- USA Scores Two Goals in First Half, One in Second in Muddy Conditions
- Grings Tallies Both Goals for Germany
- Next Up for WNT are Matches vs. Mexico on March 28 in San Diego and March 31 in Sandy, Utah
FARO, Portugal (March 3, 2010) â€“ The U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team scored twice in the first half and once in the second to defeat Germany 3-2 in the championship game of the 2010 Algarve Cup.
Carli Lloydâ€™s goal in the 18th minute was followed by a powerful header from Abby Wambach four minutes later, staking the U.S. to a 2-0 lead. German forward Inka Grings pulled a goal back five minutes before halftime, but a goalkeeper mistake from Germanyâ€™s Nadine Angerer allowed Lauren Cheney to make it 3-1 in the 69th. Grings finished her brace with a goal in 74th minute to make the end of the game tension-filled, but some tremendous ball-winning in the back by central defenders Amy LePeilbet and Rachel Buehler helped the U.S. hold on to the victory.
The win marked the seventh time the USA has won this annual tournament in southern Portugal and the third time it has faced Germany in the final. The USA defeated Germany 1-0 in 2005 and lost the 2006 championship game to the Germans in penalty kicks. The match also marked USAâ€™s eighth consecutive trip to Algarve Cup championship game.
In the clash between the worldâ€™s top two teams according to the most recent FIFA rankings, the Americans attacked remarkably well despite terrible field conditions and could have built a much bigger lead heading into the break.
The most recent meeting between these teams before todayâ€™s championship game took place in Augsburg, Germany, last Oct. 29. During that match, Germany clearly took the match to the Americans although the U.S. came out victorious 1-0. Still, the USA was out-shot by a large margin and the Germans put tremendous pressure on the U.S. goal for 90 minutes. Today, the Americans flipped the momentum and had far more of the dangerous attacking chances.
Early on, some quick U.S. passing put Cheney free inside the penalty box with only Angerer to beat, but she made a great save on the driven shot, pushing it away for a corner kick.
In the 10th minute, a great U.S. attack down the left wing produced a cross that skipped through the wet goal box to Cheney. Once again, it was just her and Angerer, but Cheney spun her shot just outside the left post from about 12 yards away.
The U.S. got the first goal when a cross was sent into the German penalty area in the 18th minute. It was cleared to the top of the box where Lloyd collected it well, slithered around a defender and hammered a 22-yard shot that deflected off another defender and skidded into the lower right corner past the diving Angerer.
The second U.S. goal came in the 22nd minute and originated off a quickly-taken free kick by Rachel Buehler who found Heather Oâ€™Reilly down the right wing. Oâ€™Reilly took a quick dribble and then spun a perfect cross to the far post where Wambach was crashing. The U.S. forward shed a defender and ran through the ball to send a powerful header on goal, stretching the right side of the net from seven yards out.
The USA could have put the game away at the end of the first half, producing three chances right in front of the goal that couldnâ€™t be converted, partly due to the muddy conditions in the goal box.
The first came after a great series of quick touches put Lloyd in on net about eight yards from the goal, but she couldnâ€™t dig the ball out of the mud and Angerer was able to recover to stuff her chance.
Moments later, a cross was sent skipping through the goal mouth from the left wing and the Germans failed to clear. Cheney stopped it at the far post, but couldnâ€™t get her feet under her to take a swipe at the ball and once again Angerer pounced on it.
Germany had a several shots from good spots during the first half, including one from Fatmire Bajramaj in the ninth minute, but she spun it wide right, and one from Melanie Berhininger in the 24th minute shortly after the second U.S. goal, but she fired wide left from 14 yards. In the 36th minute a U.S. give-away in back led to dangerous-looking shot by Anja Mittag at top of box, but it was right at U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo.
When Grings scored her first goal in the 40th minute, the U.S. was surely ruing the missed chances just moments before, but it was a quality strike from the German forward who ended the tournament as the competitionâ€™s leading scorer with seven goals.
Birgit Prinz, who was playing in the center midfield due to some injuries on the German side, put Grings through in the right side of the penalty box. Grings faked Solo to the ground, took a touch deeper into the box to get a clear look at goal and then shot low from a sharp angle into the net from eight yards out.
Amazingly, on the stroke of halftime, the USA failed to convert on another point blank chance as Wambach and Shannon Boxx played a perfect give-and-go inside the German penalty area. Boxx had just Angerer to beat but once again the mud stopped the ball and she couldnâ€™t get a shot off.
Coming out of halftime Germany pushed hard for the equalizer and launched several dangerous attacks after winning balls in the middle, but it soon became clear that the conditions in the center of the pitch would make it very difficult for the USA to play through the midfield. The Americans then started going a bit more direct and in the 64th minute Cheney had another great chance after she ran under a long ball over the top of the German defense. Staring only at Angerer again, she tried to lift the ball over the German â€˜keeper, but sent it over the bar.
The USA made it 3-1 in the 69th minute on a uncharacteristic mistake from Angerer. Lori Lindsey had chipped a pass from the left wing into the penalty area, but it was clearly too far for Cheney and Angerer rushed out to grab it on the bounce. Still, Cheney continued her run at Angerer and somehow the German â€˜keeper misjudged the skip and lost control of the ball. It hit the charging Cheney in the face and bounced behind Angerer. Cheney only had to tap it into the open net for her eighth career international goal and fourth of the tournament.
No one expected the Germans to roll over and they certainly didnâ€™t, pulling a goal back through Grings in the 74th minute. This time a great dribble from Behringer into the left side of the U.S. penalty area beat several defenders and she crossed on the ground to the slashing Grings, who slotted her first-time shot under Solo from eight yards out.
The last 15 minutes were physical and tense with both teams counter-attacking on a wet field that made transition by defenders difficult. Germany had one last gasp as a long ball skidded off the head of LePeilbet and flew backwards towards the U.S. net. With a German attacker right in front of the goal, Solo was able to jump on the ball and end Germanyâ€™s last chance.
U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage started Amy Rodriguez, usually a forward, at left midfield and she played a solid 59 minutes before giving way to Lindsey. Sundhage also started Meghan Schnur at left back and the 23-year-old did very well in just her third career cap.
The three goals given up by Germany were the first conceded in the tournament after demolishing Denmark 4-0, Finland 7-0 and China 5-0 during group play.
Wambachâ€™s goal was not only her 104th career score, but it gave her 15 all-time in the Algarve Cup, tying her with Swedish legend Hanna Ljungberg as the top scorer in the 17-year history of the tournament.
Lloydâ€™s goal, her 20th international score, broke a long scoreless streak for the midfielder who had an excellent overall tournament and was crucial to the U.S. attack during the final. Lloydâ€™s ball-winning with the always rugged Boxx in the middle was also impressive. The goal was the first for Lloyd since the 2008 Olympic gold medal game when she scored the winner in overtime against Brazil.
The USA has made the championship game of the Algarve Cup every year since 2003, winning the tournament five times during that span and seven times overall, in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
In the other placement matches, Sweden defeated China, 2-0, for third place, Denmark downed Norway, 2-1 for fifth, Romania upset Iceland, 1-0 for seventh, Iceland hammered Portugal 3-0 for ninth and Austria ran rough-shod over the Faroe Islands, 6-0.
The U.S. players will now return home and report soon to their WPS clubs for pre-season training. The team will come together again at the end of March for two matches against Mexico, on March 28 at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego and on March 31 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, home of the reigning MLS champions Real Salt Lake. Tickets for both matches are available at ussoccer.com.
U.S. Women's National Team Match Report
Match: U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team vs. Germany
Date: March 3, 2010
Competition: 2010 Algarve Cup; Championship Game
Venue:Â Estadio Algarve; Faro, Portugal
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET)
Weather: 63 degrees; cloudy, windy
Scoring Summary:Â 1Â 2Â F
USAÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2Â 1Â 3
GERÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1Â 1Â 2
USA â€“ Carli LloydÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 18th minute
USA â€“ Abby Wambach (Heather Oâ€™Reilly)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 22
GER â€“ Inka Grings (Brigit Prinz)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 40
USA â€“ Lauren CheneyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 69
GER â€“ Inka Grings (Melanie Behringer)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 74
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts, 26-Rachel Buehler, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 17-Meghan Schnur; 9-Heather Oâ€™Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx (Capt.), 10-Carli Lloyd, 8-Amy Rodriguez (5-Lori Lindsey, 59); 11-Lauren Cheney (15-Casey Nogueira, 84), 20-Abby WambachÂ
Subs not used: 4-Cat Whitehill, 12-Yael Averbuch, 13-Megan Rapinoe, 14-Stephanie Cox, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 24-Jill Loyden
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
GER: 1-Nadine Angerer; 4-Babett Peter, 15-Sonja Fuss, 22-Bianca Schmidt, 29-Lena Goebling (20-Jennifer Zietz, 29); 7-Melanie Behringer (16-Martina MÃ¼ller, 87), 9-Birgit Prinz (Capt.), 11-Anja Mittag (27-Alexandra Popp, 70), 18-Kerstin Garefrekes, 19-Fatmire Bajramaj (13-CÃ©lia Okoyino da Mbabi, 46), 8-Inka GringsÂ
Subs not used: 12-Ursula Holl, 14-Kim Kulig, 28-Nadine KesslerÂ
Head Coach: Silvia Neid
Statistical Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 15 / 11Â
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6Â
Saves: 4 / 3Â Â
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3Â
Fouls: 13 / 7Â
Offside: 2 / 2Â
USA â€“ Heather Mitts (caution)Â Â 41st minute
USA â€“ Carli Lloyd (caution)Â Â Â Â Â 46
Referee: Kirsi Heikkinen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tonja Paavola (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Anu Jokela (FIN)
Fourth Official: Quetzalli Godinez (MEX) Â
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