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July 17, 2010
LeRoux leads the way for U.S. U-20WNT

DRESDEN, Germany –UCLA forward Sydney Leroux scored three times while Boston College’s Kristie Mewis and UCLA's Zakiya Bywaters also added goals as the United States Under-20 Women’s National Team defeated Switzerland 5-0 in its second Group D match at the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Saturday.

The USA scored three times in the first 25 minutes, including a fourth-minute goal from Mewis and then adding two more in a three-minute span from Leroux and Bywaters to head into halftime with a commanding 3-0 lead.

“It’s exactly what the team needed to build some confidence and generate some momentum in this tournament,” said U.S. Head Coach Jill Ellis.

Against Ghana it was the USA who gave up an early goal but it was the Americans who raced ahead this time on a strike from Mewis. Leroux won a header at the top of the penalty area and the ball fell to Mewis who took a touch to the left and cranked her shot off the bottom of the crossbar. Switzerland goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery a got a hand on the shot, but not enough to push it over the top and the ball bounced down just over the goal line.

Leroux started her hat trick in the 23rd minute as Amber Brooks won a header that sent the ball looping into Maya Hayes who had her back to the goal at the top of the penalty area. Hayes touched the ball down to Leroux, who took a touch to her left and blasted a shot from 20 yards into the upper left corner of the net.

The USA finished the first-half scoring two minutes after Leroux’s goal and it was Hanson, Mass., native Mewis that sliced open the Swiss defense with a perfectly slipped pass behind two defenders into the left side of the penalty area to the streaking Bywaters who got a step on her defender and then rolled a left-footed shot into the lower right corner from six yards out.

LeRoux, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., added her second goal in the 52nd after running onto a long ball from Toni Pressley that was sent almost from the top of her own penalty area. Leroux spun off her defender about 20 yards past midfield and raced in alone on Schwery. She faked a shot to freeze the Swiss ‘keeper, then took a touch around her to the left and tucked a left-footed shot into the net from a stiff angle as two sliding Swiss defenders were too late.

Leroux completed her hat trick in the 76th minute when she read a square pass from Swiss center back Rahel Kiwic and stepped in the passing lane to win it. The ball hit Leroux in the side and she raced in on the breakaway, showing the composure to slow as she approached Schwery, then threw a stutter-step to once again round the ‘keeper with ease and slot the ball into the open net.

Leroux’s hat trick was just the fourth in Women’s World Cup history for the USA and first in a youth World Cup since Kelly Wilson scored three times against Denmark during a 6-0 quarterfinal victory at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup. The other hat tricks came in the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup when Michelle Akers scored five times in a 7-0 win against Chinese Taipei and Carin Gabarra notched three goals in a 5-2 semifinal victory against Germany. The right-footed Leroux scored all three goals with her left foot.

The USA heads into its final Group D match against the Korea Republic on July 21 in Bielefeld (12 p.m. ET on ESPN2) needing a win or a tie to advance to the quarterfinals. A win would clinch the group title for the USA.

The Americans sit second in the group with four points from two games behind the Koreans, who have six points after two wins. The USA could possibly advance even with a loss as the Americans hold a commanding goal difference lead over Ghana, which has just one point after falling 4-2 to the Koreans in the first Group D match of the day. The Swiss, who face Ghana in Bochum on July 21, have zero points and have been eliminated from the tournament.

The USA currently has a goal difference of plus five while Ghana sits at minus two.

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