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U.S. U-21 Women Defeat Norway, 1-0, to Open 2007 Nordic Cup

NARPIO, Finland (July 18, 2007) – The U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team opened the 2007 Nordic Cup with a vital 1-0 victory over Norway as midfielder Kiki Bosio came off the bench to score the USA’s lone goal in the 77th minute.

With the Nordic Cup featuring two groups of just three teams each this year (as opposed to the eight-team tournament in the past), the U.S. victory was crucial towards its quest to win the group and make the Nordic Cup Final.

The USA now gets a few days rest, and a chance to see its next opponent Sweden take on Norway on July 20, before facing the Swedes themselves on July 22 in its second and final Group B match. A victory over Sweden will send the USA to the championship game being held on July 24 at Hietalahti Stadium in Vaasa. In the Group A match, host Finland rolled by England, 4-1.

U.S. head coach Bill Irwin has brought an experienced team to Finland featuring 11 players who have participated in a FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Championship, but the U.S. team struggled to find its rhythm at the beginning of the match, and did not capitalize on numerous chances.

“We created chances, we just didn’t finish them off,” said Irwin. “When it’s nil-nil that late in the game, it can go anyone. We battled and we played some good soccer in periods, but everyone was a little nervous as it was the first game. Some of the players didn’t perform as well as they could have, but I told the team, sometimes you play absolutely brilliantly and you lose. We didn’t and we won. We did enough to win the game.”

Bosio entered the game in the 55th minute for Angie Woznuk and got her goal 22 minutes later, coming off a Norwegian goal kick that was won, and sent back into the Norway half, by the head of U.S. defender Rachel Buehler. The ball hit off the head of a Norwegian back and bounced behind the defense. With the Norwegian goalkeeper Erika Skarbo caught out of her net, Bosio let it bounce twice before hitting a low liner that sailed into the right side of the goal from 30 yards out.

“When I came in, I just wanted to try to make a difference,” said Bosio, whose goal was her first internationally for the U-21s. “I wanted to try to win tackles, light a fire and get a goal.”

Norway’s best chances came off a counter attack at the end of the half that the USA was able to recover to and clear away, and a free kick that skipped through the defense before being corralled by U.S. goalkeeper Cori Alexander. The U.S. ‘keeper did make one big save, that coming when she had to punch away a deflection off the head of her own defender Nikki Krzysik about mid-way through the first half.

The USA had a flurry of chances at the end of the first half, but couldn’t find the net and went into break knotted at zero.

“We were the better team, the better footballing team,” said Irwin. “They really just looked to counter and try to get shots off knock downs on free kicks and corner kicks. We’re off to a good start. We have three points and no goals against, we can see Sweden and we get a few days rest.”

Irwin hailed the performance of midfielder Tina DiMartino, who played well at both ends of the field.

“She was attacking and back defending,” said Irwin of the diminutive DiMartino. “She ran herself into the ground. She definitely played up to her potential.”

Held in Northern Europe every summer, the USA has competed in the tournament for well more than a decade, as it has become the focus of the USA’s oldest youth national team during its six-month run-up to the prestigious competition. In response to FIFA moving its oldest world championship for women from Under-19 to Under-20, this year the Nordic Cup moves from an Under-21 competition to an Under-23 tournament (it was staged as a U-20 event from 1990-1997).

The USA has won eight Nordic Cup titles, including seven in a row before falling last year in the championship game to Germany. The USA won the last Nordic Cup contested in Finland in 2002, defeating Germany, 3-1 in the final.

After winning its first Nordic Cup in 1997 (over Norway in Denmark), the USA has won an amazing eight out of the last 10 Nordic Cups, and seven in a row from 1999-2005. Age eligible players for the 2007 Nordic Cup are those born on or after January 1, 1984.


Match-up: USA vs. Norway
Competition: 2007 Under-23 Nordic Cup
Venue: Mosedal Stadium – Narpio, Finland
Date: July 18, 2007; Kickoff – 6:30 p.m. local / 11:30 a.m. ET
Attendance: 300
Weather: Rainy, wet, windy – 58 degrees

Scoring Summary:  1   2   F
USA                             0   1  1
NOR                            0   0  0

USA – Kiki Bosio (Unassisted) 77th minute.

USA: 1-Cori Alexander; 10-Rachel Buehler – Capt., 4-Nikki Krzysik, 16-Stephanie Logterman, 13-Manya Makoski; 3-Tina DiMartino (23-Becky Sauerbrunn, 89), 11-Ali Krieger, 6-Angie Woznuk (7-Kiki Bosio, 55); 9-Danesha Adams (19-Michele Weissenhofer, 81), 5-Kelsey Carpenter (8-Ella Masar, 55), 15-Amanda Cinalli (14-Sarah Huffman, 71).

Subs not used: Kelsey Davis, Kendall Fletcher.
Head coach: Bill Irwin

NOR – 1-Erika Skarbø; 2-Camilla Åseng; 4-Runa Vikestad; 5-Nora Berger, 6-Anneli Giske (7-Nasra Abdulla, 32); 8-Lisa-Marie Woods (3-Kine Bjerk, 62), 9-Guro Knutsen (16-Reidun Nilsen, 78), 14-Siri Nordeide Grønli, 17-Gry Tofte Ims; 13-Gunilla Forseth (15-Stine Sannæss, 62), 11-June Pedersen (18-Ingrid Schjelderup, 78).

Subs not used: 10-Bettina L Jevne; 12-Lill-Yvonne Karsrud.
Head coach: Jarl Torske

Statistical Summary: USA/NOR
Shots:                               14 / 7
Shots on goal:                   7 / 6
Saves:                                 6 / 6
Corner Kicks:                     6 / 4
Fouls:                                  7 / 10
Offside:                                3 / 0

Misconduct Summary: None.

Referee: Anja Kunick (GER)
Referee Asst.: Petra Pohjonen (FIN)
Referee Asst.: Jenny Kaarnasaari (FIN)

Sierra Mist Player of the Game: Tina DiMartino

2007 Nordic Cup Group Standings
Group A

Teams     W   L   T  Pts  GF  GA   GD
Finland    1    0    0   3     4      1     +3
Germany 0    0    0   0     0      0       0
England  0    1    0   0      1     4      -3

Group B
Teams    W    L    T   Pts  GF   GA  GD
USA          1    0    0     3     1      0     +1
Sweden   0    0    0     0     0      0       0
Norway    0    1    0      0     0      1     -1

2007 Nordic Cup Schedule- Finland - July 18-24, 2007

Group A: Finland, England and Germany
Group B: USA, Norway and Sweden

Wednesday, July 18
Group A: Finland 4, England 1
Group B: USA 1, Norway 0

Friday, July 20
Group A: England vs. Germany at Seinäjoki
Group B: Norway vs. Sweden at Vöyri

Sunday, July 22
Group A: Germany vs. Finland at Lapua
Group B: Sweden vs. USA at Kaarle Stadium, Vaasa

Tuesday, July 24
Fifth Place Match at Sepänkylä
Third Place Match at Kaarle Stadium, Vaasa
Championship Match at Hietalahti Stadium, Vaasa