HAMILTON, New Zealand (Nov. 9, 2008) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team advanced to the semifinals of the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with a dominating 4-2 victory against the Korea Republic in front of more than 7,000 fans at Waikato Stadium.
The young Americans fashioned their best overall game of the tournament while getting two goals from forward Courtney Verloo, one from forward Vicki DiMartino and a thunderbolt strike midfielder Kristie Mewis.
The USA will now face Germany in the tournament’s second semifinal on Nov. 13 at QE11 Park in Christchurch, New Zealand with a kickoff of 7 p.m. local / 1 a.m. ET.
England upset Japan in the day’s other quarterfinal in Hamilton, prevailing 5-4 in penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie through regulation and overtime. The gutsy result earned the English their first semifinal berth at a FIFA Women’s World Cup as well as a semifinal match-up with North Korea on Nov. 13 at QEII Park at 4 p.m. local.
Led by center back and team captain Cloee Colohan, outside backs Crystal Dunn and Rachel Quon, and defensive midfielder Amber Brooks, the U.S. team was extremely organized on defense over the 90 minutes, keeping the crafty South Koreans out of dangerous spots while out-shooting the Asian side 20-5. The Koreans managed just three shots on goal over the entire game, two of which went in. Five goals were scored in the second half, three by the USA and two by the Koreans after the USA took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The U.S. U-17s opened the scoring in the 27th minute after an attacking flurry inside the Korean penalty area earned a corner kick from the right side. Midfielder Julia Roberts, whose set play services were dangerous all game, hit a ball over the pack of players and to the far post, where defender Amber Brooks jumped high to send it back into the mixer from almost right on the end line. The ball flew over several Koreans and right to Verloo, who out-muscled her defender to power the ball into the roof of the net with her right thigh from just two yards away.
Although the USA created most of the danger in the first 45 minutes, there was little attacking excitement in either penalty area, but that changed right after the break. The Koreans put together several good attacks just seconds into the second half and the U.S. was fortunate not to be whistled for a penalty kick in the 47th minute after Colohan clattered into a Korean player in the penalty box while winning a tackle, but the referee let play go on.
After that brief scare, the USA continued to attack with speed and flair, which produced one of the tournament’s best goals from Kristie Mewis in the 54th minute. Korea was whistled for a foul on the left sideline, but instead of swinging the ball into the penalty box, Roberts played it short to Kristie Mewis. The USA’s attacking midfielder had been threatening with her shooting from distance all tournament long, but this time she cashed in.
Kristie Mewis dribbled centrally for a few steps before crushing a left-footed shot from about 23 yards out and just left of the penalty arc. The ball curved wickedly and flew into the upper right corner, giving Korean goalkeeper Lee Hyo Ju no chance.
Korea pulled a goal back in the 65th minute on its first shot on goal of the game as Song Ari looped a speculative chance on net from the right side of the penalty area. The ball sailed over leaping U.S. goalkeeper Taylor Vancil, who got a glove on it to push it off the crossbar. The ball bounced down a few feet from the goal line at the far post but Lee Hyun Young was quickest to the loose ball, pounding her chance into the roof of the net from two yards away.
The USA, which attacked with the wind at their backs in the second half, then put the game away with two goals in a seven-minute span near the end of the match.
In the 78th minute, the U.S. team won a ball in midfield that Kristie Mewis collected. She then did the hard work, penetrating with a dancing dribble past two players straight up the middle before slipping a short ball to her right and into the penalty for the hustling Verloo. The U.S. forward used all of her 5-foot-9 frame to slide and power her shot off Lee’s hands and into the lower left corner from 14 yards out.
Flank midfielder Erika Tymrak entered the game in the 81st minute and two minutes later she created the fourth goal. Tymrak hadn’t played since getting injured in the 30th minute of the USA’s opening match against Japan, but immediately added a spark, racing down the right side and losing a defender while cutting into the middle. She played a short square pass to DiMartino who collected with her back to the goal. DiMartino whirled to her left towards the net, losing two defenders, and drove her shot of Lee’s hand and into the lower right corner from 12 yards away.
DiMartino now has four goals in four games, the only player in the tournament to score in every match. Verloo’s brace gave her three goals in the tournament and Mewis’ rocket was her second score.
DiMartino’s strike with just seven minutes left effectively booked the USA tickets to Christchurch, but the Koreans did not quit, getting a goal back in the 85th minute. Ji So Yun lifted a short pass over the U.S. back line and Lee Hyun Young beat Vancil to the bouncing ball, nodding it past the U.S. goalkeeper for the final 4-2 margin.
The U.S. U-17s possessed the ball well to salt away the remainder of the match, thus keeping intact the USA’s record of advancing to the semifinals of every FIFA women’s event ever held. That streak includes five FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, four Olympic Games, three FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups and this inaugural U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Sixteen-year-old Samantha Mewis got the start at outside midfield and played the entire 90 minutes while Olivia Klei continued her tremendous work on the left flank before leaving the game for Tymrak with nine minutes left to play.
All yellow cards have now been wiped clean meaning the USA’s Colohan and Quon, the only two players carrying cautions into today’s match, are now free from suspension after neither picked up a card against Korea. In fact, there were just 11 total fouls in the hard-fought but fairly played match.
The U.S. team will fly to Christchurch on the east coast of New Zealand's south island Monday morning to set up camp in preparation for the epic clash with the Germans next Thursday.
U.S. UNDER-17 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT
Match: United States U-17 Women's National Team vs. Korea Republic
Date: November 9, 2008
Competition: 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – Quarterfinal
Venue: Waikato Stadium; Hamilton, New Zealand
Kickoff: 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET Nov. 8)
Weather: 65 degrees, partly cloudy, windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
KOR 0 2 2
USA – Courtney Verloo (Amber Brooks) 27th minute.
USA – Kristie Mewis (Julia Roberts) 54.
KOR – Lee Hyun Young (Song Ari) 65.
USA – Courtney Verloo (Kristie Mewis) 78.
USA – Vicki DiMartino (Erika Tymrak) 84.
KOR – Lee Hyun Young (Ji So Yun) 85.
USA: 18-Taylor Vancil; 4-Crystal Dunn, 6-Cloee Colohan (Capt.), 17-Rachel Quon; 11-Samantha Mewis, 3-Amber Brooks, 13-Julia Roberts, 10-Kristie Mewis, 20-Olivia Klei (5-Erika Tymrak, 81); 8-Vicki DiMartino, 7-Courtney Verloo (9-Samantha Johnson, 86)
Subs not used: 1-Alexa Gaul, 2-Alexis Harris, 12-Hayley Brock, 14-Mandy Laddish, 15-Kate Bennett, 16-Morgan Brian, 19-Elizabeth Eddy, 21-Jennifer Pettigrew
Head Coach: Kazbek Tambi
KOR: 1-Lee Hyo Ju; 2-Seo Hyun Sook, 3-Lee Eun Kyung, 5-Song Ari (17-Lee Mi Na, 82), 8-Shin Ma Na; 15-Oh Yu Sun, 20-Koh Kyung Yeon; 4-Oh Hye Jin (11-Park Hee Young, 38), 9-Lee Hyun Young; 10-Ji So Yun, 18-Lee Min Sun (12-Jeoun Eun Ha, 74)
Subs Not Used: 6-Lee Young Ju, 7-Mok Hyun Su, 13-Lee Han Na, 14-Cho Sun Hwa, 16-Oh Hye Mi, 19-Kim Jung In, 21-Jung Bo Ram
Head Coach: Kim Yong Ho
Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 20 / 5
Shots on Goal: 13 / 3
Saves: 1 / 9
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 5 / 6
Offside: 1 / 0
KOR – Song Ari (caution) 77th minute.
Referee: Kirsi Savolainen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ella De Vries (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tonja Paavola (FIN)
Fourth Official: Finau Vulivuli (FIJ)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match:
2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
North Korea 4, Denmark 0 Wellington, New Zealand
Germany 3, Canada 1 Wellington, New Zealand
Japan 2, England 2 (ENG advances 5-4 in PKs) Hamilton, New Zealand
USA 4, South Korea 2 Hamilton, New Zealand
|Date||Match||Venue; City||Time (Local / ET)|
|Nov. 13||North Korea vs. England||QEII Park; Christchurch, New Zealand||4 p.m. / 10 p.m. (Nov. 12)|
|Nov. 13||Germany vs. USA||QEII Park; Christchurch, New Zealand||7 p.m. / 1 a.m.|