The USA won two games during its fourth-place finish, beating New Zealand, 3-1, in group play and Mexico, 2-1, in the quarterfinals before losing to North Korea, 2-1, in the semis. It opened with a scoreless tie to France and tied Ghana, 1-1, in its final group game.
Coach Michelle French’s team was outshot by each opponent besides New Zealand.
SHOT COUNT (score):
USA 3 JAPAN 29 (0-1)
USA 7 North Korea 25 (1-2)
USA 4 Mexico 15 (2-1)
USA 8 Ghana 14 (1-1)
USA 13 New Zealand 5 (3-1)
USA 3 France 17 (0-0)
North Korea beat France, 3-1, in the final to lift its second U-20 Women’s World Cup.
In the third-place game, U.S. goalkeeper Casey Murphy made seven saves and the Americans held off the Japanese until Mami Ueno chipped the ball over Murphy in the 87th minute from two yards inside the left side of the penalty area into the far corner of the goal.
Japan had 63 percent of the possession.
"Anybody that watched the games knows that Japan is absolutely world class," said U.S. French. "Being able to track and manage their movement off the ball is something that's very difficult. We did our best. I couldn't be more impressed with Japan as a team, but on the flip side our players took every single punch that they threw until that goal at the end. We almost found a way, as we've done all tournament, to get a goal and get back in the game."
Dec. 3 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
USA 0 Japan 1. Goal: Ueno (Kitagawa) 87.
USA -- Murphy; Elliston, Otto, Riehl, Jean; Pugh, Cousins (DeMelo, 69), Ogle, Sanchez, Fox (Canales, 86); Hedge (Scarpa, 46).
Japan -- Hirao; Kitagawa, Ichise, Sumida, Sugita; Hasegawa, Momiki, Haza, Miura (Matsubara 59); Miyagawa, Moriya (Ueno, 46).
Referee: Liang Qin (China)
U.S. U-20 Women's World Cup History
Year U.S. finish (U.S. coach)
2002 Champion (Tracey Leone)
2004 Third place (Mark Krikorian)
2006 Fourth Place (Tim Schulz)
2008 Champion (Tony DiCicco)
2010 Quarterfinals (Jill Ellis)
2012 Champion (Steve Swanson)
2014 Quarterfinals (Michelle French)
2016 Fourth place (Michelle French)