• Abby Wambach Scores In Both Halves, Lauren Cheney Tallies First Goal and Gets an Assist
• Lori Lindsey Gets Start in Midfield and Records Two Assists
• USA Will Face Italy in Padova on Nov. 20 and at Toyota Park Bridgeview, Ill., on Nov. 27 With Aggregate Goals Deciding Final Berth to 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
CANCUN, Mexico (Nov. 8, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Costa Rica, 3-0, to earn third place at the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament and along with it a berth in a two-leg home-and-home series against Italy for the final spot in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The USA and Italy, the fifth-place finisher from Europe, will square off on Nov. 20 at Euganeo Stadium in Padova, Italy, with the return leg on Nov. 27 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. The winner of the series will be determined by total goals scored over the two matches. Ticket information for the U.S. leg will be announced shortly.
A highly motivated U.S. team started off strong for the first time in the tournament and put pressure on Costa Rica from the opening whistle. The skillful Central Americans did well holding the ball at times, but the Americans caught a nice attacking rhythm and tallied twice in the first 33 minutes, both off assists from Lori Lindsey who got the start at left midfield in place of the suspended Megan Rapinoe.
Costa Rica’s only two chances of the first half came when Katherine Alvardo shot high off a 35-yard free kick in the fifth minute and then when Shirley Cruz bent a free kick in from the left wing that U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart easily grabbed at the near post.
The USA broke through in the 17th minute after a quick series of passes sprung Lindsey free into the left side of the penalty area. She could have taken the half chance and shot on goal, but showed composure to slow the ball down and play a short pass back to Lauren Cheney at the top of the penalty box. Cheney cut sharply back to her left to lose a defender and then hit a low shot from 16 yards that deflected off Alvardo and past the wrong-footed goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz.
The second goal came in 33rd minute after some nice dribbling by Lindsey gave her space to cut into the middle from the left side and she chipped a pinpoint pass over the Costa Rica back line. Wambach held her run perfectly to stay onside and then struck a full volley with her left foot into the lower left corner from seven yards out, kissing the inside of the post on the way in.
Amy Rodriguez came off the bench at halftime in place of Heather O’Reilly at right midfield while Shannon Boxx and Wambach both left the game in the second half, Wambach soon after picking up a yellow card. The aggressive Americans got four yellow cards in the game, but will have no suspensions for the first leg in Italy.
Perhaps the key moments of the match occurred in the 50th minute as Costa Rica produced its first real scoring chance of the game as Monica Malvassi hit the left post on a breakaway. The ball bounced back into the middle of the penalty area, was cleared and the Americans pushed forward on the counter attack. The ball was held up well by Cheney at the top of the Costa Rica penalty area and she played a pass to Wambach into the right side of the box. Wambach’s sliding shot from 15 yards out snuck into the left corner to give the USA a game-clinching 3-0 lead.
The goals upped Wambach’s tournament total to eight and her career total to 117. Cheney’s goal was her second of the tournament after also scoring against Costa Rica in group play, and the 11th of her career.
Barnhart had to make two saves in the second half, the first coming in the 75th minute off a spinning free kick into goal mouth traffic that she had to kick save away before the U.S. cleared She also had to dive to snag a low shot from Malvassi in the 76th minute. Otherwise, Barnhart’s night consisted mostly of numerous clears with her feet and starting the U.S. attack with throws to her backs.
The U.S. team fired 14 shots on the night against the committed Costa Ricans but were efficient in putting nine of them on goal, drawing six saves from Diaz.
As teams are allowed to suit up just 18 of the 20 players on their roster for each game of this tournament, defender Becky Sauerbrunn and the suspended Rapinoe did not dress for the USA.
The U.S. team will return to the United States for several days of rest before leaving for Italy on Nov. 14. The USA’s roster for both legs will be announced shortly. The matches against Italy will mark the first time the U.S. women have participated in a playoff to qualify for a FIFA Women’s World Cup, having advanced directly from the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in each previous attempt.
The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place from June 26-July 17 in nine venues across Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen.
-U.S. Women's National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Date: Nov. 8, 2010
Competition: 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament – Third-Place Match
Venue: Estadio Quintana Roo; Cancun, Mexico
Kickoff: 5 p.m. Local (6 p.m. ET)
Weather: Clear, breezy - 72 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
CRC 0 0 0
USA – Lauren Cheney (Lori Lindsey) 17th minute
USA – Abby Wambach (Lori Lindsey) 33
USA – Abby Wambach (Lauren Cheney) 50
USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 16-Ali Krieger, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 19-Rachel Buehler; 9-Heather O’Reilly (8-Amy Rodriguez, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx (4-Yael Averbuch, 57), 10-Carli Lloyd, 11-Lori Lindsey; 12-Lauren Cheney, 20-Abby Wambach (5-Alex Morgan, 68)
Subs not used: 1-Jill Loyden, 2-Heather Mitts, 13-Kristine Lilly, 14-Stephanie Cox
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
CRC: 1-Dinnia Diaz; 20-Wendy Acosta, 3-Hazel Quiros (2-Silvia Flores, 46), 6-Carol Sanchez, 8-Daniella Cruz, 7-Maria Barrantes (14-Cristin Granados, 69), 10-Shirley Cruz (capt.) (17-Jacqueline Alvarez, 74), 16-Katherine Alvardo, 12-Laura Sanchez, 15-Monica Malvassi, 11-Raquel Rodriguez
Subs not used: 5-Ivonne Rodriguez, 9-Carolina Venegas, 18-Priscila Tapia, 19-Adriana Venegas
Head Coach: Randal Chacon
Statistical Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 14 / 8
Shots on Goal: 9 / 2
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 3 / 1
Fouls: 14 / 6
Offside: 2 / 3
USA – Amy LePeilbet (caution) 39th minute
USA – Abby Wambach (caution) 65
USA – Yael Averbuch (caution) 73
USA – Lori Lindsey (caution) 80
Referee: Quetzalli Alvarado (MEX)
Assistant Referee: Mayte Chavez (MEX)
Assistant Referee: Ivonne Ayala (SLV)
Fourth Official: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Christie Rampone