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American youngsters run away from Italy 4-1 with three goals in second half.

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (Friday, July 7, 2000) -- The American kids were two much for the Italians.

Susan Bush
Susan Bush
Sara Whalen, Susan Bush and Caroline Putz found net in the second half to lift a young United States reserve side to a 4-1 victory over Italy tonight before a capacity 6,022 at EAB Park.

With most of the regulars on a well-deserved break after winning the Women’s Gold Cup, U.S. coach April Heinrichs called up an inexperienced roster with players averaging less than 20 years of age.

The majority of tonight’s U.S. squad will play in the under-21 Nordic Cup this summer in Germany.

Defender Christie Pearce and midfielder Whalen were the only two members of last summer’s U.S. women’s World Cup champion to play against Italy.

"I was very pleased for this team and with the great result for the young players," Heinrichs said. "We had excellent possession and really created enough chances to score five or six goals. At times, we showed our naivete which can come back to hurt us, but the players will grow more sophisticated with more experience. It is difficult and frustrating for young players when they come into the national team environment, but I tell them that their development comes with the youth teams, and I think we saw some of that success tonight."

Seven minutes after Rita Guarino – who plays for the Maryland Pride in the American W-League – tied the score at 1-1, Whalen put the U.S. ahead for good. Midfielder Aleisha Cramer played a pass into the left side of the penalty area to Whalen who beat a defender to the inside and hit a blistering drive into the roof of the net from 15 yards to make it 2-1 in the 55th minute.

It was Whalen's fourth goal in the last five games and seventh for her career. "This is really a break for a lot us," she said. "But to get the chance to come out and play in my hometown was awesome. The crowd was great and everyone played so well. I'm glad we could put on a good show for the fans."

Susan Bush made it 3-1 in the 76th minute, taking a left side cross from defender Michelle French and slicing a shot into left corner with the outside of her right foot from six yards.

In stoppage time, midfielder Aly Wagner broke free down the right flank and played a perfect bending ball behind the defense to late sub Putz and the striker slammed the ball home from five yards out.

Putz (Bountiful, Utah) and defender Catherine Reddick (Birmingham, Ala.) became the first products from their states to make an appearance for the U.S. in an international match national team caps. Defender Anna Kraus also recorded her first cap.

The U.S. went ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute when midfielder Mary-Frances Monroe stole a ball from an Italian defender inside the box, pushed past a defender and toe-poked it to the charging Wagner, who cracked a low, left-footed drive into the left corner for her fifth international goal.

Two minutes into the second half, Guarino and American goalkeeper Jenni Branam came together to challenge a through ball at the top of the box. Guarino got the better of the tackle as the ball popped free behind Branam, and Guarino deposited it into the empty net to even things at 1-1.

The U.S. leaves for Germany July 12 for the DFB 100-Year Anniversary Tournament, followed by a two-game swing to Norway. During the trip, the U.S. will play Norway three times, plus China and Germany once.

United States 4, Italy 1

Lineups: United States - Jenni Branam, Nandi Pryce, Christie Pearce (Anna Kraus 68), Michelle French, Sara Whalen (Catherine Reddick 73), Mary-Frances Monroe, Aleisha Cramer, Aly Wagner, Alyssa Ramsey (Jenna Kluegel 60), Susan Bush (Caroline Putz 87), Christie Welsh, (Veronica Zepeda 83). Italy - Raffaella Piattolo (Carla Brunozzi 79), Damiana Deiana (Maria Sorvillo 65), Daniela Tavalazzi, Guilia Perelli, Luisa Marchio (Lucia Balestri 86), Tatiana Zorri (Alessandra Pallotti 61), Adele Frollani, Margherita Masia, Samantha Ceroni (Moira Placchi 73), Rita Guarino, Patrizia Panico (Fabiana Colasuonno 86).

Scoring:
United States - Wagner (Monroe) 24.
Italy - Guarino (unassisted) 47.
United States - Whalen (Cramer) 54.
United States - Bush (French) 76.
United States - Putz (Wagner) 91+.

Shots: United States 23, Italy 12. Saves: United States 2, Italy 2 Corner kicks: United States 6, Italy 1. Fouls: United States 12, Italy 9. Offside: United States 0, Italy 1. Yellow card caution: Italy - Frollani 65.

Referee: Gerry Corrie (United States). Referee’s assistants: Brenda Wright (United States), Karalee Sutton (United States). Attendance: 6,022 at EAB Park in Central Islip, N.Y. Weather: Warm, breezy, 72 degrees.

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