VICTORIA, B.C. (Sunday, August 18, 2002) - After a resounding 5-1 victory over England in their first match of the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship, the U.S. team will face Australia tomorrow in its second match of Group C. With Australia also winning its first game, 5-1 over Chinese Taipei, this match is critical for several reasons. First, the winner is almost guaranteed a spot in the second round, and second, the match could decide the Group C winner, who will earn the luxury of playing its quarterfinal match in Victoria on August 25. The two countries have never met at the U-19 level. The U.S. will play the second match of the day tomorrow at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C. with Chinese Taipei vs. England kicking off at 5 p.m. PT while the USA takes on Australia at 7:15 p.m. PT. Fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
YOUNG MATILDAS START STRONG: Australia look very strong in its first match, disposing of Chinese Taipei with a batch of spectacular goals. The young Matildas admit that they did not have the best preparation for this tournament due to their distance from much of the women's soccer world, but waltzed through their qualifying matches, beating Tonga 11-0, Cook Islands 15-0, Samoa 13-0 and then New Zealand, 6-0, to earn their berth. Against Chinese Taipei, the Aussies got two goals from Hayley Crawford - including one world-class header - one goal from Amber Neilson on a penalty kick, another header from Catherine Cannuli and a final score from Lana Harch.
U.S. RUNS THROUGH LIGHT TRAINING SESSION: The American team ran through a very light training session today at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Center with the players who got 90 minutes against England jogging, stretching and doing some light ball work. The remainder of the roster played a small scrimmage and did some finishing, which gave goalkeepers Ashlyn Harris and Megan Rivera a solid workout. The highlight of the training session for many of the U.S. players was the attendance of Brody, a small, brown Labrador puppy belonging to a tournament volunteer. Brody basked in the attention of the American players, several of whom wanted to adopt him. In the afternoon, the U.S. players and staff held a reception on the 12th floor of the team hotel for all the friends and family who are in Victoria. The panoramic view of the Inner Harbour was a fantastic backdrop to thank the families for all their support in helping their daughters grow into the people and players who are competing for this world championship.
HOST CANADA OFF TO DRAMATIC START: The Canadian Under-19 Women's National Team got off to a dramatic start today in Edmonton in front of a large crowd at Commonwealth Stadium, coming from a goal down to defeat a tough Denmark team, 3-2. Canada went ahead 1-0 in the 15th minute on a great header by University of Portland star Christine Sinclair and took the lead into halftime. The Danes were pressing at the end of the half and scored two lightning quick goals just two minutes apart at the beginning of the the second half to take a 2-1 lead. Pressed on by the home crowd, Canada battled back and 5-foot-10 forward Michelle Rowe equalized with a header off a free kick in the 68th minute. The Canadians got the winner from 15-year-old Kara Lang, who caught Danish goalkeeper Sarah Andersen off her line and scored on a 35-yard rocket into the upper left corner with 10 minutes left.
FINN WILL HANDLE USA vs. AUSTRALIA: Anri Hanninen of Finland will officiate the USA-Australia match tomorrow at Centennial Stadium. Her assistant referees will be Vibeke Larsen of Norway and Lynda Bramble of Trinidad & Tobago. The fourth official will be Mayumi Oiwa of Japan, who did a fine job in the middle during the USA's opening match against England.
STAT OF NOTE: U.S. forwards Heather O'Reilly and Lindsay Tarpley each got a goal against England while Kelly Wilson scored twice. It was the seventh time that the U.S. U-19s have played a match in which all three players have scored at least once.
THEY SAID IT:
U.S. midfielder Manya Makoski on tomorrow's match against Australia: "We're a lot more confident now that we have a win under our belts, but we know that Australia is in the same position as we are after also getting a big win on the first day. We know we need another win to move on and that's our focus. We need to concentrate on being more consistent against Australia and try to finish our chances early."
U.S. head coach Tracey Leone on tomorrow's match against Australia: "Australia is coming off a tremendous result against Chinese Taipei. They are an excellent team. I was impressed with a lot of things about them but especially their commitment to winning. They have a lot of great spirit.
"Our players are extremely excited to play against such a quality team. It is always a great experience to play a team you've never played before and the U.S. loves to embrace challenges. We respect Australia and our only focus is on our game tomorrow."