The U.S. women's national team improve its record to 10-0-2 in 2007 with a 1-0 win over long-time rival Norway Saturday on a second-half goal from midfielder Carli Lloyd.
The USA extended its unbeaten streak to 44 games, 43 under Coach Greg Ryan. It was also the USA's seventh straight victory over Norway, by far the longest streak for either team in a series that dates back to 1987. The USA, which has played Norway more than any other country, now leads the all-time series with 20 wins, 18 losses and two ties.
The goal came after second-half substitute Natasha Kaicaught Norway napping, playing the ball short and quickly to Kristine Lilly, who took a touch toward goal and spun a wonderful left-footed cross to the far post from just outside the penalty area. The ball dropped perfectly in between three Norwegian defenders to Lloyd, whose diving header from close range beat Norwegian goalkeeper Christine Nilsen into the lower left corner.
"Tonight we went with one of our youngest lineups we've gone with all year long," said Ryan. "When you go over [to the Women's World Cup], you are going to be in these kinds of games where it means everything to both teams and you are playing a great opponent. I am really pleased about how we held up. I thought from the beginning of the game to the end we just got stronger and I was really happy with the core of young midfielders that were all over the park."
Kai and fellow sub Angela Hucles were the only players to face Norway who were not on Ryan's initial 18-player squad for the Women's World Cup he announced last week.
Three game remain in the Send-Off Series: Japan at Spartan Stadium in San Jose on July 28, New Zealand in Chicago on Aug. 12 at Soldier Field and Finland at The Home Depot Center on Aug. 25.
June 14 in East Hartford, Conn.
USA 1 Norway 0.Goal: Lloyd 66.
USA -- Solo, Rampone, Whitehill, Markgraf, Lopez, Osborne, Chalupny, Lloyd (Hucles, 74), Tarpley (Kai, 46), Wambach, Lilly.
Norway --Nilsen, Horpestad, Folstad, Nordby, Christensen, Gulbrandsen, Storlokken, Wiik, Larsen Kaurin (Mykjaland, 78), Giske (Lehn, 74), M.Knutsen.
Referee: Kari Seitz (USA).
WORLD CUP ROSTER-INITIAL 18
GOALKEEPERS:Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS:Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS: Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.);
FORWARDS:Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).