August 22, 2002

Kakadelas leads U.S. U19 Squad to Victory

Aug. 22, 2002

VICTORIA, B.C. - The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team got goals from expected and unexpected places during a 6-0 thrashing of Chinese Taipei in their final Group C match at the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship. Team captain Lindsay Tarpley scored twice and forwards Kerri Hanks and Megan Kakadelas scored once each, but the goals from Rachel Buehler and Stephanie Ebner were the first of their U-19 international careers.

The U.S. lineup featured just one blade of its "Triple-Edged Sword" as Tarpley was without her forward line running mates Heather O'Reilly and Kelly Wilson, both of whom got the night off along with Lori Chalupny, but the dynamic striker from Kalamazoo, Michigan, handled the scoring chores herself, finishing two world-class goals in the first half before giving way to Jessica Ballweg at the break.

U.S. head coach Tracey Leone made six changes from the lineup that faced Australia in the USA's last group match as she played three players for the first time at the World Championship, including Ebner, who joined the U.S. team on Monday to replace the injured Amy Steadman, and had a marvelous debut, scoring a goal and assisting on Hanks' strike.

"We accomplished our goals for this game," said Leone. "We certainly wanted to win our group and get an extra day's rest. What was also great was that our team played so well in the first two games that we were in a perfect position to have our whole team get experience. Everyone except our backup goalkeeper has played a 90-minute game, or more, so that's going to help us going into the second round against whoever we have to face."

With the win, the U.S. took first place Group C and earned the right to stay in Victoria for the quarterfinal, which will be played at Centennial Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. PT. Fans can follow that match live on www.ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.

The USA finished group play with a 3-0-0 record while scoring 15 goals and conceding just one, but the Americans will have to wait until tomorrow and the results of the final matches in Group A to find out who they will play in their quarterfinal match.

In the quarterfinals, the USA will play the third-place team from Group A or Group B, depending on the results of the Nigeria-Canada and Denmark-Japan Group A matches tomorrow in Edmonton. If form holds true, and Canada and Denmark emerge with wins or ties, the USA would face France, the third-place finisher in Group B.

Leone gave first starts of the tournament to Keeley Dowling, Angie Woznuk, Sarah Huffman, Kakadelas, Hanks and Ebner, and the latter four rewarded their coach by getting on the score sheet while Dowling and Woznuk got close, each hitting the woodwork during the match.

But it was Tarpley who dazzled the crowd with two goals, the first pure power and the second pure finesse. After Kakadelas had put the USA ahead just 155 seconds into the game by re-directing a Sarah Huffman shot past the goalkeeper from four yards out, Tarpley got her first in the 10th minute. The goal came from a throw-in along the right sideline as Kakadelas sent a pass with her head to Tarpley, who was positioned at the right elbow of the penalty area. Tarpley took a touch to beat her defender to the inside and hit a 19-yard left-footed screamer that kissed the underside of the crossbar at the upper right corner and smacked into back of the net.

"We came in knowing Chinese Taipei was a very skillful and well-coached team, but we needed to win this game to give us some momentum going into the quarterfinals," said Tarpley. "Everyone did so well and stepped up for some huge goals. All the players who played today kept the game at such a high level. It was fun to watch."

The USA's third goal came in the 33rd minute after Hanks was cut down in the penalty area by Taipei captain Yu Pei Wen, who was cautioned for the foul. U.S. head coach Tracey Leone sent Buehler, a rugged defender, to the spot for a chance to score her first-ever international goal. Buehler did not disappoint, pounding her shot into the left corner to give the USA a 3-0 lead and was mobbed by her teammates.

"I was surprised when (Leone) called my name," said Buehler. "I was like, 'me take it?' But after I ran up there I was excited. It's always fun to score a goal."

Tarpley got her second just two minutes from halftime on a dazzling piece of magic in the penalty area. It started on a corner kick from the right side, but the cross was headed out to Kakadelas, who sent the ball back into the penalty area. Tarpley was posted up a defender at the six-yard line as the Taipei goalkeeper Huang Feng Chia came out to challenge. Tarpley lifted the bouncing ball over the defender and the goalkeeper with her right foot and somehow pivoted to volley it into the open net with the outside of her left foot.

The half ended with a spectacular play from Woznuk, who got possession of the ball at the top of the penalty area and nutmegged not one, but two defenders to get herself in on goal, only to spin her shot wide right of the net.

Leone made all three of her allowed substitutes at halftime, bringing on Manya Makoski for Jill Oakes, Kendal Fletcher for Leslie Osborne and Ballweg for Tarpley.

The USA got a fifth goal just three minutes into the second half as Fletcher beat a defender and crossed from the left wing, but the ball flew past the goal to right flank, where Ebner gathered it up and sent a cross back into the middle. The cutting Hanks hit a soft volley, but it skipped off a defender's thigh, off the goalkeeper's hands and rolled into the net. It was Hank's first goal of the tournament and Ebner's first assist.

Eleven minutes later, Ebner got her goal as Hanks repaid the favor, sending her free down the right flank with a great through ball. Huang came rushing out of her net, only to realize that Ebner would get to the ball first, and found herself stranded. Ebner calmly sent delicate chip over the leaping Huang's outstretched arms, dropping the ball into the net at the far post from a stiff angle in the right side of the penalty area. Ebner started the match on the back line but moved to right midfield at halftime.

"It doesn't get any better than to come into a world championship, play right away, start right away and score right away," said Leone of her replacement player. "She's only been here for two days and the team was thrilled for her. Her confidence level and support of the team was evident. She came in prepared and was very excited about the opportunity to join us. It was a great greeting."

The first match of the day in Group C between England and Australia ended in a 0-0 tie. With both teams having scored five goals and allowed five goals, and even on all the tiebreakers, lots had to be drawn to determine who would finish second in the group behind the USA, thereby earning the second automatic berth to the semifinals. A FIFA official pulled a slip of paper inscribed with "Australia" out of the bowl to the raucous cheers of the Matlidas and sent them to the quarterfinals.

By virtue of France's 4-0 loss to Brazil, England also clinched a berth in the second round as they are ahead of France on goal difference and only a third-place team from Group A could finish ahead of them. France must hope for form to hold in Group A and Nigeria and Japan end with one point each from the 1-1 tie between those two teams.

U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris had a quiet night, watching two long range blasts from Taipei players sail high over her net and made her lone save on an easy bouncing ball to pick up her second shutout of the tournament. The U.S. almost got another spectacular goal in the second half as Dowling, who wore the captain's armband after Tarpley left the match, knifed through the defense to hammer a header off the right post.

The match was made choppy by Senegalese referee Gaye Fatou, who called 31 fouls, many of them questionable, in a game that was not that physical. The USA ended the game without picking up a yellow card and is now one of only two (of the 12) teams in the tournament without a caution so far. England is the other.

In the other Group B match in Vancouver, Mexico took a 1-0 lead on Germany, but couldn't hold it and lost 3-1, earning second place in the group for Germany and ending the tournament for the Mexicans.

"Rest is now a priority," added Leone. "After playing three games in five days, it's emotionally and physically draining, especially in a world event. So tomorrow, we will let them take the day off, spend some time with friends and family and get away from soccer a little bit, and then find out who we will play. Then we as a staff can prepare the next two days of training to prepare for our next opponent. Now, it's about rest and rejuvenation."