August 3, 1999
ST. JORN, Iceland -
STJORN, Iceland (Monday, Aug. 2, 1999) - The United States Under-21 Women's National Team opened the 1999 Nordic Cup with a 1-0 victory over Finland as a first-half goal from Jen Streiffer (Notre Dame/Baton Rouge, La.) provided the winning margin in the world's top competition for Under-21 women.
Streiffer's 20-yard strike in the 22nd minute flew from left to right and struck the net just inside the right post. The goal was all the USA would need as the American defense limited Finland to just three shots. Streiffer is playing in her third consecutive Nordic Cup. It was Strieffer's goal in sudden death overtime against Norway in Denmark two summer's ago that won the Nordic Cup for the USA, 1-0.
"We were pleased with the result," said U.S. Head Coach Lauren Gregg, whose team sits second in Group 2 behind Denmark, which defeated Germany, 3-1. "Finland's low pressure and condensed defense can be frustrating to play against, but our players stayed focused, got a goal and got the job done."
The USA was without star forward Susan Bush (North Carolina/Houston, Tex.) who strained the MCL in her right knee during a scrimmage in the USA's pre-Nordic Cup training camp in Pennsylvania. She will probably miss the USA's next match against Germany on Wed., Aug. 4, but is expected back in the lineup against Denmark on Aug. 6. The group winners will play for the gold medal on Aug. 8. The Americans are trying to win back the Nordic Cup title, relinquished last year to Norway in a 2-1 loss in the title game.
The U.S. defense, anchored by captain Michelle French (University of Portland/Kent, Wash.) and Danielle Slaton (Santa Clara/San Jose, Calif.) was stellar in shutting down the Finnish attack and allowing little opportunity to equalize. Goalkeeper Lakeysia Beene (Notre Dame/Gold River, Calif.) made two saves to earn the shutout. The match also featured Nordic Cup debuts from 18-year old Lauren Orlandos (University of Portland/Lake Forest, Calif.), 17-year old Veronica Zepeda (Claremont Stars/Riverside, Calif.) and 17-year old Aleisha Cramer (Colorado Rush/Lakewood, Colo.).
"Our central midfield of Aly Wagner (Santa Clara/San Jose, Calif.) and Jen Streiffer really helped control the pace of the game and kept a rhythm for us against their direct style," added Gregg. "Meredith Florance (North Carolina/Dallas, Tex.) was a tremendous asset in the game. Her mobility really stretched their defense."
The USA faces what amounts to a "must-win" game against Germany on Wednesday as one loss will likely eliminate the Americans from title game contention.
"Germany will be the most experienced team in the Nordic Cup with six players from their 1999 Women's World Team," said Gregg. "We'll need to be organized defensively, prepared for the pace and keep doing what we are doing well. The key for the USA will be in dictating how the game is played."
In other Group 1 action, Norway proved a rude guest in hammering host Iceland, 7-0, while Sweden downed Australia, 3-1.
1999 U.S. UNDER-21 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Participants: U.S. Under-21 Womens National Team vs. Finland Competition: 1999 U-21 Nordic Cup Championship Venue: Stjorn, Iceland Date: Aug. 2, 1999 Attendance: 100 Weather: 72 degrees - Sunny, turned foggy
1st 2nd Final
United States 1 0 1
Finland 0 0 0
USA - Jenny Streiffer, (unassisted), 22.
Lineups: USA - 1-Lakeysia Beene, 3-Ronnie Fair, 11-Michelle French (c), 8-Lauren Orlandos, 15-Danielle Slaton, 7-Aly Wagner, 6-Jen Grubb (10-Aleisha Cramer, 46), 12-Jenny Streiffer, 2-Veronica Zepeda (14-Beth Keller, 57), 4-Meredith Florance, 5-Raven McDonald (9-Venus James, 69).
FIN - 12-Johanna Levosalo, 3-Jessica Julin, 5-Jessica Thorn, 2-Petra Vaelma, 16-Sani Ylitalo, 14- Salla Ranta (15-Maria Lind, 83), 11-Elisa Simonen (8-Julia Uusmalmi, 71), 13-Minna Tuominen, 7-Hanna Laine, 10-Susanna Heikari (17-Hilla Rantala, 68), 9-Laura Kalmari.
Statistical Summary: USA FIN Shots . . . . . . . .13 3 Saves . . . . . . . . 2 8 Corner Kicks . . . . .7 5 Fouls . . . . . . . . 7 6 Offside . . . . . . . 5 0