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U.S. U-23 WNT Opens Year with 1-0 Victory against Japan in La Manga, Spain

CHICAGO (March 1, 2014) - The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team won its first match at the Six Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain, defeating Japan 1-0 on a 56th-minute goal from Kealia Ohai, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NWSL College Draft by the Houston Dash.

In a match that saw a skillful Japan squad dominate possession, the U.S. defense and goalkeeper Abby Smith of the University of Texas held strong to earn the shut-out, while Ohai, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Final against Germany, did so again 11 minutes into the second half.

The goal was set up by former Wake Forest star forward Katie Stengel when she dribbled to the right side of the six-yard box, drawing the Japanese goalkeeper out, before squaring to Ohai who scored into the empty net.

The U.S. roster featured six players from the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, which was coached by current U-23 WNT head coach Steve Swanson. Three more U-23 age-eligible 2012 world champions – midfielders Samantha Mewis and Sarah Killion of UCLA and Morgan Brian of Virginia – are with the full U.S. WNT at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

Swanson’s starting 11 featured seven players who will be playing in the NWSL next season – four 2014 College Draft picks and three one-year veterans – including Meleana Shim of the inaugural-season champion Portland Thorns FC. 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year Erika Tymrak came on at halftime for Stanford’s Chioma Ugobagu.

The USA will continue the competition with matches against the Under-23 teams of Sweden on March 3 and Norway on March 5.

-U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team Match Report-

Match : U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team vs. Japan Under-23 Women’s National Team
: March 1, 2014
: Six Nations Tournament
: La Manga Football Centre; La Manga, Spain; Field A
64 Degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
JPN                         0 0 0
USA                        0 1 1

USA – Kealia Ohai (Katie Stengel) 56th Minute

18-Abby Smith; 14-Arin Gilliland, 13-Abby Dahlkemper, 6-Kassey Kallman, 17-Caprice Dydasco; 10-Chioma Ubogagu (15-Erika Tymrak, 46), 9-Meleana Shim (16-Jenna Richmond, 46), 4-Danielle Colaprico (2-Shea Groom, 71); 7-Kealia Ohai; 5-Maya Hayes (22-Jennifer Hoy, 46), 27-Katie Stengel (8-Emily Sonnett, 80)
Substitutes not used: Aubrey Bledsoe, Amanda Frisbie

Head Coach: Steve Swanson

JPN: 1-Rei Takenaka; 11-Yoko Tanaka (13-Mai Kyokawa, 73), 9-Mina Tanaka (15-Kaede Sato, 86), 10-Chinatsu Kira, 8-Hanae Shibata (16-Miki Irie, 78), 12-Saki Ueno (5-Chisato Takamura, 58), 14-Natsuki Yoshimi (6-Chiaki Shimada, 64), 7-Ami Sugita, 2-Saki Ishii, 3-Ruka Norimatsu, 17-Hisui Haza
Substitutes not used: Mana Mihashi, Nene Inoue
Head Coach: Nakamura Jun

Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 11 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 3 / 9
Offside: 3 / 0

USA – Danielle Colaprico (caution) 35th minute

Referee: Marte Soro (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Birgitta Solberg (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Sonia Khan (NOR)
Fourth Official: T. Christensen (DEN)