Jan. 19, 2008
Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer
GUANGZHOU, China - The U.S. Women's National Team dispatched Finland with little drama in its second match of the 2008 Four Nations Tournament, getting two goals from Lindsay Tarpley, one from Lauren Cheney and one from Angie Woznuk in a 4-1 victory that set up a clash with host China on January 20 for the championship.
In the first match of the day, China tied Canada, 0-0, giving the hosts four points after two games. That means a win or tie for the United States (six points) against China on Sunday will give the Americans the 2008 Four Nations title. It will be the third consecutive year that the two countries have met for the title at this tournament. Kickoff at Guangdong Olympic Center Stadium is set for 3:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET)
U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage made four changes from the starting lineup that defeated Canada, 4-0, two days ago, inserting outside backs Stephanie Cox and debutante Tobin Heath as well as goalkeeper Briana Scurry, while giving Tarpley a run as an attacking midfielder. The move paid off as Tarpley banged in back-to-back goals within a three-minute span late in the first half after the U.S. had peppered the Finland goal with shots during the first half hour.
Carli Lloyd, who played a fine match in the center of the U.S. midfield, started the movement on the first goal, weaving around a defender before slipping a pass to Tarpley, who played a quick touch to Abby Wambach in the middle of the penalty area. Wambach bulled her way through a defender before both players went down in a heap, but the ball settled perfectly for the trailing Tarpley, who poked the ball into the net from seven yards out in the 37th minute.
Wambach served up the second goal as well, dribbling into the right side of the penalty area and rolling a perfect pass to the onrushing Tarpley, who manufactured a perfect first-time finish, powering her right-footed shot across the goal mouth and into the lower left corner from 15 yards out for her second goal of the game.
The goals, which gave Tarpley four for the tournament and 21 for her career, marked the first time she has scored two goals in back-to-back games. She also becomes the 16th player in U.S. history to score 20 or more goals in her career.
Amy Rodriguez, making her second career start for the USA, was dangerous running at the Finland defense and had a breakaway snuffed at her feet by Finland goalkeeper Tina-Riika Korpela just before halftime, which the USA entered with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
In the second half Finland gave the U.S. a scare, cutting the lead in half in the 54th minute on a rare foray into the USA's defensive third. The ball ended up at the feet of Essi Sainio just inside the penalty box at the right of the arc, and her spinning shot squirted through U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry's hands and into the net, giving Finland its first goal against the USA since 1999 and only its second-ever score in 13 all-time meetings.
The only other scary moment for the USA came in the 67th minute with the score still at 2-1 when Finland almost tied the game. An Anna-Kaisa Rantanen free-kick from 35 yards out thundered off the crossbar, but bounced away.
Two minutes later, the USA went up 3-1 on Lauren Cheney's second career goal. Substitute Christina DiMartino, in her first-ever appearance for the full National Team, skillfully maneuvered around a Finnish player on the right wing, beat another to the end line and then sent a perfect rolling cross into the seam for Cheney, who buried her shot into the left corner from eight yards out. The combination of the two college teammates at UCLA gave Cheney her second career goal in just her third career cap.
The USA out-shot Finland 15-2 in the first half and 19-4 overall, creating 16 total corner kicks, most won through the hard work of Heather O'Reilly down the right wing. The Americans found little success on their corner kicks until the 15th attempt was drilled into the middle by Cox with 10 minutes left in the game. Woznuk, who was playing in just her second international match and first since 2005, hit a sizzling first-time volley with the inside of her right foot. Korpela could only get a palm on the ball, sending it into the roof of the net and giving Woznuk her first-ever international goal. That goal was also the work of college teammates as Cox and Woznuk played at the University of Portland last fall.
Sundhage made all five allowed substitutions in the match, also sending on Lori Chalupny in the 72nd minute and Leslie Osborne in the 74th. Playing 90 minutes at left back, the 19-year-old Heath showed early in the game that the naiveté of youth can breed confidence, nut-megging a Finland player 30 yards from the U.S. goal on the left wing with her first-ever touches at the full international level before connecting with a midfielder. Central defenders Christie Rampone and Ali Krieger, who was playing in just her second-ever international game, both went 90 minutes for the second consecutive match.