United States wins Four Nations
CHONGQING, China -- After stumbling through World Cup qualifying and losing their opener in China, the U.S. women's team beat the hosts to win their first warmup for this summer's tournament.
Carli Lloyd scored her second goal of the tournament in the 31st minute and Amy Rodriguez added a goal in the 68th to lead the United States past China 2-0 Tuesday for a first-place finish in the Four Nations tournament.
"I think first and foremost we were focusing on playing soccer the way we want to play," midfielder Heather O'Reilly said. "Obviously, we always want to win and we always want to win championships. Fortunately for us, playing good soccer meant finishing a couple of good chances and winning 2-0. We're happy about the result, we're happy about the goals we scored and now we have a few training camps to look forward to so we can keep growing as a team."
The top-ranked Americans opened Friday with a 2-1 defeat to Sweden, the first time since March 2002 against Norway that the U.S. lost a match in which it led. The U.S. rebounded to beat Canada 2-1 on Sunday.
"It's so much more fun to win," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "We took some good things from the loss to Sweden game, and that's one of the reasons we stepped up a little bit against Canada. We took certain things from the 2-1 win against Canada, and I think today we ended up controlling the game."
In Tuesday's first game, ninth-ranked Canada defeated No. 4 Sweden 1-0 on a 32nd-minute goal by Christine Sinclair. The U.S. and Canada both finished with six points, and the Americans won based on head-to-head record.
"We were really upset as a team to come out and lose our first game," American forward Amy Rodriguez said. "It says a lot about our team that we were able to come out in our second two matches and pull out some wins. I'm really excited that we were able to build in this Four Nations tournament and kind of develop more chemistry because that is going to help us in the World Cup."
At the World Cup in Germany, the U.S. opens against North Korea on June 28, then plays Colombia on July 2 and completes the first round four days later against Sweden.
At this tournament, the Americans were missing star forward Abby Wambach because of a heel injury and top goalkeeper Hope Solo, who still is recovering from September shoulder surgery.
The 11th-ranked Chinese failed to qualify for the World Cup and is trying to secure a spot in the 2012 Olympics.
"We played three very different games and we'll take out the different parts we need moving forward to the World Cup," Sundhage said. "In the first minutes, we started off well, but China made it hard for us and they forced us to change the formation from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1, and I think in the second half we controlled the game by playing good defense. I am very happy about winning today and winning the tournament."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press