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Global Dec 20, 2016

Crystal Dunn wins U.S. Soccer award for Best Individual Performance

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(Via U.S. Soccer) – U.S. Women’s National Team forward Crystal Dunn has won the U.S. Soccer award for Best Individual Performance of 2016, for her five-goal effort vs. Puerto Rico on February 15.

WNT: Crystal Dunn vs. Puerto Rico – Feb. 15, 2016 – WINNER
The third group game of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship marked the first meeting between the WNT and Puerto Rico in the history of the two teams. The USA scored 10 goals to finish atop Group A with the full nine points. Despite the dominant team performance, it was Crystal Dunn who had a record-book night. Dunn scored five goals in the match – a brace in the first half and three in the second – to lead the way. Her performance against Puerto Rico not only tied a U.S. WNT record for most goals scored in a single game, but it was also her first multi-goal game for the USA on a night when she went from five to 10 career goals. Dunn became the seventh player to score five goals in a match in the 31 years of the WNT program, joining Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux.  She was also awarded the Golden Boot at the end of the tournament as the top scorer.

Other Nominees

MNT: John Brooks vs. Paraguay – June 11, 2016
With both teams needing to win in order to ensure advancement to the Copa America Quarterfinals, MNT center back John Brooks turned in an epic performance in the USA’s 1-0 victory against Paraguay in Philadelphia. Having already put on a strong performance in the MNT’s 4-0 win against Costa Rica days earlier, Brooks was on the mark against Paraguay and memorably kept things level after stifling Miguel Almiron’s effort that came off of a three-on-one attack in the 11th minute. When DeAndre Yedlin was sent off early in the second half, it was Brooks who provided calm on the back line, helping the 10-man U.S. side keep the shutout and finish atop Group A.

MNT: Sacha Kljestan vs. Trinidad & Tobago – Sept. 6, 2016
After more than two years away from the U.S. Men’s National Team, Sacha Kljestan returned in full force during September’s World Cup Qualifying matches. Days after tallying a goal and two assists off the bench in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kljestan’s first start since March 5, 2014 saw the MNT veteran score the opening goal as well as help set up the second and fourth in an emphatic 4-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago which confirmed the USA’s place in the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

PNT: David Garza vs. Netherlands – Sept. 8, 2016
The U.S. Paralympic National Team opened the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro against a highly ranked Dutch side, which featured players among the Netherlands professional ranks. Following an early U.S. goal, the Dutch were aggressive in attack, attempting a whopping 32 shots on goal. Fortunately for PNT goalkeeper Sean Boyle, defender David Garza put forth a tremendous performance, blocking shot after shot to allow less than half on frame. As if his defensive performance wasn’t enough, Garza suffered a broken foot when he was the recipient of a studs-up tackle in the 24th minute. Garza went on to play the full 60 minutes to help the U.S. to a historic 2-2 draw, but was forced out of action for the rest of the competition. 

WNT: Carli Lloyd vs. Thailand – Sept. 15, 2016
In the first match back for the WNT since the Olympic Games and on the occasion of Heather O’Reilly’s retirement from international soccer, it was Carli Lloyd who etched her name in history in a friendly against Thailand. On an emotional night, Lloyd remained focused and helped send her teammate into retirement in style. Lloyd was involved in seven of the USA’s nine goals – including exchanging assists with O’Reilly – and became the first U.S. WNT player in history to record three goals (her seventh international hat trick) and four assists in one game.

U-17 WNT: Civana Kuhlmann vs. Paraguay – Oct. 1, 2016
In its opening match of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, forward Civana Kuhlmann led the USA by scoring the first hat trick by a U.S. player in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, including a big goal just four minutes into the second half. The scores were Kuhlmann’s 13th, 14th, and 15th international goals. She finished the cycle with 20 career caps with the U-17s.

U-17 MNT: Josh Sargent vs. Portugal – Nov. 30, 2016
U-17 MNT captain Josh Sargent capped a banner year at the 2016 Nike International Friendlies. Leading the team to its first tournament title since 2013, Sargent set the tone for the U.S. in the competition with a hat trick performance in a 7-1 win vs. Portugal. Each goal showed off a different strong suit of Sargent’s game. In the 19th minute, Sargent displayed finishing prowess, while his 55th minute goal demonstrated his strength in being able to muscle off his man up top. Sargent put an exclamation point on the night in the 82nd minute when he cleverly reacted to a deflected ball by sending a back heel past Portuguese goalkeeper Joao Monteiro.

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