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Krieger and Engen Tally First International Goals as U.S. WNT Defeats China PR 5-0 at Algarve Cup in Portugal

  • Christen Press Becomes Fifth WNT Player to Score at Least Four Goals in First Four Matches; Sydney Leroux Adds First-Half Score
  • Kristie Mewis Makes First Career Start as Tom Sermanni Makes 10 Starting Lineup Changes from Algarve Cup Opener
  • Alex Morgan Notches Three Assists
  • USA Faces Sweden on March 11 in Lagos, Portugal, for Group B Title Live on PPV

ALBUFEIRA, Portugal (March 8, 2013) – Playing with an almost entirely different lineup from the first game of the 2013 Algarve Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated China PR 5-0 on a soggy field that was inundated from a first-half rainstorm.

Christen Press scored her fourth goal in as many games in 2013, the most on the team this year, as she continues to impress during her debut campaign for the national team. Defenders Ali Krieger and Whitney Engen each scored their first international goals and forward Sydney Leroux garnered the game’s first goal en route to the USA’s highest scoring output of the year.

Press becomes the fifth WNT player to score at least four goals in her first four games. Brandi Chastain holds the record with six goals in her first four games. Leroux scored five goals in her first four matches, highlighted by her record-tying five-goal performance during a 13-0 victory against Guatemala on Jan. 22, 2012, in Olympic qualifying. Press matched the feat of Danielle Fotopoulos and Abby Wambach, who scored four times in their first four matches.

With the win, the USA sets up a clash for the Group B title and a place in the championship game when it faces Sweden on March 11 at Municipal Stadium in Lagos. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. local (11 a.m. ET) and fans can watch the match on TV or online via Pay-Per-View.

U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni made 10 changes to the starting lineup from the 3-0 opening game victory against Iceland, with forward Alex Morgan as the only player in the starting lineup for two games in a row. Central defender Becky Sauerbrunn took the armband and captained the USA for the first time. Sauerbrunn was the co-captain of the U.S. team that finished third at the 2004 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Shortly after U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart stopped a one-on-one scoring chance by China’s Zhang Rui with a body save, the USA countered quickly with Leroux gaining possession in the midfield. Leroux outran Pu Wei down the left side, cut towards goal almost to the six-yard box, and slotted her right-footed shot calmly underneath the glove of China goalkeeper Zhang Yue. The 14th minute goal was her second goal of the year and 16th of her young international career.

Krieger got on the score sheet in the 32nd minute when Morgan crossed the ball in from the left corner. Yue and the China defense got sucked into the middle of the penalty area and snuck in at the far right where she finished with a confident half volley back across the goal. Krieger’s goal – her first in a U.S. National Team uniform -- was the first from a U.S. outside back since Lori Chalupny’s go-ahead score in the first half of the USA’s 4-2 victory against China in the semifinals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The U.S. increased its lead to 3-0 just seconds into the second half when Rapinoe’s free kick from just outside the penalty area on the right side was deflected by China defender Wu Haiyan. Yue tried desperately to clear, but the ball had already crossed the goal line and Yue’s attempt to bat the ball away instead sent the ball into the top inside netting. Several minutes later, China head coach Hao Wei switched goalkeepers with Wang Fei entering the match in the 52nd minute.

In the 64th minute, Morgan did some fine work to possess the ball in a crowd inside the penalty area and then laid the ball off to Press near the edge of the box. She took a skillful touch to her right to elude China captain Pu Wei’s slide tackle and fired a rocket into the upper left corner for the 4-0 lead.

Engen, who started in the center of the defense with Becky Sauerburnn, was playing in just her fourth career match WNT, but became the third defender to score this tournament. Her first career goal came in the 84th minute when she followed up Heather O’Reilly’s initial shot that was only partially cleared by China’s Wu Haiyan. Engen was in the right play to slot her shot into the right corner from the left side of the box in for a 5-0 lead.

The U.S. dominated from start to finish and had ample opportunities to add to the lead. Morgan had a string of three shots on goal from the right side of the penalty area in the 37th minute, but Yue made fine point blank stops on each chance. Midfielder Yael Averbuch’s curling left-footed strike in the 78th minute ricocheted off of the left post and she hit a screaming free kick just over the goal in the first half.

The Algarve Cup is being distributed in the United States by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, Avail-TVN, DIRECTV and DISH for a suggested retail price of only $14.95 per match. Additional same day replays will be available. Check with your Pay-Per-View provider for replay times. Fans can visit for updates on TV coverage.

Fans can also watch the matches online via Pay-Per-View. For web streaming information go to Fans can also follow the match via’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.

Additional Notes:

  • The USA improved its unbeaten streak to 27 games, with the last loss coming against Japan on March 5 at the 2012 Algarve Cup in Portugal. During that span, he U.S. has scored 88 goals while allowing 20 in 24 wins and three draws.
  • Sydney Leroux made her second career start, playing up top with Morgan, while French-based flank midfielders Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe started on the right and left, respectively. Yael Averbuch and Christen Press started in the center midfield with Whitney Engen paired with Sauerbrunn in the central defense.
  • Ali Krieger returned to the lineup at right back while 22-year-old Kristie Mewis, usually a flank midfielder, played at left back in her first career start.
  • Forward Lindsey Horan made her WNT debut as the 18-year-old, earning her first cap at the senior level when she replaced Press in the 74th minute.
  • Rapinoe’s goal was her 21st in 70 career caps.
  • U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd sat out the match with a minor shoulder injury.
  • Goalkeeper Jill Loyden suffered a broken bone in her left hand during training on Thursday and will be out of action for up to three months.
  • Midfielder Lauren Cheney also left Portugal due to a family matter.
  • China was dealt an early blow when Ren Guixin injured her leg after fouling U.S. midfielder Tobin Heath. China head coach Hao Wei was forced to burn an early sub with Wang Shuang entering the match in the third minute.

-U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. China PR
Date: March 8, 2013
Competition: 2013 Algarve Cup
Venue: Municipal Stadium
Kickoff: 2 p.m. local / 9 a.m. ET
Attendance: 500
Weather: 63 degrees, rainy, cloudy

Scoring Summary:   1 2 F
USA                             2 3 5
CHN                             0 0 0

USA – Sydney Leroux (Alex Morgan)             14th minute
USA – Ali Krieger (Alex Morgan)                   32
USA – Megan Rapinoe                                  46
USA – Christen Press (Alex Morgan)              64
USA – Whitney Engen (unassisted)                84

USA : 18-Nicole Barnhart; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 14-Whitney Engen, 8-Kristie Mewis; 17-Tobin Heath, 16-Yael Averbuch, 23-Christen Press (22-Lindsey Horan, 74), 15-Megan Rapinoe; 2-Sydney Leroux, 13-Alex Morgan (9-Heather O’Reilly, 67)
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Crystal Dunn, 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 19-Rachel Buehler; 20-Abby Wambach, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Tom Sermanni

CHN: 1-Zhang Yue (12-Wang Fei, 52); 4-Li Jiayue, 5-Wu Haiyan, 6-Zeng Ying, 11-Pu Wei (capt.), 16-Wang Chen, 19-Zhou Feifei, 21-Wang Lisi, 23-Ren Guixin (20-Wang Shuang 3rd,10-Ma Xiaoxu, 63), 25-Zhang Rui, 27-Li Ying
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Qin Qingfei, 14-Lu Yueyun, 15-Lei Jiahui, 18-Hang Peng
Head coach: Hao Wei

Stats Summary: USA / CHN
Shots: 24 / 3
Shots on Goal: 14 / 3
Saves: 3 / 9
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 8 / 12
Offside: 2 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
CHN – Wang Lisi (caution)                              39th minute
CHN – Wang Shuang (caution)                       54
CHN – Li Ying (caution)                                  57

Referee: Jana Adamkova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Lucia Ratajova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Adriana Secova (CZE)
Fourth Official: Esther Azzopardi (MLT)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Ali Krieger