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Late Morgan goal earns USA tie
by Paul Kennedy, April 1st, 2012 4:52PM

TAGS:  japan, women's national team


[KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP] Alex Morgan scored with 17 minutes remaining for her team-leading 12th goal in 10 games in 2012 to earn the USA a 1-1 draw with host Japan before a crowd of 15,159 in Sendai in the first game of the Kirin Challenge Cup.

The goal had initially been waved off for offside, but Chinese referee Li Juan then sprinted over to the assistant referee, who had put her flag up, conferred briefly and then correctly signaled for a goal.

Replays showed that not only did the pass to Morgan come off the foot of a Japanese defender, but she was also in an onside position when U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd was dispossessed in the center of the penalty area.

The meeting with world champion Japan was the second in less than a month. Japan beat the USA, 2-1, at the Algarve Cup.

Japan's pressure paid off in the 32nd minute when a ball was lifted over the back line and into the penalty area for Yukari Kinga, who laid the ball off to Yuki Nagasato, whose first shot was spectacularly saved by Hope Solo, but the ball rebounded to Kinga, who plowed her chance into the right side of the net.

"It was an important game for us and excellent environment," said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. "I am so grateful that we got this kind of game. We can learn from how we played in the first half and how we changed it in the second half. It is great when you have such a big crowd watching and cheering when it really matters, and today it did."

The USA will next face Brazil on Tuesday at Fukuda Denshi Arena. The meeting will be the first between the teams since their quarterfinal match at the 2011 Women's World Cup.

April 1 in Sendai
Japan 1 USA 1. Goals: Kinga 32; Morgan 73.
Japan -- Kaihori, Kinga, Kumagai, Sameshima (Ariyoshi, 67), Tanaka; Yano, Sakaguchi (Sugasawa, 86), Miyama, Kawasumi, Ohno (Utsugi, 86), Nagasato (Ando, 61).
USA -- Solo, LePeilbet, Rampone, Buehler, O'Hara; Cheney, Boxx (Heath, 73), Lloyd, O'Reilly (Rodriguez, 82), Morgan (Leroux, 82), Wambach.
Referee: Li Juan (China).
Att.: 15,159.

  1. Scott Yary
    commented on: April 2, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.
    Correction: Japan won 1-0 in Algarve Cup. Simple google search would have helped. Also it was Rachel Buehler that actually kicked Kinga's cross/pass into Hope. ESPN replays show it clearly. It was very reminiscence of the 1st Japan goal in the WC 2011 Final
  1. Carl Hudson
    commented on: April 2, 2012 at 9:41 a.m.
    This game was another in a string of pitiful exhibitions cause by the "usual suspects": Total soccer incompetents Shannon Boxx, Carly Lloyd, and "Give the Ball Away" Heather O'Reilly. They were abetted by LePeilbet, Cheney who did nothing right, and incompetent player selection and coaching by Pia. It doesn't help that Amy Wambach is a full step-and-a-half too slow, and who never had a chance to show her heading skills due to too few corner kicks (which goes back to the pathetic midfield's ability to maintain possession and start attacks). If it wasn't for Morgan, Rampone and Solo, we wouldn't even have a team. I think this coach has got to go.

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