[KIRIN CUP] In a game that kicked off four hours earlier than previously scheduled due to heavy rains and high winds that were forecast and kept the crowd down to 500 fans at Chiba's Fukuda Denshi Arena, the USA beat Brazil, 3-0, to wrap up its stay at the Kirin Cup. All three goals came off set pieces, Carli Lloyd and Shannon Boxx in the first half and sub Amy Rodriguez in the 83rd minute.
“Playing against Brazil is always good,” said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. “I think in the first half the speed of play was good and we scored two good goals on set pieces, which is something we talk about and prepare the team for. At halftime, we made some changes because we wanted some players to get some minutes against a very good team. Overall, I am happy with the tournament. Playing Japan and Brazil in April as preparation for the Olympics is very good for this team.”
Both first-half goals came from free kicks. The first was in the 18th minute when U.S. captain Christie Rampone sent a free kick deep into the penalty area, where the ball hit the back of defender Rachel Buehler’s heel and rolled into the path of Lloyd, who finished from close range.
In the 23rd minute it was Lauren Cheney who hit a fantastic cross to the far post, where Boxx rose up to head it home from three yards out.
On the third goal, Cheney sent the long free kick into the penalty box, where the ball bounced off Wambach, hit off a defender and rolled into the path of Rodriguez, who smashed a nine-yard shot off another defender into the goal.
Next up: China May 27 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
April 3 in Chiba
USA 3 Brazil 0.Goals: Lloyd 18, Box 23, Rodriguez 83.
USA --Solo; LePeilbet (Cox, 32), Rampone (Sauerbrunn, 46), Buehler, O’Hara (Mitts, 83); Cheney, Boxx, Lloyd (Heath, 62), O’Reilly (Rapinoe, 46), Morgan (Rodriguez, 71), Wambach
Brazil -- Barbara; Maurine, Daiane, Erika, Daniele; Ester (Beatriz, 88), Formiga (Aline, 46), Francielle; Thais (Grazielle, 46), Rosana (Maria, 78), Cristiane.