- Cheney Scores in 56th and 87th Minutes, Giving Her Three Goals for the Tournament
- Lindsey Gets Third Assist in Three Games
- USA Will Face Germany in Championship Game on March 3 at Stadium Algarve Live on MatchTracker at 11 a.m. ET
FERREIRAS, Portugal (March 1, 2010) – Second-half substitute Lauren Cheney scored two wonderful goals to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 2-0 victory against Sweden in the final Group B match at the 2010 Algarve Cup.
The victory puts the USA into its eighth consecutive Algarve Cup final where it will face Germany, winners of Group A after a dominating 5-0 victory against China today. The championship game kicks off at 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) and fans can follow live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The game matches the top two women’s soccer nations in the world according to the most recent FIFA rankings and is a rematch of the 2005 and 2006 Algarve Cup championship games, the former won by the USA 1-0 and the latter by Germany in penalty kicks.
To get to the championship, the USA had to navigate its way through a tough and talented Swedish team, which needed to win the game to make the final while the USA needed just a tie.
Knowing they needed goals, Sweden’s towering striker tandem of the 5-feet-10-inch Lotta Schelin and 5-feet-11-inch Jessica Landstrom ran at the U.S. defense with energy and power, taking the game to the Americans in the first 10 minutes.
The U.S. finally settled down as the half wore on and put together some excellent attacking sequences, but the Swedes had the better of the scoring chances before the break.
In the 35th minute Therese Sjogran got around the U.S. defense on the left side and dribbled to the near post. She tried to cut the ball back, but there were too many U.S. players in the middle and the ball was cleared away after a scramble.
Just before halftime, Kosovare Asllanni got in behind the U.S. defense, the first and only time in the game that Sweden was able to work its way through the center of the U.S. defense, but as she raced in on the goalkeeper, she tried to scoop the ball over the Hope Solo. The shot carried a high degree of difficulty and, it sailed way over the goal.
The USA’s best chance of the first half came in the 13th minute and against the run of play as Amy Rodriguez turned inside a defender in the left side of the penalty box and struck a low pass through to Yael Averbuch. Averbuch had a good look at the goal, but couldn’t get a good strike on the ball and spun it wide right.
U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage had shifted her lineup a bit, starting Averbuch in place of Carli Lloyd and Rodriguez up top in place of Cheney, but both Lloyd and Cheney came on at halftime, along with Casey Nogueira for Heather O’Reilly as the USA switched to a 4-3-3 formation.
With Shannon Boxx sitting deep with Lloyd and Lori Lindsey in front of her, Cheney patrolling the left wing and Nogueira on the right, the USA started to control the match. Sweden was still dangerous to the end on counter-attacks, but it was the USA which found the net twice to win the game.
In the 56th minute, Nogueira struck a perfectly-weighted through ball, splitting two defenders, and right into the path of the sprinting Cheney. She touched it around the ‘keeper to the left and from a very sharp angle, slid her shot into the open net. Cheney had to hit her shot perfectly because of the angle and the retreating defenders, but no Swede could get a foot on it as it rolled over the goal line and into the lower right corner.
With more than 30 minutes left, Sweden now needed two goals to make the final, but it was the USA which got the next goal and sealed the game with just three minutes left. The goal came off another well-struck pass from Nogueira, who hit a long, diagonal ball over to Cheney on the left wing. She collected the ball on the run and then dribbled inside laterally along the top of the penalty box where she played a give-and-go with Lori Lindsey. The return pass was perfectly into Cheney’s stride and she hammered a spectacular 20-yard shot from the center of the box. The blast flew into the upper left corner giving flying Sweden goalkeeper Hedvid Lindahl no chance.
It was the seventh goal of Cheney’s international career and third in this year’s Algarve Cup. It also marked Cheney’s first-ever two goal game for the full national team and the third assist in three games for Lindsey, who was playing in just her fourth career cap.
Sweden did its best to punch a hole in the U.S. defense during the second half, but the back line of Heather Mitts, Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet and Stephanie Cox stood strong, winning numerous individual battles with Sweden’s dangerous trio of Landstrom (who will play with Sky Blue in the WPS this season), Schelin and Asllani (who will play with the Chicago Red Stars). Schelin almost pulled one back just after the first U.S. goal, hammering a half-volley into the left side netting, but Solo was in good position to make the save had she hit it on frame. Solo was not forced to make a big save during the match, but played a pristine game while confidently grabbing several tough crosses and executing a few key clearances with her feet.
In the 75th minute, Asllani burst down the right sideline and crossed to the near post where Landstrom was crashing, but she couldn’t get a foot on the ball as two U.S. defenders got back to clear.
The match, played on the first sunny day the U.S. team has experienced in the Algarve Cup this year, marked the third time Sundhage has faced her native country while at the helm of the United States, and her second victory. The two teams tied during regulation of last year’s Algarve Cup final, but Sweden prevailed in penalty kicks.
In Group C, Portugal beat Austria 2-1 and Romania beat Faroe Islands 5-1 which amazingly tied Portugal and Romania atop the group on points, goal difference and goals scored. Seeing as Portugal and Romania also tied the match between them 0-0 the teams will have to draw lots to see who finishes first in the group.
In the other Group B match, Norway defeated Iceland 3-2. In the other Group A match, Denmark defeated Finland 2-1. Sweden, which has finished third at the Algarve Cup five times, will play China for third place. Norway will play Denmark for fifth place and either Portugal or Romania will play Finland for seventh. Portugal or Romania will play Iceland for ninth and Austria and the Faroe Islands will square off for eleventh.
The USA has made the championship game of the Algarve Cup every year since 2003 and has won the tournament five times during that span. The two losses both came in penalty kicks, to Germany in 2006 and to Sweden in 2009. No other team has made more than three consecutive Algarve Cup finals in the 17 year history of the tournament.
Germany has scored 16 goals in this tournament and allowed zero with its closest margin of victory at four goals. The USA and Germany met last Oct. 29 in Augsburg, Germany, with the USA scraping out a 1-0 victory on an Abby Wambach goal despite being out-shot 17-7.
U.S. Women's National Team Match Report
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: March 1, 2010
Competition: 2010 Algarve Cup; Group B
Venue: Parque Desportiva da Nora; Ferreiras, Portugal
Kickoff: 3 p.m. (10 a.m. ET)
Weather: 66 degrees; Partly cloudy, windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
SWE 0 0 0
USA – Lauren Cheney (Casey Nogueira) 56th minute
USA – Lauren Cheney (Lori Lindsey) 87
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts, 26-Rachel Buehler, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 14-Stephanie Cox; 9-Heather O’Reilly (15-Casey Nogueira, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx (Capt.), 12-Yael Averbuch (10-Carli Lloyd, 46), 5-Lori Lindsey; 8-Amy Rodriguez (11-Lauren Cheney, 46), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 4-Cat Whitehill, 13-Megan Rapinoe, 17-Meghan Schnur, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 24-Jill Loyden
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
SWE: 1-Hedvid Lindahl; 2-Charlotte Rohlin (13-Linda Sembrandt, 71), 4-Anna Paulson, 6-Sara Thunebro, 7-Sara Larsson; 5-Caroline Seger (Capt.) (16-Petra Larsson, 71), 15-Therese Sjögran (20-Lina Nilsson, 80), 17-Lisa Dahlkvist (18-Nilla Fischer, 19), 10-Kosovare Asllani (14-Louise Fors, 80), 8-Lotta Schelin, 9-Jessica Landstrom (11-Linnea Liljegard, 80)
Subs not used: 3-Stina Segerström, 12-Kristin Hammarstrøm, 19-Sara Linden
Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby
Statistical Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 7 / 7
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 6
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offside: 1 / 3
Referee: Efthalia Mitsi (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Lada Rojc (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Natalie Walker (ENG)
Fourth Official: Siliva Reyes Juarez (PER)
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