Women's Soccer U-21 National Team Wins Nordic Cup
July 29, 2002
TURKU, Finland - The U.S. Under-21 Women's Soccer National Team won its fourth consecutive Nordic Cup tournament with a dominating 3-1 victory over Germany as Marcia Wallis scored two goals and Cat Reddick added a third. The Americans, which included current Arizona State defender Amy LePeilbet made the most of the opportunity, dominating the first half while holding the Germans without a shot. It was the fifth time in the last six years that the U.S. U-21s have won the Nordic Cup, which is played annually in northern Europe. Without a sanctioned FIFA tournament for U-21 women, the Nordic Cup serves as the top competition in the world for this age group. The USA also beat Germany in 2000 championship game, 1-0.
'It's not easy to win a championship and even harder to defend one,' said U.S. head coach Jerry Smith. 'We had two goals coming into this tournament, one was to defend the championship and two was to put on a dominating performance. In the final today, against a great Germany team, we did dominate and clearly deserved the victory.'
The U.S. got on the board in the 21st minute as Joanna Lohman collected a ball on right wing and sent cross into the middle for Wallis, who powered a header across her body and into the lower left corner of the net from seven yards out. The USA continued to run at Germany in the first half, creating good chances for Aly Wagner, Reddick and Lohman, but it was Wallis who would put the USA up 2-0 just two minutes into the second half.
Defender Ally Marquand knocked a cross from the right wing that forced German goalkeeper Ursula Holl to scramble to the far post, but Wagner beat her to bouncing ball, only to have her shot blocked by the jumping 'keeper. The rebound bounced to Wallis, who roofed her shot off the underside of the crossbar and in from 10 yards out.
After pulling within one, Germany pounded away for another and took the game to the Americans for about 10 minutes, coming close to an equalizer on several occasions. Solo made another big save in the 57th minute, pushing another long-range drive around the left post that would have tied the match.
With the storm weathered, the U.S. then settled down and took back control of the match for the final 30 minutes, getting the clinching goal in the 63rd minute. It came off a short corner kick from left side, as Wagner played the ball to Veronica Zepeda, who beat her defender down end line and knocked a pass back into the middle for Christie Welsh. Welsh hit her shot first time and Reddick was framing at the far post to re-direct ball into the net from four yards out.
Germany made an admirable run after the break, taking all seven of its shots and earning all seven of its corner kicks in the second half, but Reddick's goal put an end to their championship hopes. Pohlers came into the match with five goals, and left with five, as her best chance was denied by Solo. Lohman had another solid match for the U.S. in the midfield and was the player of the tournament for the USA.
Ten of the U.S. players who played in the championship game have earned caps with the full U.S. Women's National Team, a positive indication of not only the future of the U.S. Women's National Team program, but the successful blending of young talent with the U.S. veterans by U.S. head coach April Heinrichs.
'The experience in this championship will be great for our U-21 players to draw from if they graduate to the full team to represent the U.S. in future World Cup and Olympic games,' added Smith.
LePeilbet and the rest of the U.S. players will now return home for a brief rest before starting their pre-season training camps with their respective college teams in mid-August.
U.S. UNDER-21 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Participants: United States vs. Germany
Competition: 2002 Nordic Cup Championship Game
Venue: Paavo Nurmen Stadium - Turku, Finland
Date: July 28, 2002 - 5:00 p.m. local (10:00 a.m. ET)
Weather: Sunny - 74 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1st 2nd Final
USA 1 2 3
GER 0 1 1
USA - Marcia Wallis (Joanna Lohman) 21st minute.
USA - Marcia Wallis (Aly Wagner) 47.
GER - Martina Muller (Unassisted) 52.
USA - Cat Reddick (Christie Welsh) 63.
USA -18-Hope Solo, 5-Ally Marquand, 8-Amy LePeilbet, 6-Nandi Pryce - Capt.,
4-Cat Reddick, 15- Devvyn Hawkins, 11-Joanna Lohman, 10-Aly Wagner,
19-Veronica Zepeda (13-Carli Lloyd, 69), 20-Alyssa Ramsey (12-Christie Welsh,
53), 9-Marcia Wallis (3-Abby Crumpton, 82).
GER - 1-Ursula Holl, 2-Jennifer Zietz, 3-Bianca Rech, 6-Verena Hagedorn,
8-Marion Wilmes (17-Yvonne Hartmann, 14; 14-Finni Derda, 45), 18-Jennifer
Meier, 10-Annika Machalett, 5-Navina Omilade (15-Kerstin Boschert, 75),
7-Katrin Kliehm, 11-Martina Muller, 9-Conny Pohlers - Capt.
Statistical Summary: USA GER
Shots......................... 19 7
Saves........................ 4 10
Corner Kicks............... 8 7
Fouls......................... 12 9
Offside....................... 2 3
USA - Hope Solo (caution) 54th minute.
GER - Martina Muller (caution) 78.
July 28 - Placement Matches
1st Place: USA 3, Germany 1
3rd Place: Norway 5, Denmark 1
5th Place: Sweden 3, Finland 1
7th Place: Greece 1, Iceland 1 (Iceland wins 4-1 in penalty kicks)