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U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

September 17, 2008
A GOOD START
Kai scores in U.S.'s 1-0 win

By Michael Lewis
BigAppleSoccer.com Editor

Natasha Kai scored the only goal for the U.S. in a 1-0 win over Ireland Wednesday
Natasha Kai scored the only goal for the U.S. in a 1-0 win over Ireland Wednesday
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
East Rutherford, N.J. -- Natasha Kai, welcome to New York and New Jersey.

New York and New Jersey, welcome to Natasha Kai.

Kai, one of three players allocated to Sky Blue FC for the first season of Women's Professional Soccer in 2009, scored the U.S.'s lone goal in its 1-0 win over Ireland in the second game of its Achieve Your Gold Tour at Giants Stadium Wednesday night.

The 25-year-old Kai struck for 23rd international goal in 59 matches in the 70th minute before a crowd of 4,227.

Carli Lloyd passed the ball to Kai, who worked her way through the penalty area as she beat goalkeeper Emma Byrne from 10 yards.

Kai has scored a career-high 15 goals in 25 matches this year.

It was the second American win on the tour, which celebrates the U.S. team's third Olympic gold medal, which was earned the Beijing Summer Games last month.

The U.S. defeated the Irish, 2-0, in Philadelphia in the first game of the tour Saturday.

The Americans played Ireland again at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Saturday in the third game of a 10-game tour.

The team is expected to take most of October off before return to play in November and December.

U.S. defender and captain Christie Rampone, a Point Pleasant, N.J. native, and midfielder-forward Heather O'Reilly, a former resident of East Brunswick, N.J. also were allocated to Sky Blue.

Forward Michele O'Brien, had one of Ireland's best scoring opportunity in the 89th minute. She ripped a 12-yard shot from the right side of the penalty area that goalkeeper Briana Scurry knocked away with both hands. Scurry replaced starter Hope Solo at halftime.

The Irish almost equalized a minute into stoppage time when Aine O'Gorman tried to chip Scurry. But defender Heather Mitts managed to clear the ball before it crossed the goal line.
   
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