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U.S. U-20 WNT Falls to China, 5-4, in Penalty Kicks


USA WILL FACE BRAZIL FOR THIRD PLACE ON SUNDAY, SEPT. 3

- USA Outshoots China, 23-5, But Couldn’t Find Net in 120 Minutes of Play
- Penalties Go to Six Shooters Before Game is Decided
- Young Americans Had Chance To Win On Fifth Kick, but Didn’t Convert

MOSCOW, Russia (Aug. 31, 2006) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team suffered a crushing defeat in the semifinal of the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship, falling 5-4 in penalty kicks after 120 minutes of scoreless play. The USA will face Brazil, a 1-0 loser to North Korea in the other semifinal, for third place on Sunday, Sept. 3, at Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow. Fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker with kickoff set for 4 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET.

The loss was made even more unpalatable by the fact that the USA dominated the entire match, save for the final 10 minutes of the first half when China mounted its only real offensive pressure of the game. The USA out-shot China 23-5 and held them to just one shot on goal over the entire 120 minutes.

The USA could not produce a goal against a scrappy Chinese defense and the match went to penalty kicks. Zhuang Ran shot first for China and buried her attempt. The USA answered through Carrie Dew, who pounded her shot into the left corner. China’s Zhang Wei made it 2-1 with a shot to the left that U.S. goalkeeper Val Henderson got a hand on, but couldn’t turn away, before Danesha Adams coolly placed her shot into the lower right corner to pull even. China’s Yuang Fan then blasted her chance off the underside of the crossbar at the left corner, giving Henderson no chance. Amanda Poach knotted things up with her shot into the left corner. The battle of wills continued on China’s fourth kick, as Zi Jingling stuffed her shot into the lower right corner. Stephanie Lopez answered by deftly spinning her shot into the lower right corner.

With the scored tied at 4-4 after four kicks each, China’s fifth kicker was the tournament’s top scorer, Ma Xiaoxu. Henderson came up with the save she needed, flying to her left and getting a piece of the shot with her top arm, spectacularly pushing it off the crossbar and away. That set the stage for Brittany Bock, who hit the outside of the right post and the shootout continued.

China’s Zhu Wei took her team’s sixth kick, and hitting a blast right up the middle that caught Henderson leaning. Lauren Cheney, taking the USA’s sixth kick, did not hit her chance well, firing high and straight at Chinese goalkeeper Zhang Yanru, who held her ground and only had to palm the ball over the goal.

Continuing his trend of rotating players during the tournament, U.S. head coach Tim Schulz made five changes from the lineup that beat Germany, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. While the USA had the majority of possession before the break, they did not produce many scoring chances. That changed after Schulz sent on midfielders Kelley O’Hara and Poach at halftime, and Adams in the 66th minute, as the Americans sent wave after wave of attacks at the China net, producing 18 shots in the final 75 minutes and countless more close calls. After Adams came in for Jessica Rostedt, the USA went to a 4-3-3 formation and had the tiring Chinese reeling.

In the last part of the match, China was holding on for penalty kicks, with numerous players going down with cramps and Zhang getting cautioned for time-wasting.

Rain fell hard on Moscow before the match and most of the game was played in a steady drizzle, making the field wet and sloppy. The slick pitch contributed to the USA’s quick speed of play and the Americans kept the Chinese pinned back almost the entire game.

China’s one good chance came in the 38th minute as Ma crushed a shot from the left side of the penalty area, but Henderson did well to snag it at the near post.

After absorbing China’s brief attack at the end of the first half, the USA started to really dominate after the break, but it wasn’t until the final 30 minutes of the second half and overtime when the Americans looked destined to score a goal.

In the 61st minute, Rostedt took advantage of a ball that bounced under a Chinese defender and had raced in on a breakaway, but Zhang closed the space well and kick-saved her shot. Adams had several shots from distance that were dangerous, especially in the 71st minute when she side-stepped two defenders at the top of the box and ripped a bullet which veered wide right of the net. She also had a driven free kick from the top of the penalty area in the 101st hit the inside of Kelley O’Hara’s foot and dribble inches wide of the right post. The wrong-footed Zhang could only watch as the ball skidded out for a goal kick.

Cheney had a chance in the 74th minute, pounding a shot off the chest of Zhang from close range, but Stephanie Logterman’s follow-up shot was too soft and it bounced right to the Chinese ‘keeper. Cheney had another chance four minutes later, but she cut her shot wide left from 15 yards out after spinning around her defender.

China did earn a corner kick in the 88th minute and had a chance to win in regulation, but Lou Xiaoxu sent her header wide left of the goal.

The USA peppered the Chinese goal with crosses and shots in overtime, including a header by Kelley O’Hara in the 99th minute that skimmed off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared. In the 103rd minute, Cheney powered her way into the right side of the penalty box and crossed the ball back on the ground to O'Hara, but her back-heel attempt as she over-ran the ball went wide left of the net.

By that time, the exhausted Chinese were barely holding on and clearly playing for penalty kicks, and despite the best efforts of Adams, who had three shots in the final overtime period, that’s exactly what they got.

In the other semifinal, North Korea out shot Brazil, 13-11, and had eight shots on goal to four, but couldn’t find the net until the 87th minute through Ri Un Hyang, who knocked a ball in from close range after a scramble off a corner kick from the right side.

The North Korea-China match will be the first all-Asian final in FIFA women’s world championship history. China lost to Germany, 2-0, in the championship game at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. The USA and Brazil also met for third place in Thailand, with the USA coming away with a 3-0 victory. The U.S. Women’s National Team program has never finished worse than third at any FIFA world championship, spanning four Women’s World Cups, three Olympic Games and two youth women’s world championships so far.

U.S. UNDER-20 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT

Match-up: USA vs. China
Competition: 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Championship – Semifinal
Venue: Lokomotiv Stadium – Moscow, Russia
Date: August 31, 2006; Kickoff – 7 p.m. local time / 11 a.m. ET
Attendance: 1,000
Weather: Chilly, light rain – 57 degrees

Scoring Summary:
              1    2    OT1    OT2    F    PK
USA      0     0      0         0       0    4
CHN      0     0     0          0      0     5

Penalty Summary:
CHN: Ran (Goal), Zhang Wei (Goal), Fan (Goal), Jingling (Goal), Xiaoxu (Saved), Zhu Wei (Goal)
USA: Dew (Goal), Adams (Goal), Poach (Goal), Lopez (Goal), Bock (Missed), Cheney (Saved)

Lineups:
USA -- 1-Val Henderson; 6-Stephanie Lopez – C, 15-Carrie Dew, 4-Nikki Krzysik, 3-Stephanie Logterman; 13-Tina DiMartino, 5-Sarah Wagenfuhr (7-Amanda Poach, 46), 10-Brittany Bock, 2-Jordan Angeli (19-Kelley O’Hara, 46); 8-Lauren Cheney, 17-Jessica Rostedt (9-Danesha Adams, 66).
Subs not used: 11-Tobin Heath, 12-Amy Rodriguez, 14-Allie Long, 16-Erin Hardy, 18-Kelsey Davis, 20-Casey Nogueira, 21-Joanna Haig.
Head Coach: Tim Schulz

CHN -- 1-Zhang Yanru; 2-Zhou Gaoping, 3-Yuan Fan, 4-Zhang Wei, 5-Weng Xinzhi; 15-Yue Min, 9-Rao Hui Fang (19-Zi Jingjing, 61), 13-Zhuang Ran, 16-Zhang Wei Shuang (12-Zhu Wei, 120); 11-Lou Xiaoxu, 10-Ma Xiaoxu - C.
Subs not used: 6-Hou Lijia, 7-Xi Dingying, 8-You Jia, 14-Wang Dongni, 17-Ma Zixiang, 18-Weng Xiaojie, 20-Liu Xiaoyan, 21-Xu Meishuang
Head Coach: Shang Ruihua

Statistical Summary:
USA / CHN
Shots:
23 / 5
Shots on Goal: 8 / 1
Saves: 1 / 7
Corner Kicks: 9 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 16
Offside: 3 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
CHN – Rao Hui Fang (caution) 8th minute.
CHN – Zi Jingling (caution) 91+.
CHN – Zhang Yanru (caution) 111.

Officials:
Referee: Tammy Ogston (AUS)
Asst. Referee: Sarah Ho (AUS)
Asst. Referee: Airlie Keen (AUS)
4th Official: Shane De Silva (TRI)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Danesha Adams

2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship - Semifinals
Date        Teams                                         Stadium (Venue)
Aug. 31    North Korea 1, Brazil 0             Lokomotiv (Moscow)
Aug. 31    USA 0, China 0 (4-5 in Pks)    Lokomotiv (Moscow)

Third Place
Sept. 3      USA vs. Brazil                            Lokomotiv (Moscow)
Final
Sept. 3      North Korea vs. China             Lokomotiv (Moscow)

U.S. head coach Tim Schulz
On the match:
“It’s a cruel game. I am very, very proud of my girls. They are fantastic soccer players. They hurting right now, but this is the ups and downs of sports.”

On rotating players during the tournament and making five changes from the quarterfinal:
“During our preparation, we did the same thing, giving players minutes and getting fresh bodies in and out. Even today, I am not even sure who my starting 11 are. Some girls are hot one day and the next day they are not. They are still young. There is no question I wanted to win the tournament, but it is still about development and I am still very proud of 21 players.”

On having so many chances and not getting a goal:
“You’ve seen many games throughout history where you are pressing, you are knocking on the door, you are hitting the post, the ‘keeper is doing everything she can to make the saves, you are taking shots and they are bouncing wide instead of going in the goal. You always want to question yourself and wonder if there was something else you could have done to make yourself successful, but they again, you will go crazy if you do that. I was pleased with the performance, it was some good football.”

On preparing his team for the third-place match against Brazil:
“This is a difficult task. I am going to cry with the girls. I am going to feel sorry with the girls and I am going to go through the same pain and suffering they are going through for a little while. But we can’t wait too long, we need to persevere. It’s not life or death, and we need to press on, this is the human spirit. But to move too quickly is unhealthy too, because this sorrow brings a refining influence on us. It makes us love the game even more because we want to cry and laugh. We will be ready (for the Brazil match).”

U.S. captain Stephanie Lopez
On her team’s performance:
“The amazing thing was that this was our best game of the tournament, even in the rainy conditions, but soccer is a cruel game sometimes. I was so proud of the heart and skill that was shown by my team tonight and I am proud to be a part of this team even though we didn’t win. There are some great players and great people in this group.”

On the team’s mindset:
“I know the rest of the team shares my feeling of grief and astonishment. Throughout the whole game and even up to the penalty kicks, the whole team was confident we would win. It’s the toughest way to lose when you battle for 120 minutes and you know you were the better team on the day, but things just don’t go your way.”

On the match:
“When you’ve worked so hard and poured out your heart on the field, you are just left with a really empty feeling after something like this. It will be hard to move onto the next game, but we have to re-group and play our best match against Brazil. We owe that to each other and our country. The hardest thing is that we know we were the best team at this tournament, but that will not be demonstrated when they hand out the medals. This will take some time to get over.”

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