RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (July 26, 2007) – A tremendous run for the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team at the 2007 Pan American Games ended in the gold medal match as the young Americans fell to the full Brazilian Women’s National Team, 5-0, in front of a massive crowd of almost 70,000 fans that filled the famed Maracaña Stadium.
The U.S. team faced a daunting environment in a packed stadium awash with Brazilian color of canary yellow, but managed to hold the powerful Brazilians at bay until the 19th minute when a penalty kick from star forward Marta started the scoring.
The U.S. U-20s were coming off a great 2-1 victory over Canada’s full Women’s National Team in the semifinal, but ran into a juggernaut Brazilian side that out-scored their opponents 33-0 in the tournament.
“Competing in this Pan Am Games has been a privilege for our players,” said U.S. head coach Jillian Ellis. “This is a young team and one cannot beat the experience of playing Brazil in Maracaña Stadium in front of a packed house. Brazil had an exceptional level and style of play that contributed to their great success. We will learn from all of it.”
Brazil, which will be participating in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in September, got two goals from Marta, the 2006 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, but both were off penalty kicks. Marta’s forward line running mate Cristiane, who along with Marta terrorized opponents at the 2004 Olympics and 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championships, scored twice. Former WUSA player Daniela Alves added the final goal.
“Even though we lost, playing in an environment like this was a chance of a lifetime,” said U.S. forward and team captain Lauren Cheney. “It is pretty amazing that we got the chance to play against Brazil in Maracana Stadium. It is one of those rare opportunities that I will remember forever.”
The U.S. players will now return to the United States to prepare for their college seasons. All but Cheney and defender Brittany Taylor are age-eligible for the 2008 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, to be held in Chile at the end of next year.
“This was an honor to play soccer in a country that loves the game like Brazil does, win silver, and be a part of the Pan Am Games,” said Cheney, who finished fourth in scoring in the tournament with six goals behind Marta (12), Cristiane (8) and Canada’s Christine Sinclair (8). “We are a young team and we will take this tournament for the amazing experience that it was. We battled against Brazil and they were one of the best teams I have ever played against, but we will learn from it. After this tournament we can only go up from here. I know this experience will benefit this team tremendously as they prepare for the U-20 World Cup next year.”
Canada beat Mexico 2-1 for the bronze medal on goals by Sinclair and Kristina Kiss.
This is the second women’s soccer Pan Am Games medal for the USA. The U.S. won gold in the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Canada defeating Mexico in the championship game, 1-0, on a goal by current Women’s National Team star Cat Whitehill.
U.S. UNDER-20 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: 2007 Pan American Games – Gold Medal Match
Venue: Maracaña Stadium – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: July 20, 2007; Kickoff -- 12 p.m. local
Weather: Cloudy - 65 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
BRA 2 3 5
BRA – Marta (penalty kick) 19th minute
BRA – Cristiane 30.
BRA – Cristiane 48.
BRA – Marta (penalty kick) 56.
BRA – Daniela Alves 76.
USA –1-Alyssa Naeher, 2-Brittany Taylor, 6-Nikki Marshall, 16-Lauren Wilmoth (10-Michelle Enyeart, 46), 4-Kaley Fountain; 12-Kylie Wright, 11-Tobin Heath, 15-Becky Edwards; 7-Casey Nogueira, 17-Kelley O’Hara, Lauren Cheney – Capt.
Subs not used: 3-Nikki Washington, 5-Teresa Noyola, 9-Jessica McDonald, 13-Lauren Barnes, 14-Gina Dimartino, 18-Chantel Jones.
Head Coach: Jillian Ellis
BRA – 1-Andreia; 3-Aline, 4-Renata Costa, 5-Elaine, 6-Rosana (9-Katia, 83), 7-Daniela Alves, 8-Miraildes, 10-Marta, 11-Cristiane (14Delma, 78), 15-Andreia Santos, 16-Tania.
Subs not used: 2-Simone, 12-Barbara, 17-Graziele, 18-Daiane, 20-Esther.
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos
USA / BRA
Shots: 5 / 15
Shots on Goal: 3 / 9
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 7
Fouls: 13 / 16
Offside: 0 / 8
USA – Brittany Taylor (caution) 43rd minute.
Referee: Fernando Cabrera (URU)
Asst. Referee: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Asst. Referee: Marvin Ramirez (CRC)
4th Official: Ricardo Cerdas (CRC)
July 26, 2007 Result Venue
Gold Medal Game Brazil 5, USA 0 Maracanã Stadium
Bronze Medal Game Canada 2, Mexico 1 Maracanã Stadium