CONCARNEAU, France (Aug. 6, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team fell to Japan 1-0 in a tightly-contested Group C match at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
In the World Cup opener for both teams, the USA had its chances to earn at least a point, but in the end fell victim to a long-range effort from Honoka Hayashi in the 76th minute that flew over leaping U.S. goalkeeper Laurel Ivory, skimmed off the bottom of the crossbar and bounced over the line.
The USA will take on Paraguay in its second Group C game on Thurs. Aug. 9 at 1:30 p.m. ET (FS2, UNIVERSO). Paraguay fell to Spain, 4-1, in the other Group C game of the afternoon.
Both teams took time finding their rhythm in the first half. The USA pushed forward early with a few dangerous runs, but both defenses were stout and limited any real scoring opportunities.
Japan nearly took the lead in the 30th minute when a mishit clearance landed at the feet of forward Saori Takarada and her looping header hit the crossbar. Japan kept the ball alive in front of the goal and sent another looping header on fame that Ivory saved spectacularly, flying to tip it into the air and the caught it on the way down before she was smashed into the goal by a Japanese player, and a foul was called.
Aside from a header off a corner kick that midfielder Jaelin Howell pushed wide early on, forward Sophia Smith had the best U.S. opportunity of the first half when she raced into the left side of the box in the 41st minute. Japan goalkeeper Hannah Stambaugh was quick off her line to snuff out the shot to keep the game scoreless.
Japan took a bit more of the attacking initiative in the second half, but only threated the goal a handful of times and could not get behind the U.S. defense due to some excellent play from center backs Samantha Hiatt and Naomi Girma as well as outside backs Isabel Rodriguez and Kiara Pickett.
The USA’s best chance to take the lead came in the 70th minute when substitute Abigail Kim sprinted down the right side and crossed into the middle, but forward Erin Gilroy couldn’t turn her well-struck header on goal.
After Hayashi’s wonder strike, the USA pushed hard for the equalizer and had five quality chances to knot the match.
In the 80th minute, substitute Brianna Pinto ran onto a bouncing ball behind the Japanese defense but spun her shot wide. In the 86th minute, Kim got all the way around the defense on the right side but brought the ball too deep and her near post attempt was slapped away by Stambaugh.
In the 90th minute, Howell had a looped header that was dropping into the upper right corner slapped away by the Japanese goalkeeper. The USA had its best chance to tie as Howell’s header off a corner kick in stoppage time was flying straight into the center of the goal before a Japanese defender cleared it off the line with her head.
The USA’s final chance came when Smith was fouled running at goal in the second minute of stoppage time, but then struck her free kick from 28 yards high and wide.
While the U.S. had more possession in the match and far more completed passes, Japan out-shot the USA 14-10, and had four shots on goal to the USA’s three.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Honoka Hayashi, 76th minute: Japan scored the game’s only goal on a well-struck shot from distance as Hayashi pushed through a tackle in midfield and let loose a screamer that flew over U.S. goalkeeper Laurel Ivory, struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down into the goal. USA 0, JPN 1 FINAL
USA – Laurel Ivory, 7th minute: Japan earned its first real opportunity of the day when it pounced on a loose ball deep in U.S. territory. Takarada came flying towards the net, and Ivory came out to meet her. Both went for a tackle to win the ball, and Ivory got the better of it, sending the ball flying out of bounds.
USA – Laurel Ivory, 34th minute: Hinata Miyazawa got free down the left wing and sent a cross into the box. Defender Samantha Hiatt was there for the clearance attempt, but it dropped at the feet of Saori Takarada. Her header attempt hit the crossbar, and the rebound was kept alive by a Japanese player to set up another close-range header, but this time Ivory jumped to get a hand on the ball to send it upwards. She caught the ball as it came back down and held on to it as a Japanese player crashed into her.
JPN – Hannah Stambaugh, 41st minute: Forward Erin Gilroy’s played a nice pass into the penalty box for Smith on the left side, but Stambaugh came out bravely to deny the sliding shot with a point blank save.
- U.S. U-20 Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Date: August 6, 2018
Competition: 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – Group C
Venue: Stade Guy-Piriou; Concarneau, France
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local time)
Weather: 83 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
JPN 0 1 1
JPN – Honoka Hayashi 76th minute
USA: 1-Laurel Ivory; 2-Ashley Sanchez (17-Abigail King, 64), 4-Naomi Girma, 9-Sophia Smith, 10-Savannah DeMelo (8-Brianna Pinto, 73), 11-Viviana Villacorta, 13-Kiara Pickett, 14-Isabel Rodriguez (20-Emily Fox, 84), 16-Samantha Hiatt (capt.), 18-Jaelin Howell, 19-Erin Gilroy
Subs not used: 12-Amanda McGlynn, 21-Angelina Anderson, 3-Tara McKeown, 5-Zoe Morse, 6-Penelope Hocking, 7-Alexa Spaanstra, 15-Taryn Torres
Head coach: Jitka Klimkova
JPN: 18-Hannah Stambaugh; 4-Moeka Minami (capt.), 5-Riko Ushijima, 6-Hana Takahashi, 7-Honoka Hayashi (8-Yui Fukuta, 89), 9-Hinata Miyazawa, 10-Fuka Nagano, 11-Saori Takarada (20-Jun Endo, 61), 13-Asato Miyagawa (14-Mami Muraoka, 84), 17-Nanami Kitamura, 19-Riko Ueki,
Subs not used: 21-Mai Fukuta, 1-Aguri Suzuki, 2-Nana Ono, 3-Miyu Takahira, 12-Yurina Imai, 15-Mizuka Sato, 16-Fuka Kono
Head coach: Futoshi Ikeda
Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 10 / 14
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 6 / 12
Offside: 2 / 3
USA - Savannah DeMelo (caution) 40th minute
Referee: Gladys Lengwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (MAD)
Assistant Referee 2: Queency Victoire (MRI)
4th Official: Lidya Tafesse Abebe (ETH)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Jaelin Howell