March 3, 2010
US Women edge Germany for Algarve title
FARO, Portugal—The U.S. Women’s National Team put Germany on their heels early, then held on for a 3-2 win and their seventh Algarve Cup championship Wednesday on a sloppy field at Stadium Algarve.
|Carli Lloyd opened the U.S. scoring against Germany.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Carli Lloyd opened the U.S. scoring in the 18th minute, and Abby Wambach put the reigning Women’s World Cup champions in an unfamiliar 2-0 hole four minutes later. It was Lauren Cheney’s 69th-minute goal, however, that delivered the win.
Inka Grings scored both goals for Germany, in the 40th and 74th minutes.
Lloyd snapped Germany’s tournament-long shutout streak with a searing shot from outside the box, getting the benefit of a deflection that left German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer out of position. Wambach doubled the lead with a sharp header set up by Heather O’Reilly.
Lloyd’s play drew praise from USA coach Pia Sundhage, who called Wednesday’s final “one of the best games I’ve ever seen her play.”
While the U.S. controlled the tempo for much of the first half, Grings got free deep in the penalty area in the closing minutes, beating netminder Hope Solo from a difficult angle to make it a one-goal game.
Cheney put the game away with an opportunistic tap-in, after Angerer gave up a rebound. The clincher capped a breakout Algarve performance for Cheney, who scored four goals in four tournament matches. Wambach, who scored her 104th international goal on Friday, said Cheney’s emergence as a goalscorer is a big plus for the team and for Wambach herself. “She’s kind of broken out of her shell,” Wambach said of Cheney after the match, and “is in fact leading our attack in many ways. That’s a big plus for me because it’s going to take a lot of defenders off my back because they will have to be focusing on her.”
Grings slipped behind the U.S. defense to beat Solo from close range and keep things interesting through the final minutes, but the 3-2 score held through the final whistle.
Sundhage praised the U.S. defensive corps after the game, singling out Rachel Buehler for special praise. “I have to mention Rachel Beuhler,” Sundhage said. “She played four games, every single minute. She plays with her heart and I think that is contagious.”
Solo finished with four saves, Angerer with three.