March 1, 2010
Cheney’s two goals lift U.S. into Algarve Cup Final
FERREIRAS, Portugal—Lauren Cheney came off the U.S. bench to score both goals in a 2-0 win over Sweden in Monday’s Algarve Cup Group B finale.
The win sends the U.S. Women to their eighth straight Algarve Cup final, Wednesday against perennial rivals Germany.
Cheney put the Americans on the board in the 56th minute, running onto a well-placed through ball from Casey Nogueira, cut around onrushing goalkeeper Hedvid Lindahl and tapped the winning goal into the net from a sharp angle.
Three minutes from time, Cheney ran a give-and-go with Lori Lindsey just outside the box before blasting home the insurance tally from 20 yards. The play gave WNT newcomer Lindsey her third assist in as many games.
Sweden, who needed a win over the U.S. to advance out of the Group, pulled out all the stops and kept the American defense on their heels for most of the first half. Forwards Lotta Schelin and Jessica Landstrom spent most of the early minutes on the U.S. end of the field, but the most dangerous chances of the half came from other sources – Therese Sjogran, who mounted a dangerous dribbling run to the left post in the 35th minute, and Kosovare Asllanni, who took on goalkeeper Hope Solo one-on-one shortly before halftime, but sent her shot over the bar.
A flurry of halftime substitutions, including Cheney and Nogueira, and some on-field realignment brought more stability to the U.S. attack, and the momentum shifted dramatically. Although Sweden continued to mount effective counterattacks, the American women controlled the tempo. Asllani provided Sweden’s last best hope of keeping the game in hand, sending a sharp cross through the goalmouth for Landstrom in the 75th minute, but the Swedish striker couldn’t connect, and backtracking defenders were there to clear the ball.