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U.S. Under-17 WNT Wins First Match of Argentina Tour

The U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team picked up a resounding victory in the first match of its ten-day tour of Argentina, defeating the Argentina U-20 Women’s National Team, 4-1, on Dec. 13.

The U.S. team started slowly as Argentina, which participated in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championships in Russia, controlled much of the possession. The USA had the first serious scoring opportunity though, as forward Danielle Foxhoven won the ball in the midfield and put forward Melissa Henderson into space with a clever through ball that was bravely saved by the Argentine goalkeeper Elizabeth Minny.

The USA broke through in the 18th minute as midfielder Merritt Mathias sprinted down the left flank and crossed to Henderson in the middle, who evaded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into an empty net. Barely two minutes later, Foxhoven and midfielder Elli Reed combined on the flank to get Reed end line. After beating one defender, Reed slotted a ball across the six yard box for Foxhoven to tap home. Henderson had a great opportunity in the 29th minute to add another, but Minny was there to make another breakaway save.

In the 33rd minute, forward Casey Short replaced an injured Henderson and made an immediate impact, scoring after just two minutes on the pitch. Out-pacing a defender, Short ran onto a Julie Lancos long ball and side-footed the ball past the Minny for a 3-0 halftime lead. The game was a physical affair and the U.S. defender Ashley Rape received a yellow card in the 46th minute, but the confrontational style of the Argentineans seemed to spur the young Americans, who put together some clever combination passes that led to the fourth goal.

Christine Nairn won the ball deep in the U.S. midfield and struck a pass to Short on the front line. Short flicked a one-touch pass into the path of attacking midfielder Amanda DaCosta who beat two defenders before firing home. With the game starting to open up a bit, the Argentines were able to capitalize on some sloppy marking and in the 55th minute and scored their only goal of the match on a 25-yard shot that ended in the upper corner passed the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Wendy Balogun.

Three minutes from the end of the game, the U.S. had one more great scoring opportunity as Reed found Foxhoven with a wonderful back post cross. Foxhoven did well to head on target only to see her chance at a second goal denied by a defender on the line. The 4-1 win over the older Argentina U-20s stands as an even more impressive feat when compared with the U.S. U-20s, who defeated Argentina by that same score at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship.

The next match for the U-17 WNT next match is on Dec. 15 against the full Women’s National Team of Argentina, fresh off an historic 2-0 victory over Brazil in the South American Women’s Championships, a tournament that also qualified Argentina for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.