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Global Feb 16, 2016

U.S. U-17 WNT defeats Japan 2-1 in final NTC Invitational match

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CARSON, Calif. (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team defeated Japan 2-1 in its third and final match of the 2016 Under-17 Women’s NTC Invitational as Ashley Sanchez scored in the first half and the USA benefited from an own goal that was created off a long run and cross from Civana Kuhlmann.

The win gave the USA the championship at the U-17 Women’s NTC Invitational for the third consecutive year and ran the team’s record in this tournament to 9-0-0.

The USA took an early lead off an attack down the right side in just the 10th minute. Kennedy Wesley crossed into the box and the ball skipped off the head of a Japanese defender before it fell to an unmarked Sanchez. She had time to settle the ball before striking her shot into the left side of the goal for the 1-0 lead.

The U.S. doubled its lead in the 27tth as Kuhlmann ran onto a long ball down the right side and powered into the penalty area. She sent a hard cross on the ground through the goal area and a Japanese defender, who was shielding the crashing Brianna Pinto, knocked the ball into her net as she fell to the ground.

Japan pulled a goal back in the 30th minute after a slick series of passes put Jun Endo alone in on U.S. goalkeeper Laurel Ivory in the center of the penalty area and she finished into the lower left corner.

Ivory, in just her second U-17 cap, made several huge saves in the first half to keep the USA in the lead heading into halftime and the Americans kept a talented Japanese attack at bay in the second half to seal the victory and take the tournament title.

The U.S. U-17s will now focus on the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship that will qualify three teams for the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan. The World Cup qualifying tournament will be held from March 3-13 in St. George’s, Grenada, and the USA will face Mexico, Jamaica and Costa Rica in group play.