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Algarve Cup

Goals by second-half subs Welsh, Rigamat send young Americans over Portugal 2-0.

SILVES, Portugal (Tuesday, March 13, 2001) -- Goals by second-half substitute strikers Christie Welsh and Stephanie Rigamat allowed the United States women to prevail 2-0 over Portugal in Algarve Cup play before 250 fans at Francisco Vieira Stadium this afternoon.

Algarve Cup 2001
Team W L T GF GA Pts
Sweden 2 0 0 7 2 6
Canada 1 1 0 5 5 3
USA 1 1 0 2 3 3
Portugal 0 2 0 0 5 0
Group A standings in round 1

Other Games
Sweden 5, Canada 2
Welsh, who entered after intermission, found net in the 62nd minute to snap a 315-minute scoreless streak for the Americans stretching over four matches and dating back to a 1-1 draw with China in January.

The U.S. (1-1, 3 points, minus-1 goal differential) faces Sweden (2-0, 6 points, plus-6) Thursday needing a victory by four or more goals and the unlikely prospect of Portugal (0-2, 0 points, minus-5) either tying or defeating Canada (1-1, 3, 0) to win Group A and face the first-place team of Group B Saturday for the tournament championship. To insure at least a second-place Group A finish and a berth in Saturday’s third-place match, the U.S. must defeat Sweden by a greater margin than Canada defeats Portugal, assuming the Canadians win that game.

Sweden romped over Canada 5-2 in the second game of today’s doubleheader.

Rigamat, who entered the game in the 63rd minute, just after Welsh's tally, added her first international goal three minutes from the end of the game.

The U.S. used no player over age 20, averaging 18, with coach April Heinrichs leaving college All-Americans Aleisha Cramer, Welsh, Jena Kluegel and Mary-Frances Monroe on the bench. Goalkeeper Emily Oleksiuk produced the shutout in her first appearance in national team colors. First career starts also went to Amy Steadman, 16; Sara Randolph, 18; Lori Chalupny, 17; and Kristen Weiss, 16.

The young U.S. team scrapped throughout today’s outing, but its inexperience was often evident, Still, the Americans dominated territorially and aside from an occasional counterattack, the game was played in their attacking half.

"We showed signs of a lack of confidence at the beginning of the game, which is not surprising when you go two games without scoring a goal," Heinrichs said. "But our competitiveness during the course of the game got a little bit better and spirit with which we played forced the game to get stretched out, which was to our advantage."

Catherine Reddick, who captained the USA for the first time, was stellar in the center of the defense with Anna Kraus. Outside backs Steadman and Randolph also played tough defense and attacked up the flanks.

Reddick’s tackle in midfield started the sequence leading to the match’s first tally. She took off on attack and touched the ball to Welsh free behind the defense with an accurate pass. Welsh outran the two defenders and pounded her shot underneath the charging goalkeeper Ana Sofia Santos.

From there, Santos pulled off a series of tough saves. The best came when Welsh got a head on a Chalupny cross from the right side, but Santos extended to push the ball off the right post.

With three minutes left, Kluegel received the ball on the left flank and played it to Weiss at the top of the penalty area. On the first touch, Weiss fed back to Cramer, who in turn hit a brilliant first-time pass into the box for Rigamat. She spun around her defender with the ball and slammed a 16-yard shot into the left corner for her first international goal.

Chalupny was denied by Santos twice in the final 10 minutes. In the 80th minute, Welsh hit a cross that was deflected into the air. Chalupny gathered it and whipped a side volley that was headed toward the right corner before Santos dove to knock it away.

At the end of regulation, Kluegel sent a cross from the left flank to Chalupny at the far post. She settled the ball, popped it over the defender and hit a flying side volley that once again was stopped by a diving save from Santos.

In the 89th minute, Devvyn Hawkins skied to head a corner kick just over the crossbar.

Portugal's best chance came when Maria Xavier cracked a 30-yard shot off the crossbar in the first 10 minutes. Oleksiuk made five of her seven saves after the break.

"Our goal for this team on this tour has been to get better every half," Heinrichs said. "Winning is important but it's not the sole priority. Playing to win and playing 90 minutes of intense is soccer is what I've asked for from these players. What we'll find is that we'll take the lessons learned and put them together in hopes of a peak performance in our last two games."

The U.S. played the last 12 minutes with a one-woman advantage after Sandra Caires was shown a second yellow card and ejected.

Denmark (2-0, 6 points, plus-7) leads Group B over Norway (1-1, 3 points, plus-2) and China (1-1, 3 points, plus-1). Today, China blanked Norway 2-0 and Denmark blasted Finland 6-0.

United States 2, Portugal 0

Lineups: United States - Emily Oleksiuk, Sara Randolph (Devvyn Hawkins 63), Anna Kraus, Katherine Reddick (captain), Amy Steadman, Joanna Lohman (Aleisha Cramer 63), Marcie Ward (Jena Kluegel 46), Lori Chalupny, Laura Schott (Stephanie Rigamat 63), Kristen Weiss, Alyssa Ramsey (Christie Welsh 46). Portugal - Ana Sofia Santos, Carla Monteiro, Maria Joao Xavier (captain), Paula Mesquita, Rita Morgado (Oliva Marinho 46), Sandra Marina Caires (Carla Couto 46), Susy Cova (Ana Rita Gomes 46), Silvia Brunheira (Susana Martins 61), Beta Matos (Paula Santos 67), Edite Fernandes, Patricia Sequeira.

United States - Welsh (Reddick) 62.
United States - Rigamat (Cramer) 87.

Shots: United States 16, Portugal 7. Saves: United States 7, Portugal 5. Corner kicks: United States 6, Portugal 5. Fouls: United States 6, Portugal 1. Offside: United States 4, Portugal 1. Yellow card cautions: United States - Steadman 23, Lohman 53; Portugal - Mesquita 26, Caires 28. Red card ejection: Portugal - Caires (second yellow card) 78.

Referee: Vibeke Karlsen (Norway). Assistant referees: Eurico Santos (Portugal), Rogerio Rebeca (Portugal). Attendance: 250 at Francisco Vieira Stadium in Silves, Portugal. Weather: Warm, breezy, 75 degrees.

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