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Kai Scores Late Header to Give U.S. Women 1-0 Win Over Brazil; Top Scorer Abby Wambach Breaks Leg and is Out of the Olympics

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (July 16, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Brazil, 1-0, on a 85th minute goal from forward Natasha Kai in front of a sell-out standing-room-only crowd of 7,502.

The win also featured a loss for the U.S. team, as top scorer Abby Wambach broke her leg in a 31st minute collision with Brazilian defender Andreia Rosa. The two players went hard into a tackle and the Brazilian caught Wambach with a full swing flush in the middle of her lower leg.

Wambach went down in a heap and immediately called for medical attention. The match was stopped for about five minutes as an air cast was put around her leg and she was loaded onto a stretcher. Wambach was taken to the hospital where X-rays confirmed a mid-oblique fracture of her tibia and fibula, the bones that make up the lower leg. The USA’s leading scorer this year with 13 goals and 10 assists will undergo surgery tomorrow to have a rod inserted in her leg and will be out approximately 12 weeks.

Despite losing one of its leaders, the U.S. team continued to press Brazil and the back line held the South Americans to just one shot on goal during the entire game. The U.S. had just three shots on goal, but the final one was the game-winner.

Kai entered the match the 56th minute and would bag the winning goal just five minutes from the end of the game. The goal came from a free-kick just outside the penalty area on the right side, just a few yards from the end line.

Lloyd chipped a cross into the middle and Kai got inside position on her defender before pounding a header down into the net from just inside the six-yard box. It was Kai’s 12th goal of the year and 20th of her international career.

“So many things happened in this game, and I’ve very happy with the way we ended the game with that great goal, a beautiful goal,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “(Scoring a winning goal late in the game) has happened to this team so many times. There is something about this team that is ‘winning.’ It’s late in the game and they create chances and all of a sudden you get the big goals.”

The match marked the USA’s second straight 1-0 victory over Brazil after winning 1-0 on July 13 in Commerce City, Colo. on a goal from Amy Rodriguez, who got the start tonight in San Diego and played the entire 90 minutes while causing problems for the Brazilian all night defense with her speed and quickness.

Wambach had two early chances to get what would have been her 100th career goal. In just the fourth minute, she got behind the Brazilian defense in the left side of the penalty area, but her sliding shot bounced just past the right post. She also rounded Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara a few minutes later in the left side of the box, but her angle was too sharp to take a shot. She cut back inside and Barbara dove at her feet, sending Wambach sprawling.

The U.S. out-shot Brazil 12-5 for the game with Lloyd getting several nice cracks at goal from distance during the match, but the Brazilian goalkeepers made solid catches on each. Lori Chalupny had a good look at goal in the first half after she ran onto a deflected ball in box, but her left-footed shot went just wide from 16 yards.

Brazil’s best chance came in the 58th minute as Maicon hit a nice drive from the top of the penalty box after the USA had cleared a corner kick, but it flew a few yards wide of the upper left corner.

The match marked the 100th career appearance for Lindsay Tarpley, who earned her first cap at Torero Stadium in 2003 against Japan. She captained the team for the first 56 minutes before being replaced by Kai. Tarpley became the 21st female player in U.S. history to play 100 or more times for her country.

The win sends the U.S. to the Beijing Olympics with a 21-0-1 record in 2008. The U.S. team will have a few days off before departing for China on July 23. A replacement for Wambach will be named in the next few days.

The U.S. opens its 2008 Olympics on Aug. 6 against Norway in at the Olympic Sports Center in Qinhuangdao (7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET). The U.S. will continue Group G play against Japan on Aug. 9, also in Qinhuangdao (5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET), before finishing the first-round against New Zealand on Aug. 12 at the Olympics Sports Center in Shenyang (7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET).


Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Torero Stadium; San Diego, Calif.
Date: July 16, 2008; Kickoff – 7 p.m. PT
Attendance: 7,502 (Sell Out)
Weather: Cool, clear – 71 degrees

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

USA – Natasha Kai (Carli Lloyd) 85th minute.

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 17-Lori Chalupny, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt, 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts; 7-Shannon Boxx, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (6-Natasha Kai, 56), 11-Carli Lloyd (10-Aly Wagner, 86); 8-Amy Rodriguez, 12-Abby Wambach (16-Angela Hucles, 38).
Subs not used: 4-Rachel Buehler, 13-Tobin Heath, 14-Stephanie Cox, 18-Nicole Barnhart.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

BRA: 1-Barbara (12-Andrea, 46); 2-Jatoba, 4-Tania, 5-Andreia Rosa (20-Raquel, 88), 6-Rosana (13-Dani, 66); 7-Formiga, 9-Maicon, 14-Ester; 11-Pretinha (15-Maurine, 46), 18-Fabiana (17-Francielle, 76).
Subs not used: 3-Pitty, 8-Juliana, 16-Daiane
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos

Statistical Summary:
Shots: 12 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 1
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Fouls: 9 / 18
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Heather Mitts (caution) 9th minute.
BRA – Maicon (caution) 26.
BRA -- Renata Costa (caution) 29.
BRA – Daiane (caution) 49.

Referee: Jen Bennett (USA)
Asst. Referee: Felisha Mariscal (USA)
Asst. Referee: Shirin Nikpournezhati (USA)
4th Official: Bing Kongmebhol (USA)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Natasha Kai