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Nike Friendlies: U.S. U20s fall to France

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: December 7, 2018

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. -- Two goals from either half were more than the U.S. U20 WNT could overcome, as they fall 2-1 to France in the Nike Friendlies.

Melvine Malard scored two goals for France in the 22nd and 77th minute respectively, while Samantha Kroeger notched the lone tally on the evening for the Americans.

After a relatively slow start for both sides, Malard opened the scoring a shade over 20 minutes into the half. Mickaella Cardia and Sonia Ouchene worked the ball to Malard in behind, and when U.S. goalkeeper Hensley Hancuff couldn't hang on Malard's initial shot, the striker was there to tap home for the opening goal.

The U.S. struggled to connect going forward, and both sides spent the bulk of the first half looking for in-roads in behind. Eight minutes into the second half, Samantha Kroeger ran onto a long ball from Abby Allen into the upper corner of the box, and hit a high, looping ball that eluded French goalkeeper Justin Lerond.

After a long stretch of parity, the introduction of Virginia forward Rebecca Jarrett nearly gave the U.S. the lead. Shortly after subbing on, Jarrett used her speed to get into space, with a cross in the 71st minute just eluding Kroeger. A few minutes later, Jarrett got behind the French back line again, but Turner headed her cross over.

France jumped back in front through Malard in the 77th minute. Selma Bacha and Sandy Baltimore combined down the left flank after winning possession in the U.S. half, working it to Malard in front of goal. The forward made no mistake to put France out in front.

Jarrett's speed caused problems for France even after they took the lead. She got in behind and nearly found Kroeger on a cross in the 86th minute. In stoppage time, she got in behind again, with her curling effort going wide of the goal.

U.S. Lineup: Hensley Hancuff; Bri Martinez, Abby Allen, Maycee Bell, Natalie Mauer; Brianna Pinto, Coriana Dyke (Isabella Cook), Emily Grey (Megan Bornkamp), Alexa Spaanstra (Rebecca Jarrett), Reilyn Turner, Sam Kroeger (Jaelyn Eisenhart

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