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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

Sept. 27, 2007
HUMILIATED
Americans ousted, embarrassed by Brazil in the WWC semifinals, 4-0

By Michael Lewis
BigAppleSoccer.com Editor

Leslie Osborne’s own goal header was the first misfortune in a disastrous semifinal for the US against Brazil.
Leslie Osborne’s own goal header was the first misfortune in a disastrous semifinal for the US against Brazil.
Tony Quinn/Icon SMI
Hangzhou, China -- Greg's gamble came back to haunt the top-ranked United States big time in its Women's World Cup semifinal match Thursday night.

U.S. women's national coach Greg Ryan's strategy to switch goalkeepers backfired as the Americans were eliminated and humiliated in a 4-0 loss to Brazil in the worst American performance and result in a WWC and in in American women's international soccer history.

That history spans 29 games over five tournaments dating back to the very first competition in 1991.

The previous low point was a 3-0 loss to Germany in the 2003 semifinals, the last time the U.S. suffered a shutout loss in all competitions.

The defeat meant the Americans would take on Norway in the third-place match in Shanghai Saturday and Brazil and Germany would play for the world championship later that day.

Veteran Briana Scurry, who was named to start the vital match instead of regular Hope Solo in a controversial move by Ryan, surrendered the goals before a crowd of 47,818 at Hangzhou Dragon Stadium.

Marta, the 2006 FIFA women’s player of the year, led the way for the Brazilians with two goals, one in each half.

Brazil grabbed a 2-0 halftime lead.

It was only the second time a U.S. team had trailed in five WWC's. The first was in the 3-0 semifinal elimination by Germany in 2003 and the Germans scored a pair of late goals during stoppage time.

The Americans' comeback chances were hampered severely after Shannon Boxx was given her marching orders for her second yellow card a minute into first-half stoppage time. Referee Nicole Petignat of Switzerland ruled that Boxx had knocked down Cristiane although it appeared the Brazilian already was falling down.

That forced the U.S. to play the rest of the match a woman down.

It was only the second time a U.S. team had trailed in five WWC's. The first was in the 3-0 semifinal elimination by Germany in 2003 and the Germans scored a pair of late goals during stoppage time.

The goals seemed to take the wind out of the U.S. sails as its attack was virtually non-existent for the rest of the half.

Midfielder Leslie Osborne, one of the American heroes of the cup, became the first half goat by gift-wrapping a goal to the Brazilians in the 20th minute.

Formiga sent in a corner kick that a diving Osborne tried to head out of the bounds only two yards from the goal. But instead of placing the ball over the end line, it went over the goal line past a stunned Scurry.

The goal deflated the U.S. on its attack as it failed to put anything dangerous on goal the rest of the half.

Instead of sitting back, Brazil continued to attack. Marta doubled the lead in the 27th minute when she danced to the top of the right side of the box and fired a low, 17-yard shot that went off Scurry's gloves and into the lower right corner.

The Americans played catch-up soccer for most of the second half, which began with midfielder Carli Lloyd subbing for defender Stephanie Lopez.

They tried to push up, but due to an already questionable possession game and the urgency to score a goal, many of their passes were intercepted and turned into counterattacks.

The Brazilians all but put the final nail in the coffin as Cristiane scored off a counter in the 56th minute.

Marta added a second goal, dancing around U.S. defenders in the penalty area and scoring from 10 yards in the 79th minute.
   
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