coach: Leonardo Cuellar

Statistical Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 34 / 4
Shots on Goal: 14 / 2
Saves: 2 / 8
Corner Kicks: 9 / 1
Fouls: 8 / 5
Offside: 1 / 6

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Kari Seitz (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marlene Duffy (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Veronica Perez (USA)
Fourth Official: Christina Ibanez (USA) 

Bud Light Woman of the Match: Lauren Cheney