U.S. Makes Championship Game on Goal Difference,
Will Face Germany for Nordic Cup Title on Saturday;
Adams Hits Hat Trick, Including Key PK on Fourth Goal
SANDNES, Norway (July 20, 2006) – In a must-win game, the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team used three goals from Danesha Adams to defeat Norway, 4-0, at the 2006 Nordic Cup and advance to the championship game for the ninth consecutive year. The USA will face Group A winners Germany in the title game on July 22 at Viking Stadium in Stavanger.
The USA has won seven consecutive Nordic Cup titles at the world’s premier event for the U-21 women, including eight of the last nine, and will face Germany in the championship game for the third time. The USA defeated Germany in Germany in the 2000 title game, 1-0, and 3-1 in Finland for the 2002 championship.
By the opening whistle, the USA already knew that Iceland had pounded Denmark, 6-1, in the other Group B match, and that they needed four goals to advance to the title game. The USA got one goal in the first half and three more in the second, including a clutch penalty kick goal from Adams with 12 minutes left. The USA locked down the game from there and won the group by the slimmest margin of one goal, ending group play with seven points and a +7 goal difference to Iceland’s seven points and +6 goal differential.
Needing four goals over the 90 minutes, the USA started fast, getting the first from Adams in just the 5th minute. The goal came off a long punt from goalkeeper Val Henderson that was flicked on from the head of Noelle Keselica. Adams raced behind the Norway defense and finished from 20 yards with a lob over the goalkeeper.
“We were just all over them. We never took our foot off the gas,” said U.S. head coach Jillian Ellis, who coached the U-21s to the Nordic Cup triumph vs. Germany in 2001. “Danesha was just incredible. She was absolutely relentless, chasing balls down, working hard all over the field, making things happen and causing havoc.”
The match was intense and emotional from start to finish as the USA went after the bushel of goals it needed to assure advancement. Despite some excellent chances to increase the lead before the break, however, the Americans went into halftime leading just 1-0. The championship game came into reach after the USA scored twice in a four-minute span midway through the second half to go up 3-0. Adams’ second goal came off a header in the 68th minute after a cross from the right side. She skied through the air to re-direct the ball into the left corner. Three minutes later, Keselica scored on a header of her own, her first goal of the tournament, and the USA needed just one more score to make the final.
That goal came after forward Amanda Cinalli earned the crucial penalty kick when she was tripped in the penalty box and the referee pointed to the spot. Adams coolly stepped up to slot her chance into the right corner and send the USA to yet another meeting with the Germans.
“We were pushing and pushing and after we got the third, we just knew it was going to happen,” said Ellis.
“Our back line was great in the way they dealt very well with the balls in behind and with the numbers Norway then sent forward,” said Ellis of her back line of Lauren Wilmoth, Rachel Buehler, Kendall Fletcher and Brittany Taylor, who were fronted by defensive midfielder Keselica. “The overall team performance, front to back, was amazing. I’ve been around the game for a long time and I’ve really never been a part of something like this. They willed the win.”
In the Group A matches, Germany defeated England, 3-2, while Sweden rolled past Finland, 3-0. Denmark will face Finland for seventh place, Norway will face Sweden for fifth place while Iceland and England will square off for third.
U.S. UNDER-21 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Norway
Competition: 2006 Under-21 Nordic Cup
Venue: Sandnes Stadium – Sandnes, Norway
Date: July 20, 2006; Kickoff – 7 p.m. local / 1 p.m. ET
Weather: Clear, warm – 75 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
NOR 0 0 0
USA – Danesha Adams (Noelle Keselica) 5th minute.
USA – Danesha Adams (India Trotter) 68.
USA – Noelle Keselica (Sheree Gray) 71.
USA – Danesha Adams (penalty kick) 78.
USA: 18-Val Henderson; 13-Lauren Wilmoth, 12-Rachel Buehler, 4-Kendall Fletcher - Capt., 5-Brittany Taylor; 10-Sarah Huffman (2-Sheree Gray, 46), 19-Noelle Keselica, 22-Angie Woznuk; 9- Danesha Adams, 6-Bristyn Davis, (15-Amanda Cinalli, 59), 21-India Trotter.
Subs not used: 1- Cori Alexander, 8-Jennifer Maurer, 11-Rebecca Moros, 13-Katie Griffin, 16-Tiffany Weimer
Head coach: Jillian Ellis
NOR: 1-Jeanette Stavshoit, 2-Nora Berge, 14-Janne Stange (17-Julie Dønnestad, 80), 5-Anneli Giske, 7-Lene Mykjaland (15-June Pedersen, 84), 6-Nasra Abdullah (11-Kristine Lindblom, 74), 8-Runa Vikestad (3-Toril Akerhaugen, 46), 9-Elise Thorsnes (19-Solfrid Andersen, 36), 10-Lindy Wiik, 16-Madeleine Giske, 20-Guro Knutsen.
Subs not used: 4-Gry Ims, 12-Lill Karlsrud.
Head coach: Jarl Torske
Shots on goal: 9/2
Corner Kicks: 5/2
USA – India Trotter (caution) 76th minute.
USA – June Pedersen (caution) 90.
Referee: Saija Raatikainen (Finland)
Referee Asst.: June Bendiksen (Norway)
Referee Asst.: Maren Berge (Norway)
2006 Nordic Cup Final Group Standings
Teams W L T Pts GF GA GD
Germany 3 0 0 9 8 2 +6
England 1 1 1 4 6 5 +1
Sweden 1 1 1 4 4 3 +1
Finland 0 3 0 0 1 9 -8
Teams W L T Pts GF GA GD
USA 2 0 1 7 8 1 +7
Iceland 2 0 1 7 10 4 +6
Norway 1 2 0 3 6 7 -1
Denmark 0 3 0 0 1 13 -12
Sunday, July 16
USA 3, Denmark 0
Iceland 3, Norway 2
Germany 2, Sweden 0
England 3, Finland 1
Tuesday, July 18
USA 1, Iceland 1
Norway 4, Denmark 0
England 1, Sweden 1
Germany 3, Finland 0
Thursday, July 20
Iceland 6, Denmark 1
USA 4, Norway 0
Sweden 3, Finland 0
Germany 3, England 2
Saturday, July 22
Denmark vs. Finland - 7th Place Match
Norway vs. Sweden - 5th Place Match
Iceland vs. England - 3rd Place Match
USA vs. Germany - Championship Game