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Lloyd's second straight winner downs Finland 1-0 in Algarve Cup.

Lloyd goal is winner in 2-1 Algarve opening win over China.

Chalupny, Kai power Americans past China 2-0, to Four Nations crown.

Solo stops help save 0-0 draw with Germany to open Four Nations Cup.

Wambach finds net twice, U.S. defeatd Mexico 2-0, qualify for Women's World Cup.

Pardoned Lilly scores, Americans edge Canada to take Peace Cup title.

Lilly equalizes for 1-1 draw with Denmark to open Peace Cup.

Wambach scores three, assists three in 10-0 rout of Taiwan.

Peace Cup event is added to WWC preparation.

Wambach, Kai provide winning margin in 2-0 win over Canada.

O'Reilly, Whitehill help post familiar 5-0 triumph over Ireland.

Germany blanks U.S. 2-0 in U-21 Nordic final.

Reserve Kai nets winner in 1-0 decision over Japan.

Wambach's three strikes lead 3-1 comeback victory over Japan.

Visit to Japan is scheduled, qualifying road is set.

U.S. women

Wambach's two goals, Lloyd strike beat Sweden 3-2, earn Algarve final.

Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach's first two goals of 2007 powered the U.S. past Sweden and into the Algarve Cup championship match.
-- U.S. Soccer Federation photo --

VILA REAL de SAN ANTONIO, Portugal (Monday, March 12, 2007) -- Striker Abby Wambach scored twice, while midfielder Carli Lloyd found net for a third straight outing, and the United States women held on for a 3-2 triumph over Sweden tonight to earn a berth in the Algarve title match for the fifth straight year.

The Americans, No. 2 in the world, needed to win this Group B finale to finish first and earn the right to meet Denmark, the Group A winner, for the tournament championship it won for three straight years (2003-05) before falling to Germany in tiebreaking penalty kicks in last year's final.

The Americans' title shot came only after the U.S. withstood a furious late comeback by the Swedes. Wednesday's title game will be played here at 12:30 p.m. (ET)

"We new we had to win," U.S. midfielder Leslie Osborne said. "We knew we had to score goals and we attacked tonight."

The U.S., which won its fourth straight match, sweeping all three group games in this event, is 4-0-2 (.833) in 2007 and 30-0-7 (.905) since coach Greg Ryan was elevated to head coach for the Algarve Cup two years ago.

Sweden wound up 2-1, followed by Finland (1-2), which registered a 2-0 decision over China (0-3) in today's other Group B match.

Knowing anything less than victory meant playing for third place Wednesday, the Americans came out attacking tonight with strikers Wambach, Kristine Lilly and Lindsay Tarpley supported going forward by Lloyd and Lori Chalupny in the midfield.

The U.S. held an 11-1 edge in shots over the opening 45 minutes and 15-4 for the game, 7-2 on frame.

"It was a fantastic effort," Ryan said. "We talked about it before. We had to go after Sweden"

Sweden goalkeeper Carolina Jonsson was active in her box, grabbing or clearing U.S. entry passes before the Americans broke through with a pair of goal late in the first half.

In the 39th minute, Lloyd worked hard to poke a ball to the left flank where Lilly was advancing. She ran the ball down and touched it back to overlapping defender Stephanie Lopez who returned the favor by sending Lilly deep into the corner. The U.S. captain reached the ball just before the end-line and slid to cross to the top of the six-yard box where Tarpley flicked a header to the far post. Wambach put the U.S. ahead for good by knocking the ball into the net with the inside of her right knee from five yards away for a 1-0 lead.

"The other day at practice, I said I was going to score today, so I think really I was trying not to look like a fool with my teammates," Wambach said. "We had the commitment to go forward today. Lopez was getting in on the left side -- she was a part of three goals and she's our left fullback. It just goes to show you that once we put the effort and commitment into scoring goals, we score a lot of them."

Five minute later, the Americans increased their margin to 2-0, starting with a quick free kick from the left side. Lopez again overlapped and crossed from the end-line, putting the ball into the path of the hard-charging Lloyd, who used her first touch to nail a left-footer into the left corner of the net from eight yards out, leaving Jonsson helpless.

"Steph (Lopez) took the ball down the end line. I saw where she was going to play and I made a run to that exact spot around the six (yard-line)," Lloyd said. "She cut it back and played an awesome ball. I kept my head down and made sure that it went in."

Lloyd entered this event with one international goal, but now has four in 24 appearances.

"We've all been waiting for it because (Lloyd's) got so much ability," Ryan said, "I think she's feeling very confident and feeling like she can go forward and create and get in the box, go at players, take her shots and I think we are seeing a very different Carli Lloyd. She's very mature and very confident at the moment."

Sweden coach Thomas Dennerby made three substitutions in the 51st minute, including forward Victoria Svensson, the team's leading scorer, and promising young midfielder Josefine Oqvist. The Swedes picked up the pressure, earning a corner kick in the 71st minute that led to their first tally. Defender Therese Sjogran placed the ball just above the six-yard box where Oqvist headed a one-hopper that evaded diving U.S. keeper Hope Solo, who managed to get a hand on the ball, but could not keep it from the right corner of the net.

It took te U.S. just a minute to restore its two-goal advantage. Lopez played a short corner kick to Lilly who crossed into the middle. As she received the pass, midfielder Leslie Osborne was leveled by a Swedish defender, leading players in the vicinity to think a penalty kick might be called. One wasn't and the ball fell to reserve midfielder Shannon Boxx in the right side of the penalty area. She lofted the ball to Wambach, who in the midst of three Sweden defenders, nodded a five-yard header into the net.

Wambach's first two goals of 2007 -- giving her 68 in 87 international appearances -- made it 3-1. "I think she's feeling better now," Ryan said. "She did a fantastic job. She got great service, Tarp put it right on her foot on the first one and Boxxy put in a great ball on the second one. Abby is not going to miss those. She knows what to do with it and she did.'

Sweden narrowed its deficit to 3-2 in the 83rd minute when Svensson, Osborne and U.S. defender Heather Mitts all tumbled to the ground in the U.S. box, leading to the Swedes being awarded a penalty kick. Mitts was issued a yellow card, as was Solo for delaying the PK before Svensson converted.

The remaining seven minutes, plus four minutes of stoppage time, were filled with tension, but Sweden could not manage a shot on target.

Lopez, not known as an offensive player, was involved in all three U.S. goals and earned her third career assist on the second tally.

"I was just really looking to improve and get forward more effectively," she said. "I've been trying to get forward, and the coaches are pushing our outside backs to get forward, but I felt more in sync with the offense this game. . . I'm not that much of an offensive player, but I am trying to work on that side of my game so it was kind of surprising. Everyone else put the balls away, I just did my job."

Denmark (2-1) won Group A match despite losing 3-0 to Germany (1-2) today. France (2-1) recorded a 1-0 win defeated Norway (1-2), but Denmark's plus-two goal differential was six better than Frances in the first tiebreaking criterion.


United States 3, Sweden 2

Lineups: - Hope Solo, Heather Mitts, Catherine Whitehill, Christie Rampone, Stephanie Lopez; Leslie Osborne, Lori Chalupny (Shannon Boxx 63), Carli Lloyd, Lindsay Tarpley (Heather O'Reilly 77, Natasha Kai 86), Abby Wambach, Kristine Lilly (captain). Sweden - Caroline Jonsson, Stina Segerstrom, Hanna Marklund (captain), Marlene Sjoberg (Anna Paulson 60), Sara Thunebro, Therese Sjogran (Therese Lundin 78), Salinna Olsson (Frida Ostberg 51), Frida Nordin (Josefine Oqvist 51), Nilla Fischer, Maria Aronsson (Victoria Svensson 51), Lotta Schelin (Sara Johansson 73).

Scoring:
United States - Wambach (Tarpley) 39.
United States - Lloyd (Lopez) 44.
Sweden - Oqvist (Sjogran) 71.
United States - Wambach (Boxx) 72.
Sweden - Svensson (penalty kick) 83.

Shots: United States 15, Sweden 4. Shots on goal: United States 7, Sweden 2. Saves: United States 0, Sweden 4. Corner kicks: United States 10, Sweden 9. Fouls: United States 7, Sweden 9. Offside: United States 5, Sweden 0. Yellow card cautions: United States - Mitts 83, Solo 83.

Referee: Etsuko Fukano (Japan). Assistant. Referees: Hongjuan Liu (China), Hongjue Fu (China). Attendance: 1,000 at Municipal Stadium in Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal. Weather: Cool, crisp, 62 degrees.


14th Annual Algarve Cup in Portugal

Wednseday, March 14

Championship
Denmark vs. United States

Third place
Sweden vs. France

Fifth place
Norway vs. Sweden

Seventh place
Italy vs. Germany

Ninth place
Iceland vs. China

Eleventh place
Ireland vs. Portugal

Monday, March 12

Group A
Germany 3, Germany 0
France 1, Norway 0

Group B
United States 3, Sweden 2
Finland 2, China 0

Group C
Italy vs. Ireland
Portugal vs. Iceland

Group A - Germany, Norway, France, Denmark
Group B - United States, China, Finland, Sweden
Group C - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Iceland

Friday, March 9

Group A
Denmark 1, Norway 0
France 1, Germany 0

Group B
United States 1, Finland 0
Sweden 1, China 0

Group C
Ireland 1, Iceland 1
Italy 1, Portugal 0

Wednseday, March 7

Group A
Norway 2, Germany 1
Denmark 4, France 0

Group B
United States 2, China 1
Sweden 3, Finland 0

Group C
Italy 1, Iceland 0
Portugal 1, Ireland 1


U.S. roster for Algarve Cup:

Goalkeepers (2): Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.).

Defenders (7): Lori Chalupny (St. Louis), Tina Ellertson (nee Frimpong, Vancouver, Wash.), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), India Trotter (Plantation, Fla.), Catherine Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.).

Midfielders (6): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Marci Jobson (nee Miller, St. Charles, Ill.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wisc.), Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.).

Forwards (5): Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawai'i), Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

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