Aug. 27, 2006
Story Courtesy of U.S. Soccer
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team put together its best performance of the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship with a highly impressive 4-1 win over defending youth world champions Germany and will now face China in a semifinal match on Thursday, Aug. 31, at Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow. Fans can follow the action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker with a kickoff of 7 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET.
Midfielder Danesha Adams scored twice, her second and third goals of the tournament, while eighteen-year-old midfielder Kelley O'Hara opened the scoring for the USA in the 36th minute. Forward Amy Rodriguez got the fourth goal in the final minute of regulation. The goals were the second of the competition for both O'Hara and Rodriguez.
The Germans were actually the aggressor in the first 30 minutes, and had several dangerous attacks, but U.S. goalkeeper Val Henderson came up with a big save just four minutes into the match after Nadine Kessler got her right foot on a corner kick from the right side. She hit a screaming volley that the U.S. `keeper held well at the near post. The Americans answered back after 11 minutes as Adams put O'Hara behind the defense on the right wing with a great weak-side pass, but her shot went wide right from 17 yards out.
The USA ended up out-shooting Germany 15-5 for the match, and put nine shots on goal to Germany's five, but the match changed for good when the Americans struck for two goals in two minutes near the end of the first half. Germany played in a 4-5-1 formation and clogged the middle of the field making it very difficult early on for the USA, which sent numerous long balls that the tightly organized Germany back line easy repelled. The Germans were even looking like they would get the first goal, as the dribbling of Fatmire Bajramaj, Anna Blaesse and Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi was problematic in the opening stages of the match.
The USA finally settled into the game after about a half hour, and the first goal came in the 36th minute against the run of play after Rodriguez had earned corner kick with a nice dribble in the right side of the penalty area. Midfielder Amanda Poach took the corner kick, but her service was cleared and came out to defender Stephanie Lopez, who played it back to Poach on the right flank. She took a touch inside and hit a bending cross with her left foot that caught the German defense pulling out. O'Hara slipped in behind the restraining line, brought the bouncing ball under control with her chest, and was all alone on goalkeeper Romina Holz. She coolly hit a left-footed volley with her laces, dipping it over Holz and into the upper right corner from 14 yards out. German appeals for offside and a handball on O'Hara went unanswered.
The Germans barely had time to regroup when the USA struck again just a minute later, once again after a corner kick had been cleared. Again it was Poach providing the service, hitting a perfectly driven ball from the right wing to the far post where Adams powered home a header from eight yards out. Holz got a piece of the ball, but the shot from the left elbow of the goal box slipped under her and into the near post. It was Poach's third assist of the tournament.
The goals staggered the Germans and energized the U.S., who had the defending champs on the ropes the rest of the half and should have scored one more in the 41st minute. This time it was O'Hara who crossed from the right flank to Adams, who sent a header back across the face of the goal to forward Lauren Cheney, but the ball glanced off her forehead from the top of the six.
The entire U.S. team did a phenomenal job of ball-winning during the match, but no one more than center defender Carrie Dew, who was a monster in the air and on the ground, winning countless challenges. Tobin Heath played another spectacular game at left back, not letting any Germans behind her while also initiating attacks very well. Nikki Krzysik teamed with Dew in the middle of the U.S. defense while Lopez was also stellar at right back.
Henderson logged her second straight commanding performance in the nets, and dove at the feet of Simone Laudehr in the 25th minute after the German forward had slipped by Lopez, swiping the ball right off her feet. She snuffed her again in the 59th minute, sending the German flying in the air, and also made a big-time save off of Kessler's blast in the 75th minute, getting a glove on the ball to push it off the crossbar. The ball hit Henderson on the way back, but Stephanie Lopez was able to clear it out of danger. Henderson was also solid on crosses, catching a corner kick at the end to end any chance of a German comeback.
Cheney could have made it 3-0 in the 58th minute as the USA stole the ball in Germany's defensive third and Rodriguez put her in on a breakaway with a nice slip pass. Cheney drove to the net and tried to roll the ball past Holz into the right corner, but the German `keeper did well on her dive to snag the shot.
That missed looked costly when Germany pulled a goal back in the 65th minute. The Germans had been struck a blow in the first half when forward and leading scorer Blaesse was injured and had to come off in the 33rd minute, but she was replaced by Lydia Neumann, who would eventually get the German goal. It developed when Laudehr slipped a pass into the left side of the U.S. penalty area and the tall forward did well to stay onside. Lopez sprinted to recover and was almost was able to toe the ball away, but Neumann slid well and finished from 12 yards with the outside of her right foot into the right corner and just out of the reach of Henderson's fingertips.
Just when it seemed that the Germans might get back in the game, the Americans answered with Adams' second goal, that one coming in the 71st minute. Tina DiMartino, a 62nd minute substitute for Cheney who had received a yellow card in the 57th, raced down the right flank and bent a cross on the ground. Adams out-ran her defender and finished smartly into the left corner from five yards out.
The USA did very well to possess the ball during the final 19 minutes of the game, making the Germans chase, while absorbing their pressure and counter-attacking. The final goal came that way as Rodriguez raced in behind the pressing Germans on a 40-yard breakaway. She dribbled too close to Holz, who closed the space and saved her initial shot, but the U.S. forward ran the ball down in the left side of the box, blew past Juliane Hoefler to towards the end line and spun her shot into the right corner from a sharp angle at the left elbow of the six-yard box.
The win avenged the USA's loss to Germany at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand where the eventual champions defeated the USA, 3-1. The win was the second straight over a European team in the tournament after the USA defeated France, 1-0, in its final Group D match. The USA now travels back to Moscow to meet China in what will be the second semifinal of the night on Aug. 31. The win also marked the third straight semifinal berth for the USA at a FIFA youth women's tournament. The USA won the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Canada in 2002 and finished third in Thailand in 2004.
In the other quarterfinal played before the U.S. match, North Korea used a dramatic 90th minute header goal from Hong Myong Gum off a corner kick to defeat France, 2-1, and advance to their country's first semifinal in FIFA tournament history, where they will meet Brazil. France's goal was the first the Koreans have given up this tournament. The goal Brazil surrendered in its 2-1 quarterfinal win over Nigeria on Aug. 26 was also its first goal allowed of the competition.
USA -- 1-Val Henderson; 11-Tobin Heath, 15-Carrie Dew, 4-Nikki Krzysik, 6-Stephanie Lopez - C; 19-Kelley O'Hara (2-Jordan Angeli, 48), 7-Amanda Poach, 10-Brittany Bock (14-Allie Long, 48), 9-Danesha Adams; 8-Lauren Cheney (13-Tina DiMartino, 62), 12-Amy Rodriguez.
Subs not used: 3-Stephanie Logterman, 5-Sarah Wagenfuhr, 16-Erin Hardy, 17-Jessica Rostedt, 18-Kelsey Davis, 20-Casey Nogueira, 21-Joanna Haig.
Head Coach: Tim Schulz
GER -- 12-Romina Holz; 2-Janina Haye (9-Ann-Christin Angel, 78), 5-Babett Peter; 13-Juliane Hoefler, 7-Fatmire Bajramaj, 8-Lena Goessling, 10-Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi, 20-Nadine Kessler, 11-Simone Laudehr (15-Jennifer Oster, 76), 14- Anna Blaess (17-Lydia Neumann, 33), 18-Juliane Maier.
Subs not used: 1-Tessa Rinkes, 16-Josephine Schlanke, 19-Corina Schroeder, 21-Verena Brammer;
Head Coach: Maren Meinert
Suspended (2): 3-Monique Kerschowski, 4-Carolin Schiewe.