July 21, 2010
LE ROUX AGAIN
Scores fifth goal of Women’s U-20 World Cup
BIELEFELD, Germany – Sydney LeRoux scored the only goal as the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team defeated the Korea Republic 1-0 in the final Group D match for both teams at the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
LeRoux, who scored a hat trick in the last US game, now has five goals in the last three games, tying her for second with Korean Ji So Yun and behind Germany’s Alexandra Popp, who have found the net six times.
The goal was also Leroux’s 10th in U-20 Women’s World Cup play, moving her past Kelly Wilson on the USA’s all-time U-19/U-20 World Cup scoring list and tying Christine Sinclair for most goals scored in FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup play.
The goal came after Amber Brooks won a tackle at midfield and ran a two-person counter attack with Leroux. Brooks, dribbled about 20 yards before placing a perfect pass between two defenders to the sprinting Leroux who blazed through for a one-on-one chance against Korean goalkeeper Moon So Ri. At first it looked as if Leroux’s touch toward goal was going to be too hard, but with a last second burst of speed and a perfect slide from about the penalty spot, she poked the ball past the onrushing ‘keeper and into the left corner of the net.
The Koreans had a handle full of good chances in the match but U.S. goalkeeper Bianca Henniger withstood the pressure.
Korea’s most dangerous chance came in the 38th minute when Kang Yumi got in behind the U.S. defense in the right side of the penalty box and struck a shot that Henninger had to push over the top.
Henninger had to execute a great clearing punch off a cross in the 57th from Ji.
In the 58th minute, a long ball bounced through the U.S. defense and Henninger came up with a huge save on Ji, sliding to knock the shot away with her legs. It was Korea’s best, and last, good chance of the game.
The U.S. should have put the match away in the second half. In the 53rd minute, Kristie Mewis slipped a perfect pass behind the Korea defense to Leroux, but with two defenders closing in, the U.S. striker’s hard shot was well saved by Moon, who had come off her line quickly to close the angle.
In the 62nd minute, the ball popped out of a scrum at the top of the penalty area and substitute Teresa Noyola cracked a shot that pulled a flying save from Moon who palmed the ball away for a corner kick.
In the 67th minute, Leroux once again was sent in on a breakaway off a perfect penetrating pass from Mewis, but as she tried to bend the ball into the right corner, Moon got her shin on the ball to deflect it away for another corner kick.
In the 72nd minute Korean defender Lim Seon Joo went down with a sprained ankle and could not return. Eight minutes earlier, Korean head coach Choi In Cheul had made the last of his three allowed substitutes so his squad had to play a woman down for the last 18 minutes.
After that, the only shot they could muster after going down to 10 players came from just in front of the center circle as Kim Hye Ri rifled a 50-yard attempt that was knuckling toward the goal before Henninger grabbed it.
In the 84th minute Noyola put Leroux though into the left side of the penalty area. Leroux touched the ball around Moon, but could not turn her shot on goal quickly enough and a sliding Korean defender got just enough of her toe on the ball to re-direct it over the end line for a corner kick.
The win and accompanying three points vaulted the Americans over the Koreans and into first place in the group with seven points. Korea finished with six points while Ghana, which defeated Switzerland 2-0 in the other Group D match, finished with four points. The Swiss exit the tournament without a point or a goal.
The USA will face Group C runner-up Nigeria in the quarterfinals on July 25 in Augsburg (5:30 a.m. ET on ESPNU). Nigeria looked to be on its way to a 1-0 victory which would have given the Africans the group title and put the Mexicans out of the tournament, but a 77th minute equalizer from Stanford University’s Alina Garciamendez gave both teams one point and eliminated Japan, despite its 3-1 victory against England in the other Group C match. With the tie, Mexico not only advances, but finishes atop the group and will face the South Koreans in the quarterfinals on July 25 in Dresden.
In the other two quarterfinals to be played on July 24, Germany will face Korea DPR in Bochum while Sweden takes on Colombia in Bielefeld.