[ALGARVE CUP] The USA got goals from Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe in the first 18 minutes and held on to beat Japan, 2-1, in its opening game of the 2011 Algarve Cup.
WPS veteran Aya Miyama nailed a free kick in the 29th minute for Japan's goal.
The USA hit the woodwork twice before the break but could not add to its lead.
In the 35th minute, Carli Lloyd’s header smacked off the middle of the bar, and then in the 39th minute Rapinoe hit the right post on a shot that bounced away.
“It was a good start and in the first 45 minutes we played some very good soccer,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “Heather O’Reilly had a good game, and we looked dangerous at times. We played some good one-touch soccer and got some good rhythm against a very good team in Japan. In the second half, there was a little bit of a difference, and you could see how good they are in keeping possession, but I still felt we controlled the game because of our defense.”
The USA will now face Norway on Friday.
March 2 in Vila Real de San Antonio
USA 2 Japan 1. Goals: Rodriguez 7, Rapinoe 18; Miyama 29.
USA -- Barnhart, Krieger, Rampone, Buehler, Cox, O’Reilly, Boxx (Lindsey, 71), Lloyd, Rapinoe (Heath, 46), Cheney (Wambach, 46), Rodriguez (Morgan, 63).
Japan -- Fukimoto, Kinga, Iwashimizu, Kumagai, Yano (Sameshima, 44), Sawa, Miyama, Utsugi (Sakaguchi, 79), Ando (Arakawa, 56), Ohno (Kawasumi, 76), Nagasato (Takase, 76).