July 14, 2010
CAN’T BEAT GHANA
U-20 Women tie 1-1 at World Cup
DRESDEN, Germany --–It seems no matter what level, the United States can’t beat Ghana. The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team played to a 1-1 drawat the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Forward Sydney Leroux scored in the 70th minute to answer an early goal from the Africans.
Leroux’s goal came after Teresa Noyola stripped a Ghana player in midfield and sent Maya Hayes through on a long break-away into the right side of the penalty area. Hayes raced at the ‘keeper and then slipped a pass square to Leroux who slid to knock the ball into the open net from just inside the six-yard box. It was Leroux’s sixth goal in her U-20 Women’s World Cup career after scoring five during the 2008 tournament.
Ghan took the lead in the seventh minute on a failed American clearance. The ball dropped to Elizabeth Cudjoe, who took a touch forward and cracked an unstoppable shot from at least 30-yards that struck the inside of the left post and rolled around the back of the net.
The USA is now tied with Ghana for second place in the group behind the Korea Republic, which trounced Switzerland 4-0 in the other Group D match. The USA continues first round play on Saturday, July 17, at Rudolf-Harbig Stadium against the Swiss. The USA-Switzerland match will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 12 p.m. ET and fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker
U.S. goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, playing in her first Women’s World Cup match, put in an excellent performance, amking seven saves. Ghana goalkeeper Patricia Mantey made five. The teams combined for 40 shots during the match but the U.S. put just seven of their 25 on goal.
In the 23rd minutue, Ghana had to scramble at the top of its own six-yard box to block point blank shots from Vicki DiMartino and Amber Brooks before the ball was cleared out of danger.
Just before halftime Mantey had to bat away a blistering drive from center-back Toni Pressley.
Leroux had the first chance of the second half in the 54th as she ran onto a nice pass slipped between Ghanaian defenders from Kristie Mewis, but her sliding shot from 18 yards out was well saved by Mantey. .
Mewis struck a low shot from just outside the right corner of the penalty box in the 60th minute, but it was easily gobbled up at the near post by Mantey.
In the 65th minute, Leroux got her head on a long free-kick service from Tony Pressley, but the ball spun wide right of the goal. Five minutes later, she tied the match, and then the Americans launched an all-out quest for the winning goal which stretched the game out and led to chances for both teams.
In the 72nd minute, Hayes ran onto another long through ball, but her cross was blocked up in the air at the last moment and Mantey grabbed it.
Henninger had to knock down a dangerous looking Ghanaian shot in the 79th minute before pouncing on the rebound. In the 82nd minute Henninger made another big save as she scooped a dipping shot from distance over the end line for a corner kick.
The USA had two chances to win the game in the five minutes of extra time, most of it given due to numerous stoppages for injured Ghanaians. First, Teresa Noyola’s shot from the top of the penalty area flew straight into the hands of the goalkeeper. Then Mewis crushed a shot from distance in the last seconds that was seemingly headed into the upper right corner, but somehow Mantey stuck a hand up to deflect the ball away and seconds later the match was over.
It was the first time the USA has tied an opening match of a U-19/U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup after winning four straight openers since the inaugural tournament in 2002.