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U.S. Women win Algarve Cup against Iceland

March 9, 2011 03:00 PM

•  Carli Lloyd, Lauren Cheney, Heather O'Reilly and Alex Morgan Score
•  USA Wins Algarve Cup for the Eighth Time
•  Morgan Wins Top Scorer Award
•  U.S. WNT Will Regroup in Late March for Match against England on April 2 in London

FARO, Portugal (March 9, 2011) – The U.S. Women's National Team came from a goal down to claim the championship of the 2011 Algarve Cup with a 4-2 victory against Iceland as four different players scored.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd had an early goal, forward Lauren Cheney tallied in stoppage time of the first half, midfielder Heather O'Reilly bagged the game-winner 10 minutes into the second half and forward Alex Morgan sealed the game in the 87th minute with her third goal of the tournament.

While several players had three goals in the tournament, including Lloyd, Morgan was awarded the top scorer award based on the playing the fewest amount of minutes during the tournament of the players that tallied three times.

The USA dominated the game, outshooting Iceland 24-8, and aside from a two-minute span in the middle of the first half when Iceland scored twice to take a 2-1 lead, the Americans controlled the match with some excellent ball possession.

The teams traded chances in the first five minutes. O'Reilly burst down the right wing just three minutes into the game and rolled a pass to Cheney in the slot, but it was just a tad behind her and she swung and missed before the ball was cleared away.

In the fifth minute, the U.S. defense let a long throw-in bounce inside the penalty area and U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart couldn't corral it. Katrín Omarsdóttir ran onto the bouncing ball and sent a header off the crossbar from close range before the USA could scramble the ball away.

Lloyd tallied 10 minutes into the game on a world-class strike from 20 yards out. Amy Rodriguez had collected a pass with her back to the goal and turned toward net. She touched the ball forward and Lloyd swooped in to sweep the ball between two closing defenders. She took another hard touch to her left to lose another defender and ripped a thunderbolt with her left foot that flew across the face of the goal and ripped into the side netting at the upper corner.

Iceland shocked the U.S. with goals in the 26th and 28th minutes to take the lead on the Americans for the first time in history. The first came on a nice attack down the left wing which led to a perfect cross from Hallbera Gisladóttir on the ground to Margret Vidarsdóttir, who touched the ball back to Katrín Omarsdóttir. She pounded a shot at Barnhart who knocked down the first attempt, but the rebound went right back to Omarsdóttir who plowed her second chance into the middle of the goal from 10 yards away.

Just about two minutes later Dóra Larusdóttir lofted in a pass from the right side that was headed on by to Omarsdóttir to Gisladóttir on top of the left side of the penalty box. She managed to avoid Christie Rampone while cutting inside, then squared up on Barnhart and bent a perfect shot into the right corner from 16 yards out. Those two scoring sequences would prove to be Iceland's only shots on goal of the game as the U.S. back line, led by Rampone and Rachel Buehler, for the most part kept Iceland's attacking players in front of them for the entire match.

The USA tied the game at 2-2 in stoppage time of the first half with literally seconds left before the whistle. It came off one of many excellent attacks on the day. The Americans swung the ball around to the right side where Rodriguez laid a perfect pass into space outside the left side of the penalty area for Rapinoe to run onto and cross. She sent a bullet to the near post and Cheney spectacularly volleyed from six yards into the near post. It was Cheney's 13th career international goal.

Iceland didn't even get to kick off before German referee Bibiana Steinhaus blew the whistle for halftime.

The game-winner came in the 55th minute as Rapinoe spun a deft long ball down left wing with the outside of her right foot to Abby Wambach, who had come on at halftime. Wambach ran past her defender, cut to the near post and rolled a perfect pass into the slot for the crashing Shannon Boxx. Rodriguez dummied, letting it roll through her legs to Boxx and her first-time blast from the penalty spot was knocked down by Iceland goalkeeper Gudbjorg Gunnarsdóttir. O'Reilly was first to the rebound to tap it in from three yards out. It was just rewards for O'Reilly, who had an excellent tournament running the right flank for the USA and had come close to scoring in all three previous matches.

The USA dominated possession throughout the 90 minutes and only an occasional Iceland counter attack or free kick into the U.S. penalty area caused any significant danger. However, Iceland played tough defense, demonstrating how the team had advanced to the championship game with wins against Sweden, China and Denmark.

In the final 30 minutes, the USA worked hard to secure a clinching goal. In the 60th minute, Lloyd fired just wide right from 30 yards. In the 67th minute, Wambach nodded down a free kick with her head to Rodriguez, but Gunnarsdóttir saved her point blank shot at the right post and it bounced out for a corner kick.

Morgan came on in the 74th minute and immediately started causing problems for Iceland's backs. In the 76th, she cut in from the left flank and put Rapinoe in a nice position to score near the left post, but the U.S. midfielder saw her shot from a sharp angle pushed away by the goalkeeper.

Three minutes later, Morgan shot just wide right from 16 after yet another nice attacking build up. She finally sealed the game in the 87th after Wambach had won a header off a long ball that flew up in the air. Morgan then headed it up in the air again and into the penalty area where she fought off two Iceland defenders to work the ball free. She finally settled it and slid to power her shot under the goalkeeper and into the net from nine yards out. The goal was the seventh of Morgan's international career in 15 appearances.

While Barnhart did not have much shot-stopping to do, she was excellent in the air on lofted crosses and had numerous excellent clearances up the field with her feet throughout the match.

Wambach played very well holding possession up top after coming off the bench in the second half for the fourth straight game. She had a good chance in stoppage time after substitute Lindsay Tarpley slipped a short pass to her near the top of the goal box. As Wambach poked the ball toward goal, Gunnarsdóttir was right there to block it and Morgan couldn't latch onto the rebound.

Outside of the goals, Iceland had its best chance in stoppage time as 85th minute substitute Dagny Brynjarsdóttir slid hard for a near post cross from the right side and sent it just outside the goal.

The USA was playing in its 12th Algarve Cup championship game (11th since the tournament went to eight teams in Groups A and B) and ninth in a row. The championship marked the eighth time the USA has won this tournament and the eighth overall tournament championship under Sundhage.

The USA has faced six different teams in the final: Germany (three times), Sweden, Denmark (twice), Norway (three times) China (twice) and now Iceland.

Japan took third place in the tournament, defeating Sweden 2-1. Norway and Denmark played to a 0-0 draw in the fifth place match before Norway prevailed 5-4 on penalty kicks. In the seventh place match, China downed Wales 2-1. In the match for ninth place, Portugal defeated Finland 2-1 and in the match for 11th place, Chile and Romania played to a 1-1 tie before Chile prevailed 6-5 in penalties.

Up next is the USA's first trip to England and a match against the hosts on April 2 at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road. The USA will leave for Europe on March 21 to train before the match.

The USA is preparing for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup that will take place from June 26-July 17 in nine venues across Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen. The USA will face Korea DPR, Colombia and Sweden in first round play.

The 16 nations competing are: host Germany, Korea DPR, Japan and Australia from Asia and Sweden, Norway, France and England from Europe, New Zealand from Oceania, the USA, Canada and Mexico from CONCACAF, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea from Africa and Brazil and Colombia from South America.

- U.S. Women's National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women's National Team vs. Iceland
Date: March 9, 2011
Competition: 2011 Algarve Cup – Championship Game
Venue: Stadium Algarve; Faro, Portugal
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,500
Weather: 52 degrees – overcast, breezy

Scoring Summary:
1 2 F
USA 2 2 4
ISL 2 0 2

USA – Carli Lloyd (Amy Rodriguez) 10th minute
ISL – Katrín Omarsdóttir 26
ISL -- Hallbera Gisladóttir (Katrín Omarsdóttir) 28
USA – Lauren Cheney (Megan Rapinoe) 45+1
USA – Heather O'Reilly (Shannon Boxx) 55
USA – Alex Morgan (Abby Wambach) 87

USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 11-Ali Krieger (14-Stephanie Cox, 67), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 19-Rachel Buehler, 22-Becky Sauerbrunn; 9-Heather O'Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 85); 12-Lauren Cheney (20-Abby Wambach, 46), 8-Amy Rodriguez (13-Alex Morgan, 74)
Subs not used: 16-Lori Lindsey, 17-Tobin Heath, 21-Kelley O'Hara, 24-Ashlyn Harris, 25-Whitney Engen
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

ISL: 12-Gudbjorg Gunnarsdóttir; 2-Sif Altadóttir, 3-Ólina Vidarsdóttir (19-Thelma Einarsdóttir, 37), 5-Hallbera Gisladóttir (14-Greta Samuelsdóttir, 63), 8-Katrín Johnsdóttir; 4-Edda Gardarsdóttir, 6-Katrín Omarsdóttir (16-Fanndís Fridriksdóttir, 61), 7-Sara Gunnarsdóttir (15-Malfridur Sigurdardóttir, 91+), 10-Dóra Larusdóttir (13-Rakel Honnundóttir, 69); 20-Thórunn Jonsdóttir (17-Dagny Brynjarsdóttir, 85, 9-Margret Vidarsdóttir
Subs not used: 1-Thóra Helgadóttir, 11-Rakel Logadóttir, 18-Berglind Bjorg Thorvaldsdóttir
Head Coach: Sigurdur Eyjolfsson

Statistical Summary: USA / ISL
Shots: 24 / 8
Shots on Goal: 9 / 3
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 0
Fouls: 11 / 7
Offside: 6 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution) 89th minute

Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Kathrin Rafalski (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Marina Wozniak (GER)
Fourth Official: Carol Ann Chenard (CAN)

Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

Algarve Cup Placement Matches
11th Place Match: Romania 1, Chile 1 (Chile wins 6-5 in penalty kicks)
9th Place Match: Portugal 2, Finland 1
7th Place Match: China 2, Wales 1
5th Place Match: Norway 0, Denmark 0 (Norway wins 5-4 in penalty kicks)
3rd Place Match: Japan 2, Sweden 1
Championship: USA 4, Iceland 2

Algarve Cup Final Standings
1. USA
2. Iceland
3. Japan
4. Sweden
5. Norway
6. Denmark
7. China
8. Wales
9. Portugal
10. Finland
11. Chile
12. Romania




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