CARSON, Calif. (Aug. 11, 2013) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team fell to Japan 3-0 in the second match in four days between the two countries at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center. Japan got two goals from team captain Ayaka Michigami sandwiched around a score by Miku Kojima.
Both teams are in preparations for qualifying for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup to be held in Canada. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1994, are age-eligible for that tournament.
The roster Japan brought to the USA featured five players who were members of the team that finished third at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup which they hosted, with one of those being Michigami. The USA has just one hold-over from its team that won that World Cup in team captain Cari Roccaro.
“Defensively, our ability to handle a high level of speed of play and movement off the ball needs to improve,” said U.S. head coach Michelle French. “Before these two games, we hadn’t faced that sort of pressure and that sort of technical ability so playing Japan was a whole new experience for this group. It was pretty evident that we need to deal with that better.”
U.S. goalkeeper Kaela Little had a fine match despite giving up all three goals, making eight saves before she was ejected in the 80th minute for taking down a Japanese attacker who had rounded her and was about to shoot into an open goal.
Katelyn Rolwand came off the bench cold and saved the penalty kick from second half substitute Marin Hamamoto, diving to her right to actually catch the shot.
Japan out-shot the USA 15-7 with most of the U.S. danger coming through attacking forays from forward Amber Green in the second half.
Japan started the match strong, firing five shots – all on goal – inside the first 13 minutes, but Little made a great kick save in the 10th minute on a shot that came from near the left end line, and then smothered the ball. She also pulled off an acrobatic leaping save to push a shot over the crossbar in the 12th.
Japan opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Michigami got behind the U.S. defense on a breakaway and slotted her shot low into the left corner.
The game stayed 1-0 until the 63rd minute when Little made a great reaction save to knock down a shot with her right hand, but U.S. defense couldn’t clear and Kojima poked the ball into the net from close range.
The final goal came in the 70th minute on a nice combination down right wing. Ayaka Inoue crossed and Michigami made a near post run before spinning her first-time shot perfectly into the lower left corner at the far post.
“We would rather be exposed four months from qualifying and a year from the Women’s World Cup,” said French. “We are able to identify those areas in which we are struggling a bit. If we don’t play those two games then players wouldn’t be able to see these things so these games were extremely valuable for us moving forward. There is a whole set of tactical things we need to address that were revealed in these games and once the players come back together after their college season, we’ll begin our final preparations for qualifying.”
-U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Match Report-
U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Date: Aug. 11, 2013
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center; Carson, Calif.
Weather: 78 degrees, sunny, breezy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
JPN 1 2 3
JPN – Ayaka Michigami 15th minute
JPN -- 20-Miku Kojima 63
JPN -- Ayaka Michigami (Ayaka Inoue) 70
24-Kaela Little; 10-Karlie Mueller (17-Dani Weatherholt, 23), 4-Mandy Freeman (6-Katie Naughton, 12), 15-Cari Roccaro (Capt.), 8-Laura Liedle; 12-Rose
Lavelle, 16-Toni Payne (5-Morgan Andrews, 46), 21-Andi Sullivan; 7-Summer Green (11-Kayla Mills, 79), 13-Amber Munerlyn (3-Janine Beckie, 59, 1-Katelyn
Rowland, 81), 20-Margaret Purce (19-Ryan Walker, 70)
Substitutions Not Used: 2-Makenzy Doniak, 9-Lauren Kaskie, 14-Gabbi Miranda, 18-Cassie Miller, 22-Ifeoma Onumonu, 23-Crystal Thomas
Head coach: Michelle French
21-Ayaka Yamashita (12-Mei Hayashizaki, 46); 5-Mayo Doko, 6-Risa Shimizu, 3-Shiori Miyake (19-Miyuka Hatanaka, 61), 14-Yu Nakasato, 15-Yui Narumiya
(13-Ayaka Inoue, 41), 7-Akari Kurishima, 16-Nao Kawahara (22-Marin Hamamoto, 46), 17-Akari Shiraki, 10-Ayaka Michigami (Capt.)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Nene Inoue, 2-Saki Ueno, 4-Ruka Norimatsu, 8-Hikaru Naomoto, 9-Mina Tanaka, 11-Yuka Momiki, 18-Rin Sumida, 23-Yui Hasegawa
Head Coach: Hiroshi Yoshida
Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 7 / 15
Shots on Goal: 3 / 11
Saves: 8 / 3
Corner Kicks: 1 / 4
Fouls: 5 / 2
Offside: 1 / 2
USA – Kaela Little (ejection) 80th minute
Referee: Adam Brugman
Asst. Referee 1: Felisha Mariscal
Asst. Referee 2: Veronica Hefner
4th Official: Melissa Gonzalez