U.S. Women: Stoppage-time goal lifts China over USA

The U.S. women's national team saw its 50-game domestic unbeaten streak come to an end, giving up a goal two minutes into stoppage time to lose to China, 2-1, at Giants Stadium in front of 23,765 fans. In an ironic twist, the match reversed the score of last Thursday's meeting between the two teams in Hershey, Pa., when Tisha Venturini scored two minutes into stoppage time to give the USA the 2-1 victory. After tying the score at 1-1 in the 58th minute on a fine individual effort from Julie Foudy, the USA pushed forward to the end for a winning goal, and it cost them, as China instead scored the decider off a counter-attack. China struck the fatal blow to the Americans in the 92nd minute when Zhang Ouying -- an 82nd minute substitute -- got behind the U.S. defense, out-running Christie Pearce and Carla Overbeck to slot her shot into the left corner. The final whistle blew less than a minute later. "We got away from our game plan a bit, and we were sending everyone forward at the end," said U.S. coach Tony DiCicco. "But that's a credit to this team, because they feel like a tie is a loss and they want to win every game. We can learn a lot from this game to take with us into the World Cup this summer." The USA out-shot China, 16-8, but the match featured end-to-end play with dangerous chances for both teams, as well as some physical play which spurred 27 fouls and four yellow cards. In the 42nd minute, Sun Wen's cracker of a shot from 20 yards out was pushed of the crossbar by a flying U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry. U.S. midfielder Kristine Lilly barely missed in the 44th minute when her shot from 18 yards was saved by the diving Chinese goalkeeper Gao Hong. Lilly's header off a free-kick cross from Mia Hamm in the 54th minute flashed just outside the left post. In the 56th minute, Foudy's shot from a difficult angle outside the left post beat Gao, but rolled just wide of the far post. It was China that scored first just 14 minutes into the game off a quick restart when Liu Ailing played long ball to Sun. Overbeck over-ran the floating pass and the ball bounced through to Sun, who raced in and bent her shot around Scurry and under the cross bar from 15 yards out. It was Sun's second goal in as many games as she also scored on a free-kick on Thursday. Just minutes later, Zhao Lihong got behind the U.S. defense on the right, but shot wide left from a sharp angle. The USA equalized in the 58th minute when Foudy won a poor China pass out of the back. The ball bounced to Cindy Parlow, who put Foudy behind the defense with one touch. Foudy took a touch toward the goal, then cut the ball back toward the middle of the penalty box, eluding a defender in the process. Her shot was deflected off the foot of a Chinese defender and looped over Gao Hong and into the net to tie the game. It was Foudy's 30th international goal. "This just goes to show that anything can happen when two of the best teams in the world play," said Lilly, who played in her world record 173rd match. "Great teams make things happen. We got the goal made it happen on Thursday and China got the goal today. We can never forget that the game is 90 minutes and you have to play end-to-end until it's over." In the 78th minute, Bai Jie's hard foul on Michelle Akers caused the U.S. midfielder to stay down for several minutes, but the tackle earned only a yellow card. The loss breaks the 50-game domestic unbeaten streak that stretches back to Feb. 4, 1996, and a 2-1 loss to Norway in Jacksonville, Florida. The streak included two draws (with China and Germany) and 48 wins. "China is one of the best teams in the world and they have been for a long time," added DiCicco. "In the last five matches, we've each won two games and tied the other. But there are more than two teams that can win the Women's World Cup. Germany beat China two weeks ago, Norway has split with China in their last two matches and Denmark, Sweden and Brazil will all have talented teams. It will be a difficult road for any team to the Final this summer." The NIKE Road to Pasadena continues as the Americans travel to Charlotte, N.C. tomorrow to prepare to face Japan on Thursday, April 29, at Ericsson Stadium (Kickoff at 7 p.m. ET). The USA will face Japan again on May 2 inAtlanta at Dekalb Memorial Stadium (Kickoff at 2:00 p.m. ET, LIVE on espn2). April 25 in East Rutherford, N.J. USA 1 China 2. Goals: Foudy 58; Sun Wen 14, Zhang Ouying 90. USA -- Scurry, Overbeck, Fawcett, Sobrero (Roberts, 46), Chastain (Pearce, 77), Akers, Foudy (Venturini, 90), Lilly, Milbrett (Fotopoulos, 79), Parlow (MacMillan, 68), Hamm. China -- Gao Hong, Fan Yunjie, Wen Lirong, Xie Huilin, Zhao Lihong, Wang Liping, Liu Ailing, Liu Ying (Pu Wei, 54), Bai Jie, Sun Wen, Jin Yan (Zhang Ouying, 82). Yellow cards; USA -- Akers 34; China -- Sun Wen 4, Liu Ailing 45, Bai Jie 78. Referee: Kari Seitz (USA). Att.: 23,765.
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