April 19, 2006
Story Courtesy of U.S. Soccer
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Soccer Team put together a solid all-around performance to defeat Brazil, 2-0, in a match played at the Brazilian National Team Training Center. Forward Lauren Cheney scored in the first half, and midfielder Danesha Adams added the clincher in the second half.
"We came down here and set up this tournament environment and the girls have responded even better than what I had hoped for," said U.S. U-20 WNT head coach Tim Schulz. "There was some tension out there and it got heated for a while, but the girls kept their composure and played like pros."
The young U.S. team looked a bit unsteady in the first 10 minutes as Brazil kept them pinned inside their defensive half, but the Americans then struck for the first goal against the run of play.
Midfielder Brittany Bock powered through two defenders at the right side of the penalty area and fired a shot across the face of the goal. The shot was off target, but Cheney was making a hard run to the far post and beat her defender to the bouncing ball, finishing expertly into the upper right side of the net with a first-time shot. It was Cheney's 15th goal of 2006 for the U-20s and the fifth of her U-20 international career. (Photo Gallery)
The USA played in a 4-5-1 formation in the first half with Cheney as the lone forward, but Schulz put on four substitutes at halftime, including forward Jessica Rostedt, and switched to a 4-4-2. Rostedt and Cheney, backed by attacking midfielder Allie Long, put some consisten pressure on the Brazilian defense, but Brazil also showed good possession in the match. However, the South American champs, playing without superstar goal scorer Marta who is in Sweden playing with her pro club, just could not find a way to break down the U.S. backline, which was anchored well by center backs Nikki Krzysik and Carrie Dew.
"I was excited about our team shape on defense," said Schulz. "We were very stingy and very organized, we were not giving up any holes. I am not sure how many shots Brazil had, but we were pretty tight back there."
Brazil out-shot the USA 11-7 for the match, but most of their shots came from distance and didn't trouble U.S. goalkeeper Kelsey Davis. The U.S. team put six of its seven shots on goal.
The game got a bit testy in the second half, with hard fouls coming from both sides, and the second goal came at a perfect time in the 65th minute. The play started after midfielder Tina DiMartino took a quick free kick on the right sideline, catching the Brazilians standing as Cheney powered down the right flank and into the penalty area. She cut her service back across the face of the goal, and it eluded two crashing U.S. players, but Adams was making a perfectly timed run at the far post and stretched the net with a crackling first-time shot from seven yards out.
The U.S. team did well to kill the last minutes of the game with quality ball possession and smart tactics, picking up the three points and moving into a tie for first place with Canada in the three-team Ricardo Teixeira Cup. The USA will finish the tournament with back-to-back games against Canada on April 23 and Brazil on April 24.
"I think, as athletes, we can't always ask for our bodies to go 100 percent, but we can still focus on the mental side," said Schulz of his team's last two games. "We want to focus on getting them to play sharper and smarter and mentally clean. These two games will be a good test to rely on our brains and not so much our bodies."
All three teams are preparing for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship to be held in Russia from Aug. 17 - Sept. 3.
Seventeen-year-old midfielder Tobin Heath played an excellent first half on the flank, while Long and right back Stephanie Logterman were also stellar, going the full 90 minutes. Davis picked up the shutout, making four saves, including snaring two nasty looking Brazilian shots in the second half.
In the Canada-Brazil game on April 17, Canada won, 1-0, on a penalty kick in a match played amid puddles and driving rain.
- U.S. UNDER-20 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT -
Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: Ricardo Teixeira Cup
Venue: Granja Comary - Brazilian National Team Training Center; Teresopolis, Brazil
Date: April 19, 2006; Kickoff - 10 a.m. local time / 9 a.m. ET
Weather: Cool, cloudy - 68 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
BRA 0 0 0
USA - Lauren Cheney (Brittany Bock) 10th minute.
USA - Danesha Adams (Lauren Cheney) 65th minute.
USA: 18-Kelsey Davis; 13-Stephanie Logterman, 4-Carrie Dew - Capt., 12-Nikki Kryzsik, 8-Ariel Harris (3-Sarah Wagenfuhr, 46); 10-Kelley O'Hara (17-Tina DiMartino, 46), 21-Amanda Poach (14-Jessica Rostedt, 46), 7-Brittany Bock (2-Jordan Angeli, 70), 16-Allie Long, 6-Tobin Heath (9-Danesha Adams, 46); 5-Lauren Cheney.
Subs not used: 1-Val Henderson.
Head Coach: Tim Schulz