ALAJUELA, Costa Rica (Aug. 11, 2022) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team opened its FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup run with a convincing 3-0 victory against Ghana as forwards Michelle Cooper, Alyssa Thompson and Ally Sentnor scored on the second matchday of the tournament.
The USA controlled the tempo from the start and had the vast majority of possession while piling up an advantage in both shots and shots on goal against a gritty Ghana team that went into every tackle with conviction. Ghana had four yellow cards in addition to one red card over the course of the match.
After a few attacking threats early, the USA opened the scoring in the 11th minute when forward Jaedyn Shaw battled well to keep possession in the final third and passed to outside back Laney Rouse on the right flank. Rouse beat her defender with a dynamic dribble out of pressure in the corner and sent a left-footed cross deep into the box to meet Cooper at the far post. The U.S. captain then finished with a pin-point header from close range and the Americans were off and running.
Ghana’s day took a difficult turn in the 31st after midfielder Jacqueline Owusu, one of five Ghana players with professional experience, was shown a red card for a hard tackle from behind on midfielder Korbin Albert. Just seven minutes later, the USA doubled its lead when Cooper played a low, driven cross into the penalty box that Thompson finished into the roof of the net from just outside the six-yard box. The Americans almost added a third just before the halftime break, but Albert’s first-time attempt from the edge of the penalty box smashed off the underside of the crossbar and out.
The USA came out strong again in the second half, stringing together a few chances in the early minutes. In the 51st , Sentnor, who had come into the match as a halftime substitute for Cooper just minutes earlier, found the back of the net after a forced turnover near midfield that resulted in a counterattack with a brilliant run of passing play. Sentnor’s goal was her first international tally at the U-20 level and came almost exactly a year out from tearing her ACL.
Three minutes later, Ghana almost went down to nine players after midfielder Cecilia Nyama was initially shown a red card for another tackle from behind, but a VAR review overturned the call to a yellow card. The USA continued its pressing play, which combined with stout defensive performances from the back line, left Ghana with no shots or shots on target in the second half.
The U-20s will now face Netherlands for the first time in a U-20 World Cup on Sunday, Aug. 14 at Estadio Nacional in San José (7 p.m. ET; FS1) and finish the group stage against Japan on Wednesday, Aug. 17 back at Estadio Morera Soto (7 p.m. ET; FS2). Fans can follow the U-20 WYNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com, Facebook, Twitter (@USYNT) and Instagram (@USYNT).
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
- USA – Michelle Cooper (Laney Rouse), 11th minute – Midfielder Jaedyn Shaw battled well to keep the ball just inside the final third and found Rouse on the run with a calculated pass down the right wing. Rouse shook off her defender with skill and sent in a left-footed cross that Cooper buried with a header from three yards out to open the scoring. USA 1, GHA 0
- USA – Alyssa Thompson (Michelle Cooper), 38th minute – Cooper received the ball on the left flank and sent a driven, low cross toward Thompson just outside the six-yard box. Thompson held off her marking defender well and swept the ball into the net from close range with her left foot. USA 2, GHA 0
- USA – Ally Sentnor (Olivia Moultrie), 51st minute – The USA forced a turnover near midfield and quickly countered, with Sentnor, playing center forward, checking back to receive the ball and then playing it back to Moultrie, who in turn played Sentnor into the box with a perfectly weighted pass. Sentnor, who was on the field for less than six minutes, then stretched to fire a strike from 12 yards out that hit the goalkeeper and rolled behind her into the net. USA 3, GHA 0
- Forward Michelle Cooper’s opening goal marked her ninth international goal and first in a World Cup.
- Cooper became the first Black woman to captain a U.S. team in a FIFA Women’s World Cup at any age level.
- Forward Alyssa Thompson’s goal marked her fourth international goal and first in a World Cup.
- The match was the World Cup debut for every player on the field except for midfielder Talia DellaPeruta and forward Trinity Byars, both of whom played in a match at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
- DellaPeruta wore the captain’s armband after Cooper was subbed at halftime. When she went out, she passed it to goalkeeper Mia Justus.
- Justus, who is a cousin of legendary U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard, recorded her fourth international shutout in her World Cup debut.
- Midfielder Olivia Moultrie, one of two professional players on the U.S. roster, was named Player of the Game by the FIFA Technical Committee.
- The USA roster is made up of one high school aged-player in Thompson, 18 collegiate players, and two professionals in Moultrie of Portland Thorns FC and Jaedyn Shaw of San Diego Wave FC.
-U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team vs. Ghana U-20 Women’s National Team
Date: Aug. 11, 2022
Competition: 2022 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup – Group D
Venue: Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto; Alajuela, Costa Rica
Kickoff: 11 a.m. local (1 p.m. ET)
Weather: 75 degrees, cloudy, breezy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
GHA 0 0 0
USA – Michelle Cooper (Laney Rouse) 11th minute
USA – Alyssa Thompson (Michelle Cooper) 38
USA – Ally Sentnor (Olivia Moultrie) 51
USA: 1-Mia Justus; 2-Laney Rouse, 4-Emily Mason, 16-Lauren Flynn, 18-Samar Guidry (3-Ayo Oke, 53); 6-Talia DellaPeruta (8-Andrea Kitahata, 62), 13-Olivia Moultrie, 19-Korbin Albert (14-Carina Lageyre, 84); 7-Alyssa Thompson (15-Trinity Byars, 53), 9-Michelle Cooper (Capt.) (20-Ally Sentnor, 46), 10-Jaedyn Shaw
Substitutes Not Used: 5-Lilly Reale, 11-Simone Jackson, 12-Neeku Purcell, 21-Teagan Wy
Head Coach: Tracey Kevins
GHA: 16-Grace Buoadu; 2-Abena Opoku, 5-Susan Duah, 14-Azumah Bugre, 4-Rebecca Atinga; 7-Suzzy Teye (18-Mafia Nyame, 79), 6-Jacqueline Owusu (Ejection, 31), 20-Cecilia Nyamam (19-Louisa Aniwaa, 71), 17-Sharon Sampson (8-Mukarama Abdulai, 46); 9-Doris Boaduwaa, 13-Salamatu Abdulai (11-Rahama Jafaru, 79)
Substitutes not used: 3-Ayisha Yakubu, 10-Afia Nyarko, 12-Anasthesia Achiaa, 15-Ophelia Amponsah, 21-Farahana Ziblim,
Suspended: 1-Cynthia Konlan
Head coach: Ben Fokuo
Stats Summary: USA / GHA
Shots: 21 / 5
Shots on Goal: 8 / 0
Saves: 0 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 2 / 9
Offside: 2 / 1
GHA -- Jacqueline Owusu (Ejection) 31st minute
GHA -- Azumah Bugre (Caution) 34
USA – Laney Rouse (Caution) 35
GHA -- Susan Duah (Caution) 42
GHA -- Cecilia Nyamam (Caution) 54
GHA – Rahama Jafaru (Caution) 84
Referee: Lara Lee (AUS)
1st Assistant Referee: Thi Le Trinh Truong (VIE)
2nd Assistant Referee: Heva Saddieh (PLE)
4th Official: Cheryl Foster (WAL)