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List of Americans Abroad

Despite taking group title, U.S. must improve to achieve World Cup goals.

Despite being dominated, U.S. rallies to draw North Korea 2-2 in Women's World Cup.

Despite being dominated, U.S. rallies to draw North Korea 2-2 in Women's World Cup.

Wambach hurts toe in 4-0 romp over Finland in final Cup tune-up.

Wambach hurts toe in 4-0 romp over Finland in final Cup tune-up.

Wambach nets pair, UNC quartet adds four in 6-2 rout of Canada.

Schedule for World Cup prep matches is set.

Ryan, Lilly to visit China for Women's World Cup draw.

Lilly scores two more in U.S.'s 5-0 rout of Mexico.

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

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

Without best effort, U.S. still dumps England 3-0 in World Cup quarterfinals.

Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach celebrated her 100th international appearance, the 20 th American woman to reach that milestone, by heading home the goal that put the U.S. ahead for good.
-- AbbyWambach.com web site photo --
By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Saturday, September 22, 2007) -- In yet another underwhelming performance, the U.S. advanced to the Women's World Cup semifinals with a 3-0 victory over England at the Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium in China. The Americans prevailed by using a combination of strong defensive work by their back-line and midfield, and the poor play of England goalkeeper Rachel Brown, who was at least partially at fault on all three U.S. goals.

The U.S. is two wins away from an unprecedented third World Cup championship -- no other nation has captured more than one -- because Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Kristine Lilly were able to make England pay for Brown's shakiness with three goals in a 12-minute span early in the second half.

England, using a short passing game, completely dominated the scoreless first half. The U.S. was reduced to sending repeated long balls into the England penalty area, the reward being a number of corner kicks, but little else.

It was not so much the Americans got off to a slow start, as they did in two of their first three matches, but they played at a relaxed pace, which was exactly what England wanted. Without U.S. pressure on the ball, England was able to control it for long stretches albeit, without creating much in the way of quality scoring chances.

Actually the two best opportunities for either team came in the five minutes before halftime when Wambach and Lilly each were had good chances, but could not convert. Wambach just missed getting a foot on defender Stephanie Lopez's accurate long pass into the center of the box, while Lilly's blast from the top right corner of the area was turned away by Brown.

The U.S. immediately picked up the pace when play resumed and it paid quick dividends. Lilly sent a left-side corner kick to the far post where a determined Wambach lunged forward and drove a header off Brown's left hand and in. While Wambach's shot was powerful and from close range, Brown should have been able to block it or tip it over her crossbar.

Wambach had her 81st career goal while she became the 20th U.S. woman to reach 100 caps.

Nine minutes later Shannon Boxx scored one of the prettier goals of the tournament when she stole a ball from an opposing midfielder, took two steps to it and drove a skipping 22 yard shot into the right corner of the net to make it 2-0. Brown, possibly obstructed, dove to her left and got two sets of fingertips on the bouncing ball, but deflected it into the corner of the net,

Lilly completed the scoring in the 60th minute with one of the easiest goals of her legendary career. Brown misjudged Catherine Whitehill's long ball from the U.S. back-line, barely getting a fingertip on it. Lilly was first two the ball and tapped it in from six yards out for the 3-0 advantage,

England today was without the services of key midfielder Fara Williams, who was serving a yellow-cards suspension. As a result, England's star player Kelly Smith was forced to add more midfield responsibilities, which lessened her ability to venture forward and create scoring opportunities. With Lesli Osborne, among other Americans, keeping a continual eye on her, Smith, who was tied for second with four goals in this tournament, was not able to manage a shot on goal until the dying minutes.

By the time Smith was moved to the front line, it was too late.

Despite leading comfortable for the final 30 minutes, U.S. coach Greg Ryan continued to show little faith in his bench by using only two of his three allowed subs, and those briefly.

In the long run, results are what matters, and the U.S., regardless of living up to expectations of the home fans, is in prime position to take home the title with either Brazil or Australia being Wednesday's semifinal opponent. There is something to be said for "winning ugly," yet the question remains can the U.S. do it two more times.


U.S. player ratings

Starters

Goalkeeper Hope Solo - 6 : Not pressured at all, but controlled her area when needed, confidently handling crosses and corners.

Defender Christie Rampone - 5.5: Effectively used her speed to prevent attackers from getting around her. Did not venture forward enough, but had a fine defensive outing.

Defender Catherine Whitehill - 5.5: Roamed effectively into the midfield and continued to talk long throw ins from both sides of the field. An active match.

Defender Kate Markgraf - 6: Another solid match. Controlled the center of the box and gave up few chances, if any.

Defender Stephanie Lopez - 6.5: Was quite busy, taking most of the corners, pushing forward into the attack when the U.S. picked up the pace in the second half, and playing very solid defense. A strong outing.

Midfielder Lori Chalupny - 5.5: With England possessing the ball for much of the first half, had to repeatedly run and defend, which she did effectively. As the match opened up in the second half, she was more able to get into the attack.

Midfielder Shannon Boxx - 6.5: Scored a nice goal and did a fine job in the defensive midfield to limit England's chances.

Midfielder Leslie Osborne - 6: Turned in a defensive gem, shadowing Smith and giving her little room to do much wit the ball deep in the U.S. end. Her best performance of the tournament.

Forward Heather O'Reilly - 5.5: Essentially was forced to play in the midfield and did not get much into the attack, but worked hard and helped force England off the ball.

Forward Kristine Lilly - 6: Worked hard and was rewarded for her aggressiveness with an easy tap-in goal after Brown let Whitehill's long ball bounce over her head. Her corner kicks and crosses were on the mark and she set up Wambach's winner with a corner. .

Forward Abby Wambach - 6: Very tightly marked, but was able to use her size and strength to put the U.S. ahead for good by drilling a header. She did let a couple of chances go unfinished and she looked tired at times today.

Reserves

Midfielder Carli Lloyd (82nd minute for Box) - 5.5: Did a good job down the stretch to control the ball and not allow England any chance to get back into the match.

Striker Natasha Kai (86th minute for Wambach) - 5: Chased down some balls in the final minutes.

SoccerTimes Player of the Match: Shannon Boxx.


The U.S. Women's World Cup roster:

Goalkeepers (3): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.).

Defenders (6): Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Catherine Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.).

Midfielders (7): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 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.).


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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