Author Topic: U.S. women edge Australia in Peace Queen Cup soccer  (Read 978 times)

Offline David

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U.S. women edge Australia in Peace Queen Cup soccer
« on: June 15, 2008, 11:08:01 PM »
SUWON, South Korea – The U.S. women's team beat Australia 2-1 in its opening match of the 2008 Peace Queen Cup on goals by Natasha Kai in the first half and Abby Wambach 13 minutes from the end of the game.

After a ragged start, the top-ranked Americans got going thanks to midfielder Heather O'Reilly. She created the first goal after collecting a ball on the right wing, accelerating down the flank, beating a defender and sending a dangerous chip into the penalty area. Kai was making a cutting run and slipped in front of a defender to beat goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri to the ball. Kai poked it by her from 6 yards into the lower left corner.

The goal was Kai's team-leading 11th of 2008 and 19th of her young international career.

Kai earlier was forced out of the game momentarily with a cut under her left eye.

The equalizer came in the 57th minute. Amy Chapman chipped a cross from the right wing that landed among a group of U.S. defenders, but took an awkward spinning bounce to the foot of Heather Garriock. The Australia midfielder got only a piece of the ball on her shot, but it was enough to send the well-placed change-up trickling past goalkeeper Hope Solo.

As she often does, though, Wambach came through with a clutch goal, her 96th international score.

Aly Wagner, seeing her first action of 2008 after a long recovery from a double-hernia operation, sent a pass to the back post just outside the 6-yard box. Wambach rose over two defenders and with her back to the goal, sent a shot off the back of her head. The ball sneaked past the diving Barbieri and through a small gap into the net.

“Australia is good in the air,” Wambach said. “They are good putting a body on you and trying to do their best to clear the ball and they were doing really well up until that one play. I just got a little bit higher and I think my body actually turned around a little bit. It went off the (ponytail).”

The United States plays Brazil on Tuesday. The Brazilians beat Italy 2-1 Sunday.

“When you go into a tournament it's always good to have a win instead of a tie,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “That is good for our confidence and we go from there. We will not only look at the result, but also how we did in attacking and defending.”