VICTORIA, B.C. (Saturday, August 17, 2002) - The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team got two goals from Kelly Wilson and one each from Lindsay Tarpley, Leslie Osborne and Heather O'Reilly to open the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship on a spectacular day at Centennial Stadium, rolling over a tough England squad on the way to a 5-1 victory. It was the first match ever played in a FIFA World Championship by a U.S. youth women's team, who won over the 2,500 highly entertained fans on a sun-splashed Victoria afternoon with some dynamic attacking soccer.
The USA's "Triple-Edged Sword" of strikers - Wilson, Tarpley and O'Reilly -- accounted for three goals and five assists on the day, three assists alone by O'Reilly, as each member for the attacking trio notched at least a goal and an assist.
"We're really pleased with our performance," said U.S. head coach Tracey Leone. "We came out with a great balance of focus and energy which is a great statement for these young players in their first world event. We showed great composure and intensity. England had a lot of numbers behind the ball and we had to be persistent and patient and continue to dig the game out."
The young Americans ran up against a tough and hard-tackling England side, but kept pounding away until they finally broke through in the 37th minute and then the goals flowed, getting three in a seven-minute span.
The USA controlled most of the match and U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was tested just once in the first half when she snagged a driven cross in the 30th minute. The USA was dangerous down the flanks all match long and each of the first three goals came from U.S. players beating English defenders to the end line.
The USA did have several chances in the early going, including a shot by Tarpley from close range that was slapped down by English goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne, a shot by Wilson that flashed just past the left post and a sequence in the 9th minute when midfielder Amy Steadman had two point-blank shots blocked by sliding English defenders, but the real fireworks didn't start until there was eight minutes left in the half.
The first goal came when Wilson played a pass down right wing to O'Reilly, who beat the England defense with a burst of speed and then cut a cross back to the trailing Tarpley, who tucked her shot into the right corner from six yards out.
"I was very impressed by England, they had a lot of skillful players and played together very well," said Tarpley, the U.S. captain. "But today all our preparation and hard work paid off."
The fans had barely finished applauding the first goal when the USA got another, this one coming off a free kick in the midfield as Kendall Fletcher sent a perfect pass to O'Reilly down the right wing. O'Reilly once again put a defender behind her, dribbled to the end line and cut a cross back to Leslie Osborne, who finished neatly into the left corner from 12 yards out.
After setting up the first two goals, O'Reilly got one of her own in the 44th minute, courtesy of her running mates on the forward line, Wilson and Tarpley. Manya Makoski started the sequence, taking off on a slashing run through midfield and beat three players before she sprung Tarpley down right wing with a well-weighted pass. Tarpley cut her cross back into the middle, which Wilson touched back to O'Reilly, who hit her shot first time off the left post and in from 16 yards out.
"My teammates played some great balls down the flanks and I just had to run onto them and find the openings in the middle," said O'Reilly. "After that first goal, it was a bit of a breaking point for England and turning point for us. We realized that we could do this, we kept composed, kept the ball in their end and got another one and then another one."
England pulled a goal back just two minutes into the second half, but it would be the only highlight of the game for a tough and skillful team that just did not have the ability to run with the Americans. The goal came from the right wing as England's star forward Ellen Maggs got loose down right flank, pushed past Rachel Buehler and played a short cross back to Katy Ward, who touched her first-time shot into the net from seven yards out.
Megan Kakadelas replaced Osborne for the USA in the 63rd minute, and played a part in the fourth U.S. goal a minute later. Lori Chalupny, who was the linchpin in the U.S. midfield, started with play with a short pass to O'Reilly on right flank. O'Reilly sent a high cross into the middle and Kakadelas jumped for the ball, jostling England goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne as the ball flew over her head and fell to Wilson, who touched a volley into the open net from three yards out.
Wayne actually played a solid match, making strong catches on a handful of U.S. crosses and made a flying save on a Tarpley blast, but she could do nothing about the final U.S. goal, a rocker from Wilson that skimmed the underside of the crossbar on its way into the net.
The USA combined extremely well in the attacking third all day and the final goal came from such a combination as O'Reilly slipped a dangerous pass to Tarpley inside the penalty area on the right side. Tarpley knocked the ball first time back to the onrushing Wilson, who cracked her shot over Wayne from 13 yards out as an England defender took out her legs.
"We're really happy with all of our attacking players and the impact they can have at this level, but Tarpley, Wilson and O'Reilly all played extremely well," said Leone. "And not just in the stats. They played well on both sides of the ball and really looked sharp, which is key in your first game as you can really build from there."
England showed glimpses of danger on counter-attacks in the game's latter stages, but the U.S. back line ran down the English forwards before they could shoot. England almost got another goal in the final seconds as a free kick skimmed off a U.S. defender Keeley Dowling's head and off the crossbar.
"We at halftime about how England has a lot of pride, but so do we," said Leone. "We knew it was going to be a war to the end. They are seasoned players in that they watch a lot on soccer on TV and they see how physical the game is at these levels. They are combative warriors, but we were the same."
The USA did suffer one setback in the match as Steadman had to leave the game in the 18th with a knee injury and will be evaluated further today. Kendall Fletcher replaced her and played a solid match, but she too had to come out after suffering a bloody nose, and Dowling played the final 11 minutes.
"Our team is taking one game at a time. You work so hard to get to this moment that's it's really critical that you focus on that step at a time. Our players have done a really good job doing that. They feel confident and they feel prepared, but they know every game will be a war. There are still 12 teams alive and each game will be a battle and our players know that."
The USA faces Australia in its second Group C match on Monday in Victoria with the kickoff at 7:15 p.m. PT. The USA is tied atop Group C with Australia, a 5-1 winner over Chinese Taipei.
U.S. UNDER-19 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Participants: United States Under-19 Women's National Team vs. England
Competition: 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship (Group C)
Venue: Centennial Stadium (Victoria, B.C., Canada)
Date: August 17, 2002 - Kickoff 1:00 p.m. PT
Weather: Sunny, breezy - 78 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1st - 2nd - Final
United States 3 - 2 - 5
England 0 - 1 - 1
USA - Lindsay Tarpley (Heather O'Reilly), 37.
USA - Leslie Osborne (Heather O'Reilly), 39.
USA - Heather O'Reilly (Kelly Wilson), 44.
ENG - Katy Ward (Ellen Maggs), 47.
USA - Kelly Wilson (Heather O'Reilly), 64.
USA - Kelly Wilson (Lindsay Tarpley), 74.
USA: 18-Ashlyn Harris, 3-Jessica Ballweg, 4-Jill Oakes, 3-Rachel Buehler, 6-Amy Steadman, (8-Kendall Fletcher, 18, 11- Keeley Dowling, 79), 7-Lori Chalupny, 5-Manya Makoski, 10-Leslie Osborne (17-Megan Kakadelas, 63), 15-Lindsey Tarpley (capt.), 9-Heather O'Reilly, 16-Kelly Wilson.
Subs not used: 1-Megan Rivera, 5-Kerri Hanks, 12-Angie Woznuk, 14-Sarah Huffman.
ENG: 1-Toni-Anne Wayne, 2-Leanne Champ, 3-Corinne Yorston, 4-Fara Williams (12-Emily Westwood, 65), 5-Jessica Wright (capt.), 6-Laura Basset, 7-Alex Scott (16-Kim Holden, 82), 8-Kelly McDougall, 9-Katy Ward, 10-Ellen Maggs, 11-Michelle Hickmont (15-Shelly Cox, 46).
Subs not used: 13-Anita Asanted, 14-Faye Dunn, 17-Sheuneen Ta, 18-Rachelle Houldsworth.
Statistical Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 25 / 11
Shots on Goal: 12 / 1
Saves: 0 / 6
Corner Kicks: 12 / 0
Fouls: 8 / 9
Offside: 4 / 2
Referee: Mayumi Oiwa (JPN)
Referee Asst.: Lynda Bramble (TRI)
Referee Asst.: Ameoli Aquerebourou (TON)
4th Official: Fatou Gaye (SEN)