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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.

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Lilly hits another milestone in 5-0 romp over Denmark in Algarve Cup.

Lilly hits another milestone in 5-0 romp over Denmark in Algarve Cup.

Lilly's two goals defeat China 2-0 and win Four Nations crown.

U.S. women

Wambach, Kai provide winning margin in 2-0 win over Canada.

Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach put the U.S. women ahead of Canada for good in the seventh minute.
-- U.S. Soccer Federation web site photo --
CARY, N.C. (Sunday, July 30, 2006) -- The United States women completed a sweep of a trio of July exhibitions, using a penalty kick by striker Abby Wambach at the end of the first half and another late tally by reserve forward Natasha Kai to defeat Canada 2-0 on a hot, humid day before 5,292 at SAS Stadium this afternoon.

The U.S. is 9-0-3 in 2006 and 17-0-4 since Greg Ryan took over as coach in February 2005. The Americans edged Sweden 3-2 July 15 in Blaine, Minn., then drubbed Ireland 5-0 last Sunday in San Diego.

"Nobody could say that this was an artistic game today," Ryan sand. "It was just a scrap and a battle. Credit Canada. They fought very, very hard, and I feel like our players matched their intensity and fortunately we were able to put a couple away."

The U.S. took the lead for good after defender Catherine Whitehill fed Wambach with a header. Wambach carried to the top right corner of the penalty area before trying an inside move on defender Christine Latham. The two exchanged elbows along the side perimeter of the box before Wambach, a step inside the white line, appeared ready to break free, but then went down to the ground. Referee Sandra Serafini quickly signaled the penalty kick.

Wambach retrieved the loose ball, carried it to the penalty spot, placed it down and nailed a roller just inside the right post while goalkeeper Erin McLeod guessed wrong, diving the opposite way while the Americans went ahead 1-0 in the 45th minute.

It was Wambach's 57th career goal in 75 international matches.

"In this game, Abby had to finish a PK," Ryan said. "She is our leader on the front line. She's the one that we say, 'When we get a penalty, you've got to step up and take it.' She buried it and that's great."

In the eighth minute, striker Charmaine Hooper missed on Canada's best chance of the night, a 16-yard volley that sailed over the crossbar.

The U.S. sealed the result in the 80th minute. Moments after U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd missed just wide left with a header from the box, McLeod sent her goal kick right back to the Americans. Midfielder Leslie Osborne headed it ahead to Wambach, who had her back to goal. Wambach deftly touched it to the right to Lloyd, who found Kai approaching to the top center of the box.

With inside position on Canada striker Martina Franko, Kai held position while in full stride and carried forward before triggering a right-footer from eight yards out. McLeod came flying out to make the initial save, but Kai continued to her right, was first to the rebound, trapped it and then knocked it five yards into the empty net to make it 2-0 in the 80th minute.

Kai has made it a habit of coming off the bench and scoring as she launches her international career. She now has five goals in eight international appearances.

Defensive midfielders Marci Miller and Osborne played a key role by consistently winning battles to negate Canada's long-ball attack.

"We know what a strong, aggressive, physical team Canada is and we had to match that today," Ryan said. "And Abby led by example today. She is out there battling, winning all the head balls and fighting through tackles. She is the will behind our team and everyone really follows suit."

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo needed three saves for her clean sheet, but also snagged about a half dozen Canadian crosses in her area. She also got the better of a hard collision with Hooper in the second half after the Canadian captain went after a bouncing ball in the box.

McLeod was busier. Among her five saves, she dove to her right to snag a drive from Wambach and, a minute later, pushed a drive by Kai outside of the left post. On the ensuing corner kick, Kai elevated over a defender, but sent her header over the crossbar.

In the 67th minute, Wambach went horizontal, but her diving header from seven yards out off a Lloyd free kick rolled wide left. Two minutes later, Wambach got a step on defender Sharolta Nonen down the right flank and sent a cross to forward Heather O'Reilly, but McLeod was first to the ball.

Whitehill nearly scored her fourth goal in the last three games off a corner kick, but McLeod was able to stop her shot from a crowd.

The U.S. next plays China August 27 at the new Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., and then meets Mexico September 13 in Rochester, N.Y.


United States 2, Canada 0

Lineups: United States - Hope Solo, Lori Chalupny, Catherine Whitehill, Tina Frimpong, (Amy LePeilbet 46), Heather Mitts, Leslie Osborne, Marci Miller, Aly Wagner - captain (Carli Lloyd 66), Christie Welsh (Natasha Kai 46), Heather O'Reilly (Megan Rapinoe 82), Abby Wambach. Canada - Erin McLeod, Christine Latham, Melanie Booth, Sharolta Nonen, Randee Hermus (Aysha Jamani 66), Sophie Schmidt (Andrea Neil 61), Amy Walsh, Brittany Timko (Amanda Cicchini 55), Christine Sinclair, Martina Franko, Charmaine Hooper.

Scoring:
United States - Wambach (penalty kick) 45.
United States - Kai (unassisted) 80.

Shots: United States 13, Canada 5. Shots on goal: United States 7, Canada 3. Saves: United States 3, Canada 5. Corner kicks: United States 4, Canada 2. Fouls: United States 14, Canada 20 Offside: United States 3, Canada 2. Yellow card cautions: United States - Miller 49, Kai 90; Canada - Walsh 63.

Referee: Sandra Serafini (United States). Assistant referees: Kim Oberle (United States), Dan Burack (United States). Fourth official: Charles Mitchell. Attendance: 5,292 SAS Soccer Stadium in Cary, N.C. Weather: Hot, partly cloudy, 87 degrees.

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