Ellis' U-21s Down Iceland, 4-0

July 21, 2005

Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer

KRISTINEHAMN, Sweden (July 20, 2005) - The U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team opened the 2005 Nordic Cup in dominating fashion, rolling to a 4-0 win against Iceland while getting two goals from forward Heather O'Reilly, a member of the USA's 2004 Olympic Team, and single scores from midfielder Jen Buczkowski and forward Megan Rapinoe.

The win gives the USA their fifth straight shutout victory in the Nordic Cup after winning all four matches in the 2004 tournament by a 3-0 score, including the championship match against Sweden. The victory also gives the U.S. a great start to the eight-team tournament in which only the group winners advance to the title game.

The young Americans will face Denmark on Friday, July 22, in their second match of Group B at the world's premier competition for U-21 women. The USA is going for its unprecedented seventh straight title at the 15th Annual Nordic Cup, which takes places every summer in northern Europe.

'We did really well considering it was our first important game of the year,' said U.S. captain Lindsay Tarpley, also a member of the USA's 2004 Olympic Team. 'It was a great start in this tournament where you have to win the first game to keep yourself in the running for the title. I was happy to see everyone contribute and we scored some great goals, but Iceland was talented and definitely a physically tough team.'

O'Reilly opened the scoring in just the 6th minute running onto a perfect through ball from Carli Lloyd that rolled to the left side of the penalty area. With the Iceland goalkeeper caught out of her net, O'Reilly deftly lifted a left-footed chip over her head and into the goal from about 18 yards out.

Buczkowski picked up her first international goal at the U-21 level three minutes into the second half, scoring after a scramble from a corner kick that came from the right side. In a crowd of players, Buczkowski got a solid foot on the ball, powering her shot off the hand of an Iceland player and into the net from 10 yards out.

The USA started the match in a 4-3-3 formation, but switched to a 4-4-2 after Manya Makoski came on for Lloyd in the 66th minute. The USA fired 27 shots at Iceland's goal, but was caught offside a whopping 10 times trying to beat Iceland's restraining line.

The match remained at 2-0 until stoppage time of the second half when the U.S. scored twice to put the game away. Rapinoe, a star for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 World Championship, made it 3-0 with her first U-21 international goal in the 92nd minute. The goal was created by the USA's youngest player, rising high school senior Lauren Cheney, who beat a defender in the right side of the penalty area before cutting a cross back on the ground for Rapinoe to rip into the net from eight yards out.

The final goal came about a minute later when Kendall Fletcher, who had a marvelous game for the USA while playing center back, outside back and outside midfield, hit a cross into the middle for the streaking O'Reilly, who picked up her brace by slamming the deflected ball into the roof of the net at the right corner from close range. Fifteen seconds later, the referee blew the final whistle.

'We've been training hard and it was good to get the tournament started on a high note,' said O'Reilly. 'Iceland definitely came out ready to battle and had a lot of physical players, but our team was patient and moved the ball around well. We worked hard for each of our goals.'

U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart picked up the shutout, but was rarely troubled while making two saves. The U.S. lineup featured 10 players who have previously represented the USA at a FIFA U-19 World Championship.

The Danes, who the U.S. faces next, are the only team to beat the USA in the Nordic Cup since the 1998 championship game when the USA lost to Norway. The 1-0 loss to Denmark came in 2002 during group play, but the USA got some help from host Finland, which defeated Denmark, allowing the USA to advance to the title game on goal difference.

In the other Group B match, Germany demolished Denmark, 6-0, as Shelley Thompson scored five of the goals. In Group A, Sweden picked up a nice 3-1 win over rival Norway while England continues to improve on the world's stage with a 2-0 win over Finland.


USA: 1-Nicole Barnhart; 11-Stephanie Lopez, 4-Kendall Fletcher, 19-Jill Oakes, 3-Mary Castelanelli (21-Rachel Buehler, 46); 22-Jen Buczkowski, 10-Carli Lloyd (2-Manya Makoski, 66), 8-Sarah Huffman (13-Megan Rapinoe, 63); 5-Lindsay Tarpley (15-Jessica Maxwell, 80), 9-Heather O'Reilly, 12-Amy Rodriguez (7-Lauren Cheney, 46).Subs not used: 1-Erika Bohn, 6-Lori ChalupnyHead coach: Jillian Ellis

ISL: 1-Gudbjorg Gunnarsdottir, 2-Malfridur Erna Sigurdardottir, 11-Embla Gretarsdottir, 8-Thora Stefansdottir, 3-Bjorg Thordardottir, 14-Bryndis Bjarnadottir (17-Hallvera Gisladottir, 65), 6-Holmfridur Magnusdottir (15-Nina Kristinsdottir, 54), 10-Thora Larusdottir, 9-Margaret Vidarsdottir, 7-Erla Arnarsdottir, 16-Greta Samuelsdottir.Subs not used: 4-Elsa Bjork Erlingsdottir, 5-Thorunn Jonsdottir, 12-Asa Adalsteinsdottir, 13-Fjola Fredriksdottir, 18-Gudrun Hilmarsdottir.Head coach: Elisabeth Gunnarsdottir

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