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Global Aug 31, 2012

U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team edges Korea DPR in OT to advance to semifinal of 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan

The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team earned a hard-fought 2-1 overtime victory against a strong and talented Korea DPR side to advance to its fifth semifinal appearance in a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Forward Chioma Ubogagu scored the game-winning goal in the 98th minute while midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo opened the scoring with a spectacular long-distance strike seven minutes into the second half.

The U.S. victory sets up a semifinal clash with Nigeria, the team that defeated the USA on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The match from Tokyo’s National Stadium will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN3 on Tuesday, Sept. 4, with coverage starting at 2:50 a.m. ET.

Germany will face host Japan in the other semifinal which kicks off at the National Stadium at 6:30 a.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local).

Entering the quarterfinal, forward Maya Hayes had accounted for four of the USA’s five goals in the tournament, but the young Americans got some much-needed offense from Ubogagu and DiBernardo against a Korea DPR team that featured 10 players from their 2012 London Olympic Team. Seven North Koreans who played against the full U.S. Women’s National Team at the Olympics during the USA’s 1-0 group play victory at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, played against the U.S.U-20s in this match.

In a match played a high pace with attacks going end-to-end for the entire 120 minutes, the USA put together its best match of the tournament while possessing the ball extremely well and defending bravely against the highly experienced Koreans who had scored a tournament-high 15 goals during group play. Forward Kim Un Hwa, who had come into the game as the tournament’s leading scorer with seven goals, was shut out by the U.S. defense.

U.S. defender Crystal Dunn, who played a tremendous match at right back, set up Ubogagu’s goal with the cross from wing a little more than eight minutes into the first of the two 15-minute overtime periods. Ubogagu lost Korea DPR defender Pong Son Hwa with her run into the left side of the box, drifting towards the back post just as the cross was served in. With good space to line up her header, Ubogagu drove the ball at the net from seven yards out and while North Korea goalkeeper O Chang Ran managed to get a right glove on the shot, she couldn’t turn it away. The ball bounced off her hand and over the goal line to give the USA the lead with 22 minutes still left to go.

It would be a gut-wrenching 22 minutes for both teams, who battled on tired legs, but the Americans possessed the ball extremely well, salting the seconds off the clock while center backs Julie Johnston and Cari Roccaro ran down every through ball and got a head on every long service. Korea DPR did not register a shot on goal during overtime.

In the buildup to DiBernardo’s go-ahead tally in the 52nd minute, the U.S. whipped the ball in from the right side and Korea DPR’s defense failed to get a good clear. DiBernardo was there to latch onto the loose ball in the middle of the field and with a quick touch she lined up a shot a thunderous right-footed shot from 28 yards out that dipped past O and into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Korea DPR found the equalizer in the 75th minute when Kim Un Hwa poked a pass to second-half sub Kim Su Gyong, who found space in the middle of the box and blasted a left-footed shot from 15 yards into the upper right corner past U.S. goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin.

Heaberlin played an air-tight match, coming off her line numerous times to gobble up through balls or clear balls away with her feet. She made three saves on the night and set the tone early with a big diving save to her left after Jon Myong Hwa had drilled a free kick that was headed just inside the left post. O had seven saves for Korea DPR.

The USA’s best chance of the first half came in the 41st minute when Morgan Brian met a DiBernardo corner kick with a bullet header that was just palmed away by O, who managed to get enough of the ball to slip it around the right post.

At halftime, the game was almost dead even, with the USA taking four shots to North Korea’s three while both teams had earned four corner kicks. The USA would – by a small margin – have the better of the second half and the overtime, ending the match with a 14-7 advantage in shots and limited the Koreans to just four total shots on goal.

Dunn, Brian and the speedy Kealia Ohai, who played an inspirational 120 minutes running the flanks, all had good chances in the second half and overtime, but O was up to the task, smothering several of the shots. After Samantha Mewis replaced Cobb in the 60th minute, Brian took Cobb’s spot on the forward line and played up top for most of the remainder match until she dropped back into the midfield for the final 15 minutes to help the USA hold the ball and keep the Koreans at bay until the final whistle.

Additional Notes:

  • Chioma Ubogagu scored her ninth career international goal for the U-20s in her 15th appearance. She also scored the winning goal in the championship game of the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament in a 2-1 victory against Canada.
  • Vanessa DiBernardo’s goal on Friday was her third at the U-20 level in 18 international appearances.
  • Cari Roccaro got the start next to Julie Johnston at center back. Roccaro had come off the bench against Germany in place of Johnston and had started against China.
  • Alaskan forward Kelly Cobb made her second start of the U-20 Women’s World Cup and put in a solid 60 minutes before being replaced by Samantha Mewis, who put in an excellent performance over the final hour.
  • Maya Hayes made her team-leading 41st career U-20 appearance.
  • Kassy Kallman entered the game in the 108th minute as the USA used its last sub for the cramping DiBernardo. Kallman moved to left back, Chioma Ubogagu took DiBernardo’s spot at attacking midfield and Mollie Pathman moved up to left wing. Pathman helped kill precious minutes near the end of the match by possessing the ball in the corners.

– U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: United States U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Korea DPR
Date: Aug. 31, 2012
Competition: 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup; Quarterfinal
Venue: Komaba Stadium; Saitama, Japan
Kickoff: 6:30 a.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local)
Attendance: 6,284
Weather: 81 degrees, hot and humid

Scoring Summary: 1  2  OT1 OT2  F
USA                        0  1    1     0      2
PRK                         0  1    0     0      1

USA – Vanessa DiBernardo (unassisted)   52nd minute
PRK – Kim Su Gyong (Kim Un Hwa)         75
USA – Chioma Ubagagu (Crystal Dunn)    98

USA: 1-Bryane Heaberlin; 4-Crystal Dunn, 8-Julie Johnston (capt.), 3-Cari Roccaro, 2-Mollie Pathman; 16-Sarah Killion, 10-Vanessa DiBernardo (15-Kassey Kallman, 108), 6-Morgan Brian; 7-Kealia Ohai, 20-Kelly Cobb (13-Samantha Mewis, 61), 5-Maya Hayes (9-Chioma Ubogagu, 71)
Subs not used: 11-Becca Wann, 12-Katie Stengel, 14-Mandy Laddish, 17-Taylor Schram, 18-Abby Smith, 19-Stephanie Amack, 21-Jami Kranich
Head Coach: Steve Swanson

PRK: 18-O Chang Ran; 2-Kim Nam Hui, 5-Yun Song Mi, 14-Pong Son Hwa, 15-Ri Nam Sil; 8-Jon Myong Hwa, 12-Kim Un Hyang, 13-O Hui Sun (capt.), 19-Yu Jong Im (20-Kim Su Gyong, 56); 10-Yun Hyon Hi, 11-Kim Un Hwa (17-Kwon Song Hwa, 78; 3-Ri Yong Mi, 105)
Subs not used: 1-Choe Kyong Im, 7-Kim Un Ju, 4-Kim Un Ha, 6-Ryu Un Jong, 9-Pak Kyong Mi, 16-Ri Hyang Hui, 21-Kim Chol Ok
Head Coach: Sin Ui Gun

Stats Summary: USA / PRK
Shots: 14 / 7
Shots on Goal: 9 / 4
Saves: 3 / 7
Corner Kicks: 9 / 7
Fouls: 14 / 12
Offside: 1 / 8

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Kealia Ohai (caution)     57th minute
USA – Cari Roccaro (caution)   80
PRK – Yun Song Mi (caution)   118

Referee: Silvia Spinelli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Karine Solana Vives (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Manuela Nicolosi (FRA)
Fourth Official: Fusako Kajiyama (JPN) Woman of the Match:
Julie Johnston