LA MANGA, Spain (April 9, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team defeated the Italy Under-23 WNT, 3-1, to finish a sweep of three games at the Women’s U-23 La Manga Tournament. The USA also defeated the Sweden U-23 WNT, 4-1, and the England U-20 WNT, 1-0.
Forward Sophia Smith scored twice against Sweden, struck the game-winner against England and netted the equalizer against Italy in the 22nd minute after the Italians had taken an early lead in the 11th minute on a wind-blown free-kick from the midline that skipped off the turf about 15 yards in front of the U.S. goal and bounced into the top left corner.
Smith, the 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year, scored several goals in this tournament on chances that were created from her own pressure on the back line. Against Italy, Smith once again stole the ball in the attacking third and then beat the goalkeeper one-on-one with a quick cut to her right before rolling her shot into the net. She now has 15 goals in 20 U-20 internationals.
The game-winner came in the 38th minute as Smith ran at goal and skillfully back-heeled the ball to defender Izzy Rodriguez who fired at the net from 18 yards out. The goalkeeper saved the shot but the ball rebounded to Abigail Kim, who was waiting to finish it.
The USA clinched the match in the 53rd minute when defender Tara McKeown streaked down the right wing, beat two defenders in the penalty box and struck a hard shot on goal. The Italian ‘keeper deflected it, but the sliding center back for Italy knocked the ball into her own net.
The USA is currently preparing for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which will take place from Aug. 5-24 in four venues in the Brittany region of France. The USA was drawn into Group C and opens the tournament on Monday, Aug. 6 against Japan (1:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. local), faces Paraguay on Tuesday, Aug. 9 (1:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. local) before finishing against Spain on Monday, Aug. 13 (7:30 a.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. local). The USA will play its first two group games at Stade Guy-Piriou in Concarneau and its third group game at Stade du Clos Gastel in Dinan Léhon.
- U.S. U-20 Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Italy U-23 Women’s National Team
Date: April 9, 2018
Competition: Women’s U-23 La Manga Tournament 2018
Venue: Field A – La Manga Club Football Centre; La Manga, Spain
Weather: 60 degrees, overcast, windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
ITA 1 0 1
ITA – Eleonora Piacezzi 11th minute
USA – Sophia Smith 22
USA – Abigail Kim (Isabel Rodriguez) 38
USA – Own Goal (Eleonora Piacezzi) 53
USA: 1-Amanda McGlynn, 2-Kiara Pickett (capt.) (13-Tara McKeown, 46), 14-Samantha Hiatt (15-Karina Rodriguez, 46), 4-Naomi Girma, 21-Isabel Rodriguez (10-Jordan Brewster, 62), 11-Taryn Torres (20-Samantha Coffey, 74), 6-Savannah DeMelo, 8-Brianna Pinto, 17-Abigail Kim (7-Penelope Hocking, 74), 3-Sophia Smith (9-Civana Kuhlmann, 62), 19-Ashley Sanchez
Subs Not Used: 5-Zoe Morse, 12-Brooke Heinsohn, 16-Viviana VIllacorta, 18-Jaelin Howell, 22-Laurel Ivory, 23-Kelsey Turnbow
Head Coach: Jitka Klimkova
ITA: 22-Noemi Fedele, 2-Giulia Bursi (7-Cristina Merli, 46), 5-Alice Tortelli, 4-Eleonora Piacezzi, 6-Sara Mella (11-Claudia Ferrato, 79), 3-Martina Lenzini (14-Debora Novellino, 59), 8-Flaminia Simonetti (13-Sara Quadrelli, 53), 10-Marta Mascarello, 17-Elisabetta Oliviero (9-Gloria Marinelli, 46), 18-Martina Piemonte, 15-Annamaria Serturini (24-Alessia Rognoni, 79)
Subs Not Used: 1-Francesca Durante, 12-Emma Guidi, 16-Federica Rizza, 19-Danila Zazzera, 20-Michela Cambiagbi, 21-Martina Brustia, 23-Andrea Rebecca Belloni
Head Coach: Nazzarena Grilli
Stats Summary: USA / ITA
Shots: 14 / 6
Shots on Goal: 9 / 3
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 11 / 9
Offside: 2 / 0
ITA – Flaminia Simonetti (caution) 75th minute
USA – Civana Kuhlmann (caution) 77
Referee: Laura Rapp (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Sofie B. Janeheim (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Rikke H. Melby (NOR)
4th Official: Malin Oiseth (NOR)