SUWON, South Korea (June 17, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Brazil, 1-0, on a 41st minute goal from forward Amy Rodriguez in a scrappy encounter at the 2008 Peace Queen Cup, giving the USA control of Group B and taking a major step toward a berth in the tournament’s championship game.
The USA will face Italy on June 19 (5 p.m. local / 4 a.m. ET) in the final group match for both teams. A win or a tie for the USA will earn top honors in Group B and a berth to the June 21 championship game, likely against Canada, which currently heads Group A.
“I thought the first half was just a battle, so we changed the style and formation (in the second half),” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “We didn’t play well attacking (in the first half), although the defending was good. I am very proud with the way we turned it around. We changed so many players and that is difficult for a team coming into the second half, but I think we played better.”
This was the first meeting between the USA and Brazil since the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal, a 4-0 Brazil victory. It was also the first of three games the USA will play against Brazil before the 2008 Olympics. The two teams will also meet on July 13 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (2 p.m. MT live on ESPN) and then again on July 16 at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego (7 p.m. PT live Fox Soccer Channel).
The first half was virtually devoid of quality attacking chances as both teams struggled to find any rhythm in the midfield or on the forward line. The teams combined for just three shots in the first 45 minutes with each side producing just one shot on goal. Brazil’s chance needed to be cleared off the line and the USA produced the game’s only goal.
The U.S. score would not have come about without a gutsy play from forward Abby Wambach, who ran down a ball in the deep left corner that looked as if it would roll over the sideline, and then the end line, but somehow stayed on the field. Wambach jammed her body between Daniele and the ball and the Brazilian defender hauled her to the ground about four minutes from the end of the half.
Aly Wagner took the free kick from just a few yards in front of the corner flag and drilled a service low to the near post where several players collided, sending a Brazilian player rolling over the end line. The ball was suddenly sitting right in front of Rodriguez, who cracked a point-blank shot from almost no angle high towards the near post. Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara stuck a hand up, but could only palm the ball into the upper left corner of the net. For Rodriguez, it was her fourth international goal. The goal came from the USA’s first shot of the game and its only shot of the first half.
Wambach also played a role in repelling Brazil’s only chance, that coming about 20 minutes into the game after a corner kick from the right side was driven low to the near post. The USA cleared poorly and the ball rolled right to Fabiana, who wailed away from just six yards out. The low shot skidded under diving U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, but Wambach held her foot strong, the ball hitting her heel before rebounding out for another corner kick. The ensuing Brazilian service was also dangerous as Solo couldn’t punch the ball, and it flew through the goal mouth without a Brazilian foot close enough to re-direct it.
Both teams lost key players in the early going as Brazilian captain Aline had to leave the match in just the seventh minute with an ankle injury. U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd suffered a broken nose about 10 minutes into the game while jumping for a head ball and had to be replaced by Angela Hucles. The USA also lost captain Christie Rampone who came off at halftime after she injured an ankle just after the USA’s goal.
Sundhage made three changes at halftime, sending on Heather O’Reilly to replace Wagner (who had started her first match in about eight months), Rachel Buehler to replace Rampone and Stephanie Cox to replace Lori Chalupny. The USA moved to a 4-5-1 for most of the second half, dropping Wambach in behind Rodriguez on the forward line.
The USA put together a better attacking performance in the second half, producing five shots and five corner kicks, but only two real scoring chances. The first came in the 57th minute when Wambach had a go from 40 yards out and sent a sizzling drive just outside the upper left corner of the goal.
Brazil came right back seconds later to produce one of its two good scoring opportunities of the second half, sending a long ball to the top of the penalty area. Solo came out and bashed into a few players as the ball squirted right across the penalty box. Fortunately, Cox was able to run it down and put some pressure on the ball, but Rosana was still able to crack a shot on frame. Cox allowed Solo time to recover back into the goal and the U.S. goalkeeper made a fine save, diving hard to her right to push the ball outside the post.
In the 78th minute, Brazil had a chance from a free kick from about 25 yards and just to the left of the penalty arc, but Solo gobbled up Maycon’s shot with a solid catch at the upper left corner.
Solo had an excellent game for the USA although she had to make just two saves. She caught several high free kicks into the penalty area and came off her line numerous times to cut off long balls.
Brazil’s speedy midfield did a fine job of pressuring the USA all over the field, making it hard for the Americans to find an attacking rhythm, but on the flip-side, the South Americans rarely strung together a series of passes either. The under-strength Brazil squad, which was missing several top players, instead resorted to a steady yet unproductive stream of the services during the last 30 minutes of the game as the USA took over the momentum.
U.S. midfielder Lindsey Tarpley had a golden chance in the 59th minute as she ran onto a curving free kick from the right wing and was wide-open at the penalty spot, but she spun her first-time volley right into the stomach of Barbara.
In the other Group B game, Australia defeated Italy, 3-0, as Heather Garriock scored twice within a minute in the middle of the second half and Amy Chapman added a score two minutes from the end of the game.
-- U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT --
Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: 2008 Peace Queen Cup – Group B
Venue: Suwon Sports Complex, Suwon, South Korea
Date: June 17, 2008; Kickoff – 2:00 p.m. Local / 1 a.m. ET
Weather: Humid, cloudy – 78 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
BRA 0 0 0
USA – Amy Rodriguez (unassisted) 41st minute.
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 17-Lori Chalupny (14-Stephanie Cox, 46), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt. (26-Rachel Buehler, 46), 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts; 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd (16-Angela Hucles, 13), 10-Aly Wagner (9-Heather O’Reilly, 46), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (21-Kacey White, 79); 19-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: 6-Natasha Kai, 8-Lauren Cheney, 13-Tobin Heath, 24-Nicole Barnhart.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
BRA: 1-Barbara; 3-Aline (5-Andrea, 7, 8-Juliana, 64)), 4-Tânia, 6-Rosana (7-Daniele, 61), 9-Maycon, 10-Érika, 16-Daiane (2-Danielle, 77), 14-Ester, 15-Maurine, 17-Francielle, 18-Fabiana (11-Raquel, 68).
Subs not used: 12-Thais, 19-Pâmela, 20-Flaviele.
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos
Statistical Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 6 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 4
Fouls: 10 / 11
Offside: 2 / 3
BRA – Rosana (caution) 60th minute.
USA – Abby Wambach (caution) 61.
Referee: Jenny Palmqvist (SWE)
Asst. Referee: Mi-Suk Park (KOR)
Asst. Referee: Soi-Gi Lee (KOR)
4th Official: Bibiana Steinhause (GER)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Angela Hucles
2008 Peace Queen Cup Group Standings
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
CAN 2 0 0 6 8 1 +7
NZL 1 1 0 3 2 2 0
KOR 1 1 0 3 3 4 -1
ARG 0 2 0 0 0 6 -6
South Korea 2, New Zealand 1
Canada 5, Argentina 0
Canada 3, South Korea 1
New Zealand 1, Argentina 0
New Zealand vs. Canada
Argentina vs. South Korea
Team W L T Pts GF GA GD
USA 2 0 0 6 3 1 +2
AUS 1 1 0 3 4 2 +2
BRA 1 1 0 3 2 2 0
ITA 0 1 0 0 1 5 -4
USA 2, Australia 1
Brazil 2, Italy 1
USA 1, Brazil 0
Australia 3, Italy 0
Brazil vs. Australia
USA vs. Italy
June 21 Venue
Championship Game Suwon World Cup Stadium