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U.S. U-15 Girls' National Team Defeats, Ties Japanese U-16 GNT

CARSON, Calif. (August 20, 2007) - The U.S. Under-15 Girl’s National Team played two matches against the Japanese U-16 Girl’s National Team last week at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., winning the first match, 4-1, on Aug. 15 and tying the second, 2-2, on Aug. 17.

The U.S. U-15s, all born in 1992, showed well against a Japanese team split almost evenly with players born in 1991 and 1992, that has already qualified for the 2008 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup to be held in New Zealand.

In the first match, forward Maya Hayes opened the scoring in the 18th minute, picking off a pass from the Japanese goalkeeper and finishing her one-on-one chance. Forward Devin Marshall made it 2-0 in the 46th minute off an assist from midfielder Samantha Mewis.

Japan’s Akane Saito pulled a goal back just two minutes later, but the USA put the game away with two goals in a four-minute span when in the 43rd minute as midfielder Kealia Ohai started a dribble at midfield and literally ran past the entire Japanese team down the right flank before finishing into the near post.

Three minutes later, Marshall got her second of the game on a counter attack off an assist from forward Kori Chapic.

Japan showed much better in the return leg, taking the match to the Americans for much of the game and coming back from a 2-0 deficit to earn the draw.

Midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo got the opening goal in just the third minute, sneaking a rolling shot into the lower left corner from the top of the penalty box and then Marshall scored her third goal in two games just before halftime off an assist from midfielder Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick.

Kei Yoshioka scored both of Japan’s goals, getting her first in the 58th minute and then followed up a thunderous free kick from captain Natsuki Kishikawa that struck the upper left portion of the crossbar. The diminutive Japanese forward headed home the rebound on the bounce from close range to earn the draw.

The U.S. U-15 Girls return to action next at the 2007 Nike Women’s Friendlies to be held at The Home Depot Center in late September.