USA opens U-20 Women's World Cup with 3-0 win

The USA showed off the depth of its attacking arsenal with goals from three different players in a 3-0 win over Ghana in their opening match at U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

The goals were scored by forwards Michelle Cooper and Alyssa Thompson in the first half and by Ally Sentnor shortly after her introduction in the second half.

USA vs. Ghana (Video)
11th minute: Cooper (1-0)
38th minute: Thompson (2-0)
51st minute: Sentnor (3-0)

Cooper, the Duke star who won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards at the 2022 Concacaf U-20 championship, put the USA ahead in the 11th minute on a header from close range following a cross from right back Laney Rouse. The play was set up by 17-year-old forward Jaedyn Shaw, who recently made her NWSL debut with the San Diego Wave.

Cooper fed Thompson for the second goal in the 38th minute. Thompson is the USA's other 17-year-old player and a high school senior who plays for the Total Futbol Academy in MLS Next's boys league.

Sentnor completed the scoring in the 51st minute with her first goal for the U-20s. She was considered one of the USA's top young players but tore her ACL in the preseason of her freshman season last summer at North Carolina.

• Sally Menti ruled out. Menti was replaced by Annie Karich after suffering an ACL tear in her right knee during training in Costa Rica prior to the tournament. Karich is a rising freshman at Santa Clara, which Menti also attends.

Aug. 11 in Alajuela
USA 3 Ghana 0. Goals: Cooper 11, Thompson 38, Sentnor 51.
USA -- Justus; Rouse, Mason, Flynn, Guidry (Oke, 53); DellaPeruta (Kitahata, 62), Moultrie, Albert (Lageyre, 84); Thompson (Byars, 53), Cooper (Sentnor, 46), Shaw.
Ghana -- Buoadu; Opoku, Duah, Bugre, Atinga; Teye (Nyame, 79), Owusu, Nyamam (Aniwaa, 71), Sampson (Abdulai, 46); Boaduwaa,  Abdulai (Jafaru, 79).
Yellow Cards: USA -- Rouse 35; GHA -- Bugre 34, Duah 42, Nyamam 54, Jafaru 84.
Red Card: Ghana -- Owusu 31.
Referee: Lara Lee (Australia).
Att.: 987.

Photo: Daniela Porcelli/ISI Photos

20 comments about "USA opens U-20 Women's World Cup with 3-0 win".
  1. Bob Ashpole, August 11, 2022 at 9:18 p.m.

    I watched the first half and the minutes leading to the 3rd goal. It was very interesting. The US team was "rough". The front 5 players were markedly better players than the field players behind them. And much, much better in the attacking half than Ghana.

    The coach appeared to be following Jill Ellis more than the way the current senior team plays. They played out of the back much more effectively than the senior team, mostly because of the positioning was 10-20 yards different. Sometimes an adjustment of 3 yards makes a big difference. The roughest part was playing through the middle third. Once the play linked to the front 5, play became exciting.

    The standouts were Cooper and Moultrie, who is playing professionally at 16. Moultrie stood out because she is the long dreamed of "10" playing on a turbo team. Her execution failed too often, but her decision making was wonderful to watch. She was beating the opposition with her brain rather than athleticism. Because of her smart combination play with the forwards she was getting the ball near the goal but didn't score because her finishing let her down. It is a lot easier to improve finishing than it is to make a player smarter. Somebody has been doing something right with her development.

    Cooper stood out because she was the most dangerous attacker on the field. Less than a minute after she scored the first goal, she was the victim of a dangerous tackle on her ankle. The referee was surprisingly good. She not only watched for fouls on Cooper behind the play, but issued cards for them at the next stoppage. She also issued 2 yellows for persistent fouling on Cooper. One of the cards puzzled the broadcast crew, but they were smart enough to look at fouls behind the play, which was another foul on Cooper. The red card was for a "professional foul" to stop a US attack. Under the circumstances it was a harsh, but a technically correct call. After VAR called for a video review, the referee had little choice but to eject the player. 

    Cooper was slowed noticeably after the first foul, but that didn't stop her from being dangerous. She assisted on the 2nd goal by serving up the ball on a platter for a team mate to finish. 

    Cooper was subbed out at halftime. I hope it was prevention and not due to an injury.

    Bottom line--the team is not a dream team by far, but some of the players have potential to make the senior team in the future.

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, August 11, 2022 at 11:27 p.m.

    Agreed on All points Bob... I like Thompson also... Moultrie should have scored at least (2) Goals... Reminds me of Vladislav Bogićević, of Cosmos Game .. I'm not sure she can play Athletically, Outside of a 10 foot Circle... But, inside that Circle, She's Magic.!!!... Busio; Take Note.!?!?!?

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, August 12, 2022 at 12:15 a.m.

    I liked Thompson too. Apparently the coach does too, because immediately after the score went to 3-0, Thompson was subbed off.

    I mentioned Cooper because I thought she was the best forward and Moultrie because she was the best midfielder. 

    I didn't mention any of the backs, but one of them impressed me by one play. I think it was the left back, but not sure. What I remember is that she was caught out of position by a pass to the winger on her side. She showed great speed in recovering. She didn't cheat back nearer to goal, but ran the farther path to cut off the winger against the touch line. Not only the speed but she looked like a very strong 1v1 defender. She came in strong, but cleanly, with the tackle putting the ball out of play. Again one can't tell much from one play against a U20 Ghana team, but she looked good.

    The keeper wasn't challenged enough to tell much, but she did play well enough with her feet. Her problem is that the US always has a lot of competition for 3 senior team spots.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, August 12, 2022 at 9:38 p.m.

    On the Left Back, #18...we Disagree... I thought she was Slow on the Turn and More of a Lumbering Center Back, being Forced to play Out Wide... We shall see.???

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, August 13, 2022 at 3:57 a.m.

    Santi, that would explain why she was caught out of position.

  6. stewart hayes, August 12, 2022 at 12:01 a.m.

    Saw the whole game and frankly was not impressed.  Passing as a predictable as a clock.  Forcing the passes or getting them intercepted.  No one is really clever on the ball.  Ghana was no test and they have really hurt themselves with the cards they now carry.  
    I don't think I can remember 3 consecutive passes where it counted the entire game for the USWNT.  There was virtually no combination play against a team that appears to be one of the weaker teams in the tournament.  We should have been shredding them.  Japan will.  We have some great talent but they cannot do it alone.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, August 12, 2022 at 12:24 a.m.

    While I agree with your conclusions, you have apparently forgotten the good play particularly in the opponent's half, like the play leading to the three goals. So there were some combination play that I remember, but by no means enough. 

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, August 12, 2022 at 9:40 p.m.

    The BEST Plays were the Two that Moultrie should have Scored On.

  9. frank schoon replied, August 13, 2022 at 9:53 a.m.

    Santi, Bob, are you guys serious about this Ghana game....You guys talk like this Ghana team was serious competition. Ghana is so bad than at the same time talk how well certain individuals on our team played against a team that couldn't find its way out of paper bag. It is only in women soccer that we continually find such bad competition...Women's soccer has a long way to go before I can give it any respect.

    I can could only stand to watch 15min of this garbage. Furthermore I'm not impressed with Moultry, who stands around  shows no fire in her belly for a good talented player will show that. I can't find anything that impresses me about her. It seems like if an American players can make a pass with the heel, he/she can be possibly be labeled as perhaps a talent....

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, August 13, 2022 at 1:43 p.m.

    Frank, I think you can judge Cooper's mentality from this game. She was constantly fouled the entire time she was in their. 4 yellows were issued, and I don't recall another women's match where so many cautions were given for fouls on the same player. 

    I think she demonstrated an awesome mentality.

    As for Moultrie, she is only 16 playing against the U20 Ghana team. I was excited because she was not trying to beat the opponents with her non-existent physical advantages over the athletic Ghana team. She was using her brain. 

    The way I put it, she was playing with her brain on a tubro team. A huge contrast to the other US players. 

    I don't think the quality of the Ghana team impacts those observations.

  11. frank schoon replied, August 13, 2022 at 2:25 p.m.

    Bob, I don't know who Cooper is, I just saw about 15min of this game. What I watched didn't impress me one Iota. And as far Moultry goes, she plays too stationary,not moving much. Forget she's young, we have that in women's  tennis too, where a littel teenage girl beats an over 20player. Women sport is not like men where a 16year old wouldn't even be considered ....The Ghanians might be a little older than her but they can't play soccer which only benefits Moutry

  12. R2 Dad, August 12, 2022 at 12:59 a.m.

    Will try to watch. Has Moultrie developed a left foot yet? Last I recall she barely used it much at all.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, August 12, 2022 at 2:19 a.m.

    She was playing on the right side so there wasn't any reason to use her left foot to pass. 

    She did shoot with the inside of her left foot against the keeper when in the center of the field.

  14. Santiago 1314 replied, August 12, 2022 at 9:45 p.m.

    R2... Not really worried about her Left Foot... Just be PERFECT with your One Foot... Beckenbauer, Maradona, Messi, Cruijff, Muller, Rummenigge, Gordillo, El Magico, Hugo Perez... Etc..Etc..

  15. frank schoon replied, August 13, 2022 at 10 a.m.

    Santi, Cruyff uses both his left and right foot with no problem. The only difference is on crosses from the leftside he employs the outside of his rightfoot for it giva more power in his crosses, although he can cross with his left. You will notice in one of videos when he played for the Diplomats his right leg was bandaged and was forced to play with his leftleg the whole game...His brother while visiting me was telling that me he was in the hospital in the morning for his right leg....

  16. David Crowther, August 12, 2022 at 1:08 p.m.

    While the US should have been able to score more goals in this game and looked a bit sloppy at times, I would still consider them among the favorites to win this cup.  This is in part because so far no one else has looked particularly great.  Most of the games have been tight affairs in which neither team showed much offensive power.  Japan played probably the best free flowing soccer, but their decision making in the final third and shooting were mediocre at best.  Brazil started really well, but dropped off sharply in the second half.  Similarly, Mexico dominated New Zealand at will, but was hopeless in the final third.  Nigeria got a lucky goal, but otherwise were second best to a French team whose entire offense seems to be sending in one cross after another.  In fact, all four European teams dissapointed to at least some extent.  Australia managed to score 3 goals, but mostly because the Tica keeper had a nightmare of a game.  Korea and Canada was an abysmal game between two teams that couldn't string 3 passes together and was decided on two set piece goals.  In fact, the only team that looked solid across all its lines and should have won by more if not for a fantastic performance by the opposing keeper was Colombia.  But I have trouble seeing Colombia as a favorite to win this thing.  Hopefully the level of soccer will improve now that everyone has gotten that first game out of the way.

  17. Santiago 1314 replied, August 12, 2022 at 9:48 p.m.

    Bingo David... Hoping we get an "Uptick" in Game 2... Game 1, Not much to Hope for... I really was Hoping these USA u20s would be Challenging the 1st Team Players... Not seeing it Yet.!!!

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, August 13, 2022 at 4:05 a.m.

    Santi, what I would like to see is the WNT program playing everyone up on the youth teams. In other words U16s on the U18 team and U18s on the U20 team. We might struggle more to get results, but really this would make for better player development than dominating the field with older players. The U20s can play professionally or in college.

  19. frank schoon replied, August 13, 2022 at 6:53 p.m.

    Bob , I would like to see U20 also play on U18 And U18 on U16. This is what Ajax did with van Basten to see how handled himself with lesser players and at the same time see leadership qualities...there is more to soccer than playing with a ball

  20. R2 Dad, August 14, 2022 at 11:55 p.m.

    US loses to NL 0-3, are now in the bottom half of their table. Next up is Japan. Their opponents will be smaller and slower (though quicker and more technical) than our U20 ladies. If the Nats strategy holds, we should be able to out-run, out-shoot and out-hustle the Japanese and win, right? That is our supposed DNA, our competitive advantage. So 3 points in the bag, right? I mean, why wouldn't we win, unless our strategy is wrong? If we lose the next match against Japan, is there going to be some reconning, some repurcussion, some pushback against the current Nats meta? Or do all the Chicago coaches get a hall pass, and life continues regardless?

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