U.S. U-20 WNT shuts out China 1-0 in Nike Friendlies
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team defeated China 1-0 in its final match at the 2018 Women’s Nike International Friendlies.
The USA broke through in the 51st minute when Alexa Spaanstra pounced on a ball in the box and teed-up Isabella Cook for the game-winning goal from close range, cementing the USA’s first victory of the new U-20 cycle.
The USA got cooking quickly with a few chances in the early-going, but the well-organized China defense kept the U.S. off the scoreboard despite the Americans dictating the attack and holding the majority of possession. After forward Samantha Kroeger put a header on frame in the third and defender Maycee Bell hit a shot wide in the fifth, the U.S. struggled to get the ball into the box against a sound China back line.
China tried to strike on the counterattack, and forward Yao Mengjia often proved the turn-key as a strong, fast presence up top.
After scoring an impressive goal against France, Kroeger once again made an impact against China, helping to spark a number of U.S. attacks. In the 19th, she kept a free kick alive with a ball to Rebecca Jarrett, whose shot was just deflected off the foot of defender Han Huimin. Bell and the U.S. back line held strong against China’s counter, while the U.S. sprung some quick strikes of its own that created solid chances, in particular through Player of the Match Brianna Pinto, who hit the crossbar and helped get things going in the midfield.
The U-20s found their breakthrough in the second half after China had done well to clear almost any entry pass into the box. Forward Alexa Spaanstra pounced when China allowed a rebound in dangerous territory. As she evaded a number of sliding defenders in congestion near the end line, she got the ball to Cook just above the six-yard-box, where she chipped it just beneath the crossbar for the game’s opening goal.
While the USA continued to take the initiative on the attack throughout the rest of the half, China pushed hard for an equalizer in the game’s last 10 minutes. The U.S. defense held strong as China teed off on a set of dangerous corner kicks, but ultimately secured the 1-0 clean sheet win.
The 2018 Women’s Nike Friendlies will conclude on Tues., Dec. 11, as China takes on France. France is in the driver’s seat heading into the competition’s final game, needing just a draw to clinch the trophy.
2018 Women’s Nike International Friendlies Standings
Goal Scoring Rundown
USA – Isabella Cook (Alexa Spaanstra), 51st minute: From the top of the 18-yard-box, Spaanstra turned her defender and played to her college teammate, Rebecca Jarrett, on the run down the right wing. Jarrett delivered a cross into the box as she approached the end-line, and China deflected it at the near post, but Spaanstra rushed for the rebound, beating a sliding defender. She took a dribble as another defender slid for the ball, then dished to Cook hovering near the six-yard-box. Cook chipped it above the ‘keeper and rattled the crossbar for what proved to be the game-winner. USA 1, CHN 0 FINAL
Key Defensive Stops
CHN – Han Huimin, 19th minute: Off of a free kick from a dangerous spot just outside the box, the USA sent a ball in, but China got a head on it. The deflection fell to Kroeger, who played to Jarrett near the penalty spot. She took a hard-hit shot, but Huimin stuck out a foot and got enough of the ball to deflect it out of harm’s way.
USA – Maycee Bell, 42nd minute: China proved dangerous on the counter, but Bell, serving as captain, snuffed out one of its most threatening runs. As the USA tried to spring an attack, Shen Mengyu stepped up to boot a ball to a Chinese player on the run and she popped it forward to Zhuo Maji, who played Tian Yunlang on a run into the box. As she dribbled in and prepared to rip a shot, Bell charged in to make a nice tackle and poke the ball away. Brianna Martinez completed the clearance to avoid the danger.
CHN – Shu Mengdi, 45+ minute: The USA launched a counterattack of its own in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, as Elaine Rouse won a tight ball in the box and slipped it out to Kroeger. She shielded the ball from two defenders and turned upfield, outrunning another defender before playing it up to Spaanstra on the run. She dished to Jarrett on the wing, and her ball into the box was sent away by the goalkeeper.
– U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. China
Date: December 9, 2018
Competition: 2018 Nike Women’s International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 69 degrees; cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
CHN 0 0 0
USA – Isabella Cook (Alexa Spaanstra) 51st minute
USA: 22-Hensley Hancuff; 2-Bri Martinez (3-Natalie Maurer, 46), 5-Tori Hansen, 15-Laney Rouse (14-Abby Allen, 46), 4-Maycee Bell (capt.); 8-Brianna Pinto (21-Sydney Simmons, 75), 10-Emily Gray, 13-Isabella Cook (23-Cori Dyke, 57), 7-Alexa Spaanstra (20-Jaelyn Eisenhart, 80); 17-Rebecca Jarrett (9-Reilyn Turner, 57), 11-Sam Kroeger
Substitutes not used: 1-Mia Justus, 6-Megan Bornkamp, 19-Lia Godfrey
Head coach: Keri Sarver
CHN: 1-Shu Mengdi; 30-Yang Shuhui, 17-Han Huimin, 29-Dou Jiaxing (capt.), 23-Zhan Zewen; 7-Yang Qian, 8-Ou Yiyao (21-Sun Pingwei, 76), 4-Yang Xiaoxia (28-Tian Yunlang, 41), 12-Zhuo Maji (14-Li Yanan, 70); 6-Shen Mengyu, 10-Yao Mengjia (15-Xu Ting, 55)
Substitutes: 5-Tan Qing, 9-Yuan Cong, 13-Wang Yumeng, 19-Han Xuan, 22-Liang Jiahui
Head coach: Wang Jun
Stats Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 16 / 9
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 10 / 11
Offside: 2 / 1
USA – Tori Hansen (caution) 62nd minute
CHN – Han Huimin (caution) 86
Referee: Jaime Padilla (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Katarzyna Wasiak (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rachel Cortez (USA)
4th Official: Samantha Martinez (USA)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Brianna Pinto