Japan wins first of two friendlies

[USA UNDER-20 WOMEN] Japan showed that it could be a force at the 2014 Under-20 World Cup in Canada as it beat the USA, 3-2, in the first of two under-20 friendlies at the U.S. Soccer National Team Training Center. The second game between the USA, the 2012 U-20 world champion, and Japan, host of the 2012 Under-20 World Cup, will take place on Sunday.

The came back from two goals down to tie the game at 2-2 on goals by Andi Sullivan and Mandy Freeman on plays that began with Rose Lavelle set pieces, but Japan won on substitute Yu Nakasato's goal from close range in the 72nd minute.

The Japanese outshot the USA 15-8, but keeper Katelyn Rowland kept the Americans in the game with eight saves.

“I liked the first 20 of minutes of each half, we were just as good if not better than Japan,” said U.S. head coach Michelle French. “I also like the way we responded after being down two goals and getting two in succession to start the second half. That showed the mentality of this team which is obviously extremely important.”

French said there was room for improvement.

“Offensively, we have to be better technically and our speed of play and thought needs to improve,” said French. “We need to be better at tracking their movement because there is so much interchanging between their midfield and forward lines and it caused a lot of problems for us. Looking at the game film will definitely help us for Sunday.”

Aug. 8 in Carson, Calif.
USA 2 Japan 3. Goals: Sullivan 46, Freeman 52; Tanaka 28, Momiki 44, Nakasato 72.
USA -- Rowland; Liedle (Mueller, 82), Roccaro, Naughton (Freeman, 46), Sullivan; Miranda (Mills, 46), Weatherholt, Lavelle; Green (Thomas, 72), Doniak (Munerlyn, 46), Purce.
Japan -- Inoue, Ueno, Miyake (Narumiya, 64), Morimatsu, Shimizu (Kojima, 75); Naomoto, Momiki, Sumida (Nakasato, 57), Hasegawa; Michigami (Shiraki, 56), Tanaka.
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