U.S. Under-21 Women Down Finland, 3-0

July 23, 2004

DALVIK, Iceland (July 23, 2004) - The U.S. Under-21 Women's NationalTeam scored three goals in the first 30 minutes to put the game awayand cruise to a 3-0 win over Finland to open the 2004 Nordic Cup,the top competition in the world for U-21 women.

The win gave the USA a great start to the tournament in which the groupwinner advances to the title game. The Americans will face arch rivalNorway on Sunday in their second match of Group B.

The USA opened the scoring just seven minutes in after central defender Jill Oakes served in a long ball behind the Finnish defense for speedyforward Natasha Kai. The University of Hawaii star took a touch onthe ball, but was then upended by Finland goalkeeper Minna Pyykko whoslid into her legs, taking her down in the penalty area. U.S. captainJoanna Lohman stepped up to bury the penalty kick for the early lead.

'It was a solid performance, especially in that we started the gamewell,' said U.S. head coach Chris Petrucelli. 'We had talked aboutstarting fast and then we scored seven or eight minutes into the game.We accomplished a couple of things in this match. We got the threepoints, certainly helped our goal difference with the three goals, gota number of players rest and got some solid minutes for the reserves.'

The USA played in a 4-3-3 formation with Sarah Huffman and LoriChalupny as the attacking midfielders with Lohman tucked in behindthem, and the trio dominated the midfield throughout the match.

'One of the main points was getting a quick start and pressuring themto get an early goal,' said Lohman. 'We wanted to pressure their backsto see if they could handle it.'

The second goal came in the 18th minute as forward Kelly Wilson slippeda pass between two defenders to the streaking Kai who hit the ballfirst time from 16 yards out. It grazed a sliding defender beforecaroming into the right corner of the net.

'It's good to get Tasha on track and scoring goals,' said Petrucelli ofhis leading scorer who notched her 10th goal of 2004.

The third goal came in the 30th minute as midfielder Sarah Huffmanplayed a ball through to Kai, who touched it to Lloyd. The RutgersUniversity senior dribbled across the top of the penalty area to herright and struck her shot back into the lower left corner from 18 yardsout.

The U.S. totally dominated the match, played in windy conditions and ona narrow field. After letting in three goals, Finland packed theirdefense, brought all 11 players inside their half, and with the USAgoing against the wind in the second half, the Americans could notmanufacture another goal.

Still, the USA almost got two more goals in the last 10 minutes of thematch. Defender Jenny Farenbaugh hit a solid volley off a service fromsubstitute Manya Makoski that forced a diving save from Pyykko andJulianne Sitch saw her one-on-one chance stuffed by the Finnishgoalkeeper as well.

Chalupny got in on a one-on-one with about 20 minutes left, but sailedher chance over the crossbar. In the first half, Oakes had a chanceoff a goalmouth scramble from a corner kick, but hit her shot over thetop.

Finland did get behind the U.S. defense twice in the second half, butboth shots were rushed by closing defender and easily handled by U.S.goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, who had to dive to her right to corral thesecond chance.

'We did a good job of creating chances and defensively, we basicallykeep them in front of us and minimized their chances,' said Barnhart,who picked up the shutout. 'It was kind of tough with the windswirling around, but this was a good opening game for us to get ourlegs under us.'

Petrucelli used all five of his subs in the second half, sending onMakoski at halftime, followed by Nikki Thaden, Julianne Sitch, KaceyWhite and Haley Hunt. With every match of the Nordic Cup crucial indetermining advancement to the championship game, the USA's clash withNorway on Sunday looms large.

'It's a typical Norwegian team' said Petrucelli, who watched Germanydefeat Norway, 3-1, in the other Group B match. 'They are really goodon the counter, good in the air and they battle hard They will be adifficult team to play against.'

In Group A, Sweden downed Denmark, 2-0, while England and Iceland tied,1-1.

USA: 1-Nicole Barnhart, 5-Jenny Farnenbaugh, 14-Jill Oakes, 12-KeeleyDowling, 2-Lindsey Huie (9-Kacey White, 67); 3-Joanna Lohman (4-NikkiThaden, 62), 8-Sarah Huffman, 16-Lori Chalupny; 17-Kelly Wilson(6-Haley Hunt, 80), 7-Natasha Kai (15-Julianne Sitch, 59), 10-CarliLloyd (13-Manya Makoski, 46).Subs not used: 12-Esmeralda Negron, 18-Katie Jo Spisak.Head coach: Chris Petrucelli.

FIN: 1-Minna Pyyko (12-Satu Peltonen, 33), 2-Laura Kivisto (4-TinnaElonen, 46), 3-Miia Niemi, 7-Sanna Malaska, 14-Heidi Ahonen; 5-TaruHakala, 6-Tiina Salmen, 8-Susanna Lehtinen (13-Tanja Petaja, 68,16-Irina Vaelma, 86), 11-Linda Lindqvist; 9-Jessica Thorn, 10-SannaTalonen (17-Nora Jafs, 74).Subs not used: N/AHead coach: Ulfar Hinriksson

Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer