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March 5, 2008
USWNT takes 4-0 win in Algarve opener

ALBUFEIRA, Portugal– The U.S. Women’s National Team got goals from four different players in a 4-0 victory against China to open the 2008 Algarve Cup.

It didn’t take long for the USA to get rolling. Just five minutes into the match Carli Lloyd ran onto a touch from Abby Wambach and took a few forward dribbles before looping a perfect pass with the outside of her right foot to Lindsay Tarpley inside the penalty area. Tarpley then snapped a left-footed shot into the lower right corner from 10 yards out for her team-leading fifth goal of 2008.
After fighting to attack against a blustery wind in the first half, the USA got the wind at their backs in the second half, scoring three times to put the game away.

Tarpley came out at halftime and was replaced by the youngest player on the USA’s roster, 19-year-old Tobin Heath. Like Tarpley, Heath scored on her team’s first shot of the half, this one coming less than two minutes after the restart.

Heath, playing in just her third international, ran onto an errant back pass. With her first touch, she eluded a defensive lunge, then dribbled towards the left post before lifting the ball over the sliding Zhang Yanru, for her first-ever full Women’s National Team goal.

The third goal started off a corner kick to the far corner by Lloyd. Shannon Boxx ran it down and sent a short pass into the path of Wambach who one timed a left footer into the net from seven yards out in the 64th minute.
Five minutes later, it was 4-0, and this goal was all Lloyd. She took a short pass from Kai about 30 yards from the net, blew past one defender, stuttered-step into the box to lose another Chinese marker and then crushed her 13-yard shot across the goal and into the left corner, giving Zhang no chance. It was Lloyd’s 11th career goal and first of 2008.

The USA’s 13 goals in the first four matches of 2008 are the most to start a year for the U.S. women since 2000.

Heath could have easily had a brace or a hat trick as she missed two golden chances in the last five minutes. In the 85th minute, she struck a shot hard off the crossbar from 16 yards out. The ball bounced high in the air and Kai came running through to get her head on the ball, but Zhang dove low to her right to smother. In the 90th minute, Heath stripped a defender in the back and was in all alone, but cut her driven shot just outside the right post.

The match marked the first appearance for Markgraf since she badly injured her ankle in the semifinal of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She played the first half before giving way to Stephanie Cox, usually an outside back, who went the final 45 minutes in the center next to Rampone, the U.S. captain.

The game also marked the first-ever full Women’s National Team cap for Buehler, who went the full 90 minutes at right back. Buehler played for the USA at both the 2002 and 2004 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championships in Canada and Thailand, respectively.

Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart earned the shutout and her fifth career cap and just second game in three years. Barnhart did not have to make a difficult save and easily handled the few long balls and several crosses that came her way.

In the other Group B match, Norway defeated Italy, 4-1. In the Group A matches, defending Women’s World Cup champion Germany was upset by Denmark, 1-0, on a goal from Merete Pederson, while Sweden downed Finland, 3-1. In Group C, Iceland defeated Algarve Cup debutante Poland, 2-0, and host Portugal also got a 2-0 win, over Ireland.

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