Carson, California - In their final game before closing down training camp, the U.S. U17 Women’s National team came back from a deficit to draw 1-1 with Cal State Fullerton.
The U.S. squad saw the Titans go into halftime with a 1-0 lead and in the second half tied the game on a goal by Andi Sullivan of Maryland club Bethesda S.C.
The first half saw the majority of play in the midfield, with few scoring chances created either way. A player that excelled in the U.S. midfield was Joanna Boyles of North Carolina’s CASL (our #1 ranked 2013 Player to Watch). Boyles was all over the place intercepting passes and forcing turnovers.
“In the first half, [we] didn’t find the rhythm,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “We didn’t keep the ball much and we had a lot of turnovers and unforced errors.”
The Americans struggled to find any offense in the first half, with their attacking efforts limited mainly to individual runs that didn’t amount to any real danger to the Titans keeper.
What first half offense there was came from the U.S. left flank, with Slammers FC’s Madeline Bauer and Birmingham United’s Antoinette Payne looking industrious.
The U.S. girls weren’t the only ones with a stale offense. Cal State Fullerton didn’t offer any real danger to American goalkeeper Jane Campbell, of Georgia club Concorde Fire, until the 25th minute when a routine save was dropped and Campbell ended up scrambling for the ball and finally forced the forward to lose the ball into out of play territory.
Campbell and the rest of the U17 girls saw the Titans take the lead in the 40th minute with a shot from just outside of the penalty box went above a stretching Campbell.
At the start of the second half, Ellis changed half the team lineup for the U.S. and the moves resulted in an improved performance.
With the entrance of Andi Sullivan, of Maryland’s Bethesda SC and Morgan Stanton, of Colorado Rush, the American girls had more possession of the ball and managed to tie the game on a goal by Sullivan.
“We put her [Sullivan] up top,” said Ellis “she did a good job of holding the ball and allowed us to get great position.”
In the 20th minute of the 2nd stanza, the U.S. found a way to tie the game. The play saw a shot deflected at the goal line by a Titan defender, then a rebound being shot into the Titan goalkeeper's body. The rebound from that effort landed at Sullivan’s feet and she managed to score the equalizer.
In the final minute of play, goalkeeper Morgan Stearns, of Virginia club McLean Youth Soccer, came through with a result-saving effort when she went airborne to her right to stop a blazing 20 yard shot that would have given Fullerton State the victory.
The one constant throughout the match was the superb play of Morgan Andrews in the back. She was well positioned on every play, tackled hard and had great command of her defense. When she caused turnovers she followed by demonstrating great vision of the field with good passing.
“She’s fantastic,” said Ellis of Andrews. “She just turned 16 during the camp and for a player to have so much poise on the ball and technical ability, she’s the complete package. She has soccer IQ and a big heart. She’s a leader and that’s why she wears the captain’s band. She’s [going] be a big piece of this group.”
The U17 WNT will reconvene camp again in late April at the Home Depot Center.
U.S. U17 WNT Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Concorde Fire; Kennesaw, Ga.), Morgan Stearns (McLean Youth Soccer; Burke, Va.)
DEFENDERS (6): Morgan Andrews (FC Stars of Massachusetts; Milford, N.H.), Madeline Bauer (Slammers FC, Newport Beach, Calif.), Gabby Byorth (Ohio Premier Eagles; Dublin, Ohio), Zoe Clark (PDA; New York, N.Y.), Bridgette Skinner (PDA; Middletown, N.J.), Claire Wagner (CASL; Cary, N.C.)
MIDFIELDERS (11): Joanna Boyles (CASL; Raleigh, N.C.), Kaitlyn Clark (KC Select Viati; Liberty, Mo.), Miranda Freeman (Renegades SC; Delray Beach, Fla.), Zoey Goralski (Team Chicago Academy Botafogo; Naperville, Ill.), Summer Green (Michigan Hawks; Milford, Mich.), Ashton Miller (Michigan Hawks; Okemos, Mich.), Kayla Mills (Slammers FC; West Covina, Calif.), Gabby Miranda (Colorado Rush; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Morgan Stanton (Colorado Rush; Lakewood, Colo.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; St. Lorton, Va.), Kate Walters (PDA; Mt. Laurel, N.J.)
FORWARDS (5): Frannie Crouse (Beadling SC; Jeannette, Pa.), Brittain Dearden (Mt. Laurel United Crush; Princeton Junction, N.J.), Madisson Lewis (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Amber Munerlyn (So Cal Blues; Corona, Calif.), Toni Payne (BUSA Elite; Birmingham, Ala.)