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U.S. Women Defeat Italy, 2-0, at 2008 Algarve Cup; Tarpley and O'Reilly Score For USA in Second Straight Shutout


ALVOR, Portugal (March 7, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team got an early goal from Lindsay Tarpley and a late clincher from Heather O’Reilly to defeat Italy, 2-0, in the second match for both teams at the 2008 Algarve Cup.

The two wins and six points from two group games sets up a clash with Norway on March 10 in Alvor with the U.S. needing a win or a tie to advance to the championship match. Norway defeated China today, 3-1, also giving them six points, but the Americans head into the match with a superior goal difference, which is the first tie-breaker. Fans can follow the game live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker at 11 a.m. ET.

The U.S. women had not played Italy since 2003 and the Europeans proved to be gritty opposition as both teams tackled hard and often throughout the match. U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage made three changes from the team that beat China, 4-0, in the first game of the tournament, starting Hope Solo in goal, Stephanie Cox at outside back and Lauren Cheney up top with Abby Wambach.

The first goal came just six minutes into the match as Wambach received a throw-in from the right sideline with her back to the goal. She held off a defender and then played a pass back to Cheney at the top of the penalty area.

Cheney smacked her first-time shot on goal, but Italian goalkeeper Chiara Marchitelli could only slap the ball down, and once again Tarpley was first to a rebound, knocking the ball into the net from six yards out. It was Tarpley’s second goal of the tournament and team-leading sixth of 2008.

In the 14th minute, it looked for a moment as if Italy had tied the match as Tatiana Zorri hit an in-swinging free kick out from the right side, catching the U.S. in a moment of disorganization. Italian captain Patricia Panico knifed through the center of the defense to head the ball over Solo and just under the crossbar, but the assistant referee had already raised the flag for offside.

The USA had more possession in the match, but a bumpy, short field and combative nature of the game did not lend itself to long periods of rhythmical soccer. Italy created most of its danger from the counter attack, especially through forward Melania Gabbiadini, but she found major difficulties when attempting to bust through the stout U.S. back line led by Sierra Mist Woman of the Match Christie Rampone.

Italy had just one shot in the second half, but it could have easily tied the game if not for a big save from Solo. Gabbiadini managed to spilt Rampone and second half substitute Cat Whitehill to get a strike at the U.S. goal from about 10 yards out, but Solo came off her line to knock down the driven shot before it was cleared.

The USA had several dangerous free kicks in the game, including a drive from Carli Lloyd that flew just over the crossbar from 23 yards out in the first half. In the second half, Whitehill twice came close to scoring off set plays. In the 64th minute she struck a free-kick from 22 yards the skidded under the defensive wall and pulled an unorthodox scrambling kick save from Marchitelli. Later in the match, Whitehill’s long service from midfield had eyes for the upper left corner, but the Italian goalkeeper leaped to pluck it out of the air.

In the 72nd minute the USA came close to scoring a goal very similar to its first. Halftime substitute Tobin Heath toasted a defender down the left flank and cut the ball back to O’Reilly, who laid it back to Cheney, whose shot was well-saved by Marchitelli. Rodriguez had a crack at the rebound, but this time the Italian goalkeeper was able to smother.

Two minutes later, O’Reilly struck for her first goal of the year. Rodriguez and Cheney played a nice one-two at the top of the box, forcing an Italian defender into a wild clearance. The ball squirted to O’Reilly on the right side of the penalty area. She coolly collected the ball, sped past a defender to the outside and then angled a sizzling far-post shot into the lower corner from 14 yards. It was O’Reilly’s 16th international goal.

To Italy’s credit, they kept fighting for a goal, but the USA salted the rest of the match away. For the second straight game, Sundhage made all six of her allowed subs, also giving minutes to Leslie Osborne, Rachel Buehler and Angela Hucles.

In the Group A matches, defending Women’s World Cup champion Germany rebounded from a first game loss to Denmark to roll past Finland, 3-0 and the Danes picked up their second straight 1-0 win, this time over Sweden. In Group C, host Portugal continued its good run, defeating Poland, 3-1. Iceland pounded Ireland, 4-1, setting up a match with Portugal on March 10 for the Group C title.

- U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT -

Match-up: USA vs. Italy
Competition: 2008 Algarve Cup
Venue: Restinga Stadium; Alvor, Portugal
Date: March 7, 2008; Kickoff – 1:45 p.m. local / 8:45 a.m. ET
Attendance: 200
Weather: Sunny, breezy – 78 degrees

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

USA – Lindsay Tarpley (Lauren Cheney) 6th minute.
USA – Heather O’Reilly (unassisted) 74.

Lineups:
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 14-Stephanie Cox, 15-Kate Markgraf (4-Cat Whitehill, 46), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 17-Lori Chalupny (26-Rachel Buehler, 59); 7-Shannon Boxx (16-Angela Hucles, 76), 11-Carli Lloyd (12-Leslie Osborne, 46), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (13-Tobin Heath, 46), 9-Heather O’Reilly; 8-Lauren Cheney, 20-Abby Wambach (19-Amy Rodriguez, 71).
Subs not used: 6-Natasha Kai, 10-Angie Woznuk, 24-Nicole Barnhart.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

ITA: 1-Chiara Marchitelli; 2-Sara Gama, 3-Roberta D’Adda, 6-Giulia Perelli, 13-Giorgia Motta; 4-Alessia Tuttino, 10-Tatiana Zorri, 16-Pamela Conti (17-Carolina Pini, 87), 20-Giulia Domenichetti; 8-Melania Gabbiadini (11-Silvia Fuselli, 83), 9-Patrizia Panico.
Subs not used: 12-Anna Picarelli, 14-Cristina Cassanelli, 15-Laura Neboli, 18-Nene Bissoli Nhaga, 19-Ilaria Mauro.
Head Coach: Pietro Ghedin

Statistical Summary:
USA / ITA
Shots:
17/ 4
Shots on Goal: 7 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 0 / 7

Misconduct Summary:
ITA – Patrizia Panico (caution) 4th minute.

Officials
Referee: Pannipar Kamnueng (THA)
Asst. Referee: Kyoung Min Kim (KOR)
Asst. Referee: Satomi Hamazaki (JPN)
4th Official: Sung Mi Cha (KOR)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Christie Rampone

2008 Algarve Cup Standings
Group A

Team

W

L

T

Pts

GF

GA

GD

DEN

2

0

0

6

2

0

+2

GER

1

1

0

3

3

1

+2

SWE

1

1

0

3

3

2

+1

FIN

0

2

0

0

1

6

-5


March 5
Denmark 1, Germany 0
Sweden 3, Finland 1

March 7
Germany 3, Finland 0
Denmark 1, Sweden 0

March 10
Finland vs. Denmark
Germany vs. Sweden

Group B
Team

W

L

T

Pts

GF

GA

GD

USA

2

0

0

6

6

0

+6

NOR

2

0

0

6

7

3

+4

ITA

0

2

0

0

2

6

-4

CHN

0

2

0

0

1

7

-6


March 5
USA 4, China 0
Norway 4, Italy 2

March 7
USA 2, Italy 0
Norway 3, China 1

March 10
USA vs. Norway
China vs. Italy

Group C
Team

W

L

T

Pts

GF

GA

GD

ISL

2

0

0

6

6

1

+5

POR

2

0

0

6

5

1

+4

POL

0

2

0

0

1

5

-4

IRE

0

2

0

0

1

6

-5


March 5
Iceland 2, Poland 0
Portugal 2, Ireland 0

March 7
Portugal 3, Poland 1
Iceland 4, Ireland 1

March 10
Portugal vs. Iceland
Poland vs. Ireland

Placement Matches
March 12 Venue Kickoff (local)
11th Place Guia 10:00 a.m.
9th Place Montechoro 10:00 a.m.
7th Place Loule 10:30 a.m.
5th Place Olhao 10:30 a.m. 
3rd Place VR de SA 10:00 a.m. 
Championship VR de SA 1:15 p.m.


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