- Lotta Schelin’s Header in 24th Minute Lifts Sweden
- USA’s 43-Game Unbeaten Streak Comes to an End
- Samantha Mewis and Sarah Hagen Earn First Caps
- WNT Finishes Group Play Against Denmark on March 10 in Albufeira, Portugal, Hoping for Spot in Third-Place Match
ALBUFEIRA, Portugal (March 7, 2014) – For the second straight match at the Algarve Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team dominated in possession and scoring chances, but this time fell short in a 1-0 loss to Sweden that knocked the USA out of contention for a place in the championship game.
Coming off a 1-1 draw against Japan on March 3, the USA needed a victory against Sweden to stay on track for the berth to the championship match, which goes to the group winner. However, Sweden star Lotta Schelin’s header in the 24th minute proved to be the only goal.
The loss ends the USA’s 43-game unbeaten streak (36-0-7) that started two years ago to the day with a 4-0 victory against Sweden in the third-place match of the 2012 Algarve Cup. It also marked the first loss under head coach Tom Sermanni, who moved to 16-1-4 since taking over in January of 2013.
Up next for the USA will be Denmark on March 10 in Albufeira, Portugal (10:40 a.m. ET), in the final Group B match for both teams. Denmark lost to Japan 1-0 today, so the USA will be hoping for a win against Denmark, coupled with a loss by Japan to Sweden, and will need to end with a superior goal differential over Japan, to earn a spot in the third-place match. Fans can follow USA-Denmark on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and watch highlights on ussoccer.com.
The USA out-shot Sweden 12-4 and had seven corner kicks to Sweden’s one, while Schelin’s goal was Sweden’s only true dangerous chance of the match. Still, Sweden was tremendous in its defensive organization and made it difficult for the U.S. WNT, which had the majority of possession to create quality chances, especially in the first half.
Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl made several world-class saves and also slapped away a few dangerous crosses to help her side to relieve the U.S. pressure.
The USA missed a golden chance to take an early lead after Amy Rodriguez sprinted into the penalty area on a semi-breakaway, slowed down and then burst toward goal again before she was cut down. Referee Yemi Martinez immediately pointed to the spot and Abby Wambach stepped up to take the penalty kick in the 15th minute.
In the first of several spectacular stops she would make on the day, Lindahl guessed correctly, diving explosively to her left to save Wambach’s low strike that was headed into the lower right corner.
Schelin’s goal came after Sofia Jakobsson blocked a clearance attempt from Ali Krieger in the left corner and managed to swing in a cross. Schelin was flashing across the goal and got her head on the ball to nod it past U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo into the lower right corner. The USA almost got behind Sweden’s compact back line several times in the first half, but was caught offside five times before the break.
The U.S. was the aggressor in the second half, pressuring Sweden into numerous giveaways and causing havoc inside the Sweden penalty box on numerous occasions.
The USA produced an attacking flurry between the 56th and 62nd minutes that included two occasions in which balls were bouncing inside 12 yards in front of the Sweden net, but the USA could not finish. The U.S. also had a series of three consecutive corner kicks. The first two were pushed away by Lindahl and Lloyd headed the third hard, but wide right of the goal.
Sermanni sent on both Mewis sisters – Samantha and Kristie – in the 68th minute, soon followed by forwards Christen Press in the 70th and Sarah Hagen in the 81st, and all contributed to numerous close calls in front of the Sweden net. It was the first cap for the 21-year-old Samantha Mewis and the 24-year-old Hagen.
In the 83rd minute, Kristie Mewis had a one-on-one chance when she ran under a flicked pass inside the penalty area, but Lindahl was quick off the line and saved the half-volley with her legs.
Just after that, a fine U.S. build-up sprung Carli Lloyd into the right side of the box. She hit a bullet cross on the ground that flashed through the middle, but a Hagen slide at an open net was just a step too late.
Lindahl saved the game for her team in the 88th minute after Hagen got in behind the defense on a breakaway, but once again the Sweden goalkeeper came up huge, coming off the line to make the stop with her chest.
Sweden’s only shot of the second half came in the 90th minute as Solo gobbled up a header from Nilla Fischer.
- The USA moved to 3-1-1 on the year.
- The U.S. WNT fell to 20-6-9 all-time against Sweden.
- When the Mewis sisters (Samantha and Kristie) entered the match in the 68th minute, it marked just the third time sisters have been on the field together for the full U.S. Women’s National Team and the first time since May 11, 1997, when twins Lorrie and Ronnie Fair played against England in Portland, Ore. The Fair twins also played in the previous match against England on May 9, 1997, in San Jose, Calif.
- Kristie (23) and Samantha (21) played together on the youth level at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany.
- The match marked the first time that the U.S. Women did not win in consecutive games since Oct. 20 and Oct. 23 of 2012 when it tied Germany twice, in Bridgeview, Ill. and East Hartford, Conn.
- Kelley O’Hara came on for Meghan Klingenberg at left back following halftime, while Samantha Mewis replaced Morgan Brian and Kristie Mewis replaced Megan Rapinoe, who did some dangerous work on the flank in her 67 minutes.
- Christen Press came on for Amy Rodriguez and Sarah Hagen replaced Abby Wambach.
- Heather O’Reilly earned her 198th cap and is now just two games away from becoming the ninth WNT player to reach the 200-game mark.
- Christie Rampone earned her 290th career cap and is now just 10 away from 300, a mark achieved by only former teammate Kristine Lilly in the history of international soccer.
-U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report-
U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: March 7, 2014
Competition: 2014 Algarve Cup – Group B
Venue: Municipal Stadium; Albufeira, Portugal
Kickoff: 8:30 a.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. local
Weather: 63 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
SWE 1 0 1
SWE – Lotta Schelin (Sofia Jakobsson) 24th minute
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 25-Meghan Klingenberg (5-Kelley O’Hara, 46); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Morgan Brian (12-Samantha Mewis, 68), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (19-Kristie Mewis, 68); 8-Amy Rodriguez (23-Christen Press, 70), 20-Abby Wambach (13-Sarah Hagen, 81)
Substitutions Not Used: 6-Whitney Engen, 14-Stephanie Cox, 16-Rachel Van Hollebeke, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Alyssa Naeher, 21-Jill Loyden
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
1-Hedvig Lindahl; 2-Charlotte Rohlin (3-Lisa Sembrant, 46), 5-Nilla Fischer, 18-Jessica Samuelsson, 23-Elin Rubensson; 15-Therese Sjögran (14-Hanna
Folkesson, 46), 7-Lisa Dahlkvist, 17-Caroline Seger (capt.), 9-Kosovare Asllani (11-Antonia Göransson, 49), 10-Sofia Jakobsson (13-Emmelie Konradsson, 66);
8-Lotta Schelin (19-Emma Lundh, 77)
Substitutions Not Used: 4-Amanda Ilestedt, 12-Carola Soberg, 16-Lina Nilsson, 20-Emilia Appleqvist, 21-Stephanie Öhrström, 22-Olivia Schough
Head coach: Pia Sundhage
Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 12 / 4
Shots on Goal: 6 / 3
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 9 / 14
Offside: 6 / 5
Referee: Yemi Martinez (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Janette Arcanjo (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Luzmila Gonzalez (COL)
Fourth Official: Olga Miranda Villareal (PAR)
Budweiser Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd
U.S. WNT vs. Sweden
Post-Match Quotes – March 7, 2014
Algarve Cup – Group B
U.S. WNT head coach TOM SERMANNI
On the match:
“I was pleased with how we played in the second half and how we upped the tempo and how many chances we created, but in this game, you have to score goals.”
On his first loss as head coach of the U.S. WNT:
“You’re always going to lose games in football. That’s how it works. Sometimes you win games that perhaps you should have lost, sometimes you lose games that perhaps you should have one. But as I said, today we missed a penalty at nil-nil and in the last fifteen minutes we had four very good goal scoring opportunities and if you don’t take those, that makes a difference.”
On the big picture:
“It’s not just about winning or losing at the moment, but also really analyzing the performance. I think in the second half, and particularly in the second part of the second half, I was really pleased with the performance.”
On scoring just one goal in two games so far at the Algarve Cup:
“Normally, we’re a team that scores goals. Last year, we averaged between three and four goals a game, and in these last two games against really quality opposition, we created more chances than I thought we probably would have created. But at the moment, we’re just not scoring. So the only thing you can do is keep trying to create them, keep trying to make sure players’ stay positive, keep getting into goal scoring positions and hopefully turn it around.”
On Lotta Schelin’s goal:
"Schelin is an outstanding, world-class player. If you put balls in that area, she’s likely to score. But outside of that, I think it was really the only (significant) shot on goal that Sweden had.”
On Sweden’s defensive organization:
“We knew that was one of the strengths of Sweden. They are very well organized, very disciplined, particularly defensively, like most of the Scandinavian teams. They have a strong structure in that regard and they frustrated us for most of the first half. Obviously, if we had scored the penalty, that would have opened the game up a little bit, but we really managed to test that organization and discipline and tenacity, particularly for the last 30 minutes of the game, and certainly at that time we created enough chances to win the game.”
U.S. WNT midfielder CARLI LLOYD
On the match:
“In the first half, we pressured them really well, creative opportunities and got the PK. It’s just one of those things going on in this tournament, we’re creating chances, we’ve got the work ethic, the desire, the will and for some reason, they are not going into the back of the net. It’s alright, though, we still can work on some things, we still can learn and now is the time to get the kinks out and move forward and prepare for our next game.”
On creating enough chances to tie or win in the second half:
“We had a lot of chances and I think every single sub that came on; the Mewis sisters, Press and Apple, did a fantastic job. We couldn’t’ have asked for anything more from them. We created chances, there some suspects calls, a few could have gone our way, but overall I thought one was going to get in the back of the net. We’re all disappointed, but at the same time, we have to break it down, move on from it, learn from it and get ready for the next game.”
U.S. WNT defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On the match:
“This was a tough one. We definitely had more of the ball, not necessarily the best possession we could have played with, but we definitely made Sweden defend a lot and credit to them, they kept fighting and battling and cutting off the passing channels and blocking shots. We definitely had the run of play, we just didn’t finish, so now it’s back to practice to get ready for the next game.”
On the young players coming off the bench in the second half and making an impact:
“The young players came on and did really well. They brought a lot of energy, were very positive and were making good runs. They gave that effort we needed at the end of the game. It was a good taste for them, we got two first-cappers and hopefully they can get more.
On looking forward to the final group game vs. Denmark:
“We haven’t played our best soccer in the last two games. We need to get back on the field and do what we do best. We need to stay composed, knock the ball around, play with our mentality and have a good game against Denmark.”
U.S. WNT midfielder SAMANTHA MEWIS
On earning her first cap:
“I was excited to get my first cap and it was a lot of fun to get out on the field. I went on at the same time as my sister, which was really cool, and the girls were all really helpful in instructing me and helping me out, but I am really disappointed that we lost.”
On the match:
“It was a game of ups and downs and back and forth. The ball seemed to be in the air a lot, especially when I was on the field. Bit we did some good creating, especially on the flanks, so it was really disappointing to not get a goal or two.”
U.S. WNT forward SARAH HAGEN
On earning her first cap:
“It felt great to get in. I had a few opportunities that I wish I would have been able to finish. To be able to get some playing time was great and coming in in a game like this where it meant a lot for our team to win, it felt good to play a role.”
On having several chances to score in her brief time on the field:
“I felt like when I came in I was able to make somewhat of a difference, getting on a few balls in the air and we had a few dangerous crosses. I wish I could have gotten on the end of one of Carli’s crosses, but we definitely started to create more opportunities, unfortunately toddy we couldn’t finish them.”
CHICAGO (Feb. 5, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will face world powers Japan, Sweden and Denmark in Group B at the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal, which is being held from March 5-12.
The USA opens the competition on March 5 against Japan, then faces Sweden on March 7 and finishes group play against Denmark on March 10. Group A will feature Germany, Norway, Iceland and China PR. The Group C nations that will join host Portugal have yet to be finalized.
The 2014 Algarve Cup will be the 21st edition of a tournament that has grown into one of the world’s top competitions for women’s national teams. The tournament features the top three teams in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings in the USA, Germany and Japan, respectively, as well as Sweden (6th), Norway (8th), Denmark (12th), China PR (18th) and Iceland (19th).
The match venues and kickoff times have yet to be confirmed, but all the games will be played at small venues across the Algarve region on the southern coast of the country. Placement matches will take place on March 12.
Fans will be able to follow the USA’s intense schedule of four games in eight days via Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and can watch highlights on ussoccer.com.
Since expanding to 12 teams 13 years ago, the Algarve Cup format has been as follows: The winners of Groups A and B will compete for the Algarve Cup championship on Wednesday, March 12. The two second-place finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place while the third-place finishers in each group will play for fifth. The Group C teams will be competing for a chance to play for spots 7-12 as the winner of Group C will play the best fourth-place team from Groups A or B for seventh place. The second-place team in Group C will play the worst fourth-place team from Groups A or B for ninth place, and the third- and fourth-place finishers in Group C will play each other for 11th place.
This year will mark the 19th trip to the Algarve Cup for the U.S. Women, who have won the tournament a record nine times, including an unprecedented three straight championships from 2003-05. Last year, the USA defeated Germany 2-0 in the championship game as Alex Morgan scored twice. The USA’s most recent loss in all competitions took place at the Algarve Cup in 2012, a 1-0 setback to Japan in group play (which turned out to be the team’s only loss of the year) and the Americans missed the championship game for the first time in 10 years.
The USA has a 52-10-9 record all-time at the Algarve Cup and has scored 158 goals while allowing 54.