U.S. Under-21s Blank Iceland, 3-0
July 23, 2003
RANDERS, Denmark - The U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team dominated Iceland in its second Group A match at the 2003 Nordic Cup and came away with a 3-0 victory, which combined with a 1-1 tie between Norway and Denmark, put the USA in the championship game with one group match still remaining. It is the seventh consecutive year that the U.S. U-21s have advanced to the final of the Nordic Cup, the top competition in the world for U-21 women.
The USA will face Norway on Friday (July 25), but as the U.S. has the full six points from two wins, Norway (two points from two ties) cannot finish atop the group even with a win. The Americans will likely face Sweden in the championship game. The Swedes pulled off a huge 1-0 victory over Germany in Group B, meaning a tie against last place Finland in Sweden's last group match would be enough to clinch a spot in the title game.
The Americans got a goal in the first half from Lindsay Tarpley (UNC) and two more scores in the second half from Lindsey Huie (Univ. of Portland) and captain Joanna Lohman (Penn State) in a match that was totally under U.S. control from start to finish.
'It was a dominating effort,' said U.S. U-21 head coach Chris Petrucelli. 'From the opening whistle, we took control of the game. The combination of results gives us a chance to maybe rest some people on Friday against Norway and get ready for the Final.'
The first goal came in the 32nd minute as Tarpley scored on a 10-yard header off a long, looping cross from defender Amy LePeilbet (Arizona State Univ.)..Just three minutes into the second half, Huie scored on a bomb from 18 yards as Leslie Osborne (Santa Clara Univ.) played her behind the defense on the right side of the penalty area. Huie hit the ball on a line and into the upper left corner. The U.S. put the game away for good 11 minutes later as 18-year-old Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.) ran onto a pass from LePeilbet down the right flank, took a few dribbles and crossed on the ground to the far post for Lohman to finish from six yards out.
Iceland rarely crossed the halfway line during the game while playing a 4-5-1 formation and while lone striker Hrefna Johannesdottir ran hard, she could not get anything done against the USA's defense. She eventually ran out of gas and was replaced in the 69th minute.
'Our back three were outstanding,' said Petrucelli. 'They stopped everything, and Iceland was never dangerous. We knew going into the game that a win would get us to the final, so we had even more of an incentive and the players performed very well.'
The USA, who has out-shot its two opponents 50-4 so far in the Nordic Cup while not allowing a goal, hit the crossbar three times against Iceland or the margin of victory could have been greater.
'We struggled as a team early in our preparation this year, but I feel that we've come together well at the right time' said LePeilbet, who registered her first ever point for the U.S. U-21s after assisting on Tarpley's goal. 'We've had some injuries, but the players who stepped in have done really well and we've become a team, especially when it counts right now in the Nordic Cup.'
Nicole Barnhart (Stanford) went the whole way in goal for the USA and picked up the shutout. The USA will play for the championship game on Sunday, July 27, at 5 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET at Randers Stadium in Randers, Denmark.
Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer