The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team once again left everything on the field before falling 1-0 to an extremely talented Japan side in the Third-Place Match of the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
“Anybody that watched the games knows that Japan is absolutely world class,” said U.S. head coach Michelle French. “Being able to track and manage their movement off the ball is something that’s very difficult. We did our best. I couldn’t be more impressed with Japan as a team, but on the flip side our players took every single punch that they threw until that goal at the end. We almost found a way, as we’ve done all tournament, to get a goal and get back in the game.”
Japan dominated possession as the USA battled to keep the game scoreless until the very end of regulation.
While Japan had most of the ball and shots, the USA limited the highly dangerous attempts and goalkeeper Casey Murphy was always there to make the save (seven on the night) until the very end of the game.
The USA did have two good chances to score in the second half, launching a quick counter-attack that got Jessie Scarpa free down the right wing, but with an unmarked Ashley Sanchez making a run up the middle, Scarpa hit the retreating defender with her square pass.
Scarpa almost scored on a header in the 77th minute, beating the Japan goalkeeper to a cross off a corner kick, but lifted the ball just over the goal.
“It’s been a fantastic tournament,” said French. “A lot lessons for all the players on our team. We wanted to be able to leave PNG with a medal, but everything we take away from this moment, whether its the feeling of being defeated, or the feeling of knowing they are always in the game, is going to be really valuable for them moving forward.”
With no overtime to be played in the competition’s consolation game, the USA was minutes from forcing penalty kicks before Mami Uenochipped Murphy from the left side of the penalty area for the game’s lone score.
“To sum up the entire tournament for us, I would use just one word: passion,” said French. “The passion that this group payed with every single game, never quitting, the resolve and resiliency they showed, was massive. That’s the identity of this team. Absolutely, we could have played better soccer, there’s no doubt about that, and the players know that. But as I said, they gave everything until the very last second.”
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Mami Ueno (Hikaru Kitagawa), 87th minute: The USA hit a short free kick from midfield that Japan won and turned into a counterattack. Japan worked the ball up the left side to Hikaru Kitagawa who slipped a pass to Mami Ueno with some space to turn in the left side of the penalty area. She then sent a lofted shot that flew over Murphy and settled into the right side of the net.USA 0, JPN 1 FINAL
- This marks the second time the USA has finished fourth in a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The USA also finished fourth in 2006 in Russia, falling to Brazil on penalty kicks.
- The USA has finished in the top four in six of the eight U-20 Women’s World Cups it has contested
- Kelcie Hedge got her first start of the tournament, playing forward with Ashley Sanchez, before being replaced by Jessie Scarpa at halftime.
- Marley Canales entered the match in the 86th minute for Emily Fox, earning her first minutes of tournament. The minutes for Canales meant that all 18 field players played in the World Cup. Only back-up goalkeepers Brooke Heinsohn and Rose Chandler did not see the field.
- The loss was just the sixth for the USA over eight FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups.
- The USA has now lost just five matches in regulation time in its history in the tournament, spanning eight competitions. Three of the losses were to Germany, one to China PR during group play in 2008 when the USA had already clinched first place in the group, one to Korea DPR (in overtime) of this tournament and tonight to Japan.
- The USA played Japan three times during this U-20 cycle, losing 5-0, 3-0 and 1-0.
- This was the third time the USA has played in the Third-Place Match of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The USA defeated Brazil for third in 2004 and lost in penalty kicks to Brazil in 2008.
- Defenders Kaleigh Riehl, Taylor Otto and Maddie Elliston, midfielder Emily Ogle and goalkeeper Casey Murphy played every minute of the tournament. Forwards Mallory Pugh and Ashley Sanchez played all but one and two minutes, respectively.
-U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Japan U-20 Women’s National Team
Date: Dec. 3, 2016
Competition: 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – Third-Place Match
Venue: National Football Stadium; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Kickoff: 1 a.m. ET
Weather: 88 degrees; Hot, Humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
JPN 0 1 1
JPN – Mami Ueno (Hikaru Kitagawa) 87th minute
USA: 1-Casey Murphy; 5-Madeline Elliston, 6-Taylor Otto, 3-Kalegih Riehl, 14-Ellie Jean; 9-Mallory Pugh (capt.), 20-Katie Cousins (7-Savannah DeMelo, 69), 10-Emily Ogle, 18-Ashley Sanchez, 16-Emily Fox (13-Marley Canales, 86); 17-Kelcie Hedge (15-Jessie Scarpa, 46)
Subs: 2-Parker Roberts, 4-Sabrina Flores, 8-Courtney Petersen, 11-Ally Watt, 12-Rose Chandler, 19-Natalie Jacobs, 21-Brooke Heinsohn
Head Coach: Michelle French
JPN: 1-Chika Hirao; 3-Hikaru Kitagawa, 4-Nana Ichise, 6-Rin Sumida, 7-Hina Sugita; 8-Yui Hasegawa, 10-Yuka Momiki (Ccpt.), 13-Hisui Haza, 14-Narumi Miura (17-Shiho Matsubara 59); 15-Asato Miyagawa, 16-Miyabi Moriya (18-Mami Ueno, 46)
Subs Not Used: 2-Yuki Mizutani, 5-Ruka Norimatsu, 9-Meika Nishida, 11-Juri Kawano, 12-Mamiko Matsumoto, 19-Yuzuho Shiokoshi, 20-Honoka Hayashi, 21-Natsumi Asano
Head Coach: Asako Takakura
Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 3 / 29
Shots on Goal: 3 / 8
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 8
Fouls: 4 / 7
Offside: 3 / 0
Referee: Liang Qin (CHN)
Asst. Referee: Yang Fang (CHN)
Asst. Referee: Mengxiao Boa (CHN)
4th Official: Riem Hussein (GER)