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U20 WNT cruises in CONCACAF opener

Published: March 3, 2012

The U.S. U20 women’s national team overcame a conservative Guatemalan defense, which continuously put eight players behind the ball, on way to a 6-0 victory in the opening game of Group B play at the 2012 CONCACAF U20 Championship.

Lindsey Horan scored three, Julie Johnston added two, and Katie Stengel netted one in the one-sided affair on Friday.

Horan first found the back of the net 12 minutes after the opening whistle thanks to a well-placed cross from outside back Crystal Dunn, which the striker headed home.

U.S. dominated possession throughout the game, but Guatemala had its best run of play after the opening goal. Guatemala only had a half-chance during the spell, and keeper Bryane Heaberlin easily handled the shot.

lindsey horanLindsey Horan
U.S. doubled its lead fifteen minutes before half when Guatemala failed to clear a cross into the box. The ball eventually bounced out to Johnston 25 yards from goal. The Santa Clara midfielder’s thunderous half volley ripped into the upper corner of the net, as the keeper could only glance at it screaming past her.

The Americans had an opportunity to further the lead ten minutes later when University of Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian hammered a shot from 15 yards out, but it only rattled the post. The teams went to the break with U.S. holding a two-goal advantage.

After half, Swanson’s side quickly put the game out of reach with four goals in 27 minutes to start the second stanza.

"We were happy with the result. I think our performance was good at times and other times not as sharp as maybe we would have liked," U.S. U-20 WNT head coach Steve Swanson said in a release. "We finished some good goals and we got better as the second half progressed. Those were good things to see. In this first game we felt our nerves a little bit and just weren't as sharp as we had been up until this point. It's the start of things and it's good to get off to a good start."

Horan scored her second of the game in the 46th minute when she raced onto a through ball and hit a sliding effort past the keeper from the upper corner of the box.

Eight minutes later, Dunn set up another goal with a splendid cross. The defender drove the ball to the far post and Stengel headed it home for her lone strike of the evening.

Johnston grabbed her second six minutes after that. Captain Mollie Pathman delivered a corner kick into the box that Sam Mewis struck on the volley and Johnston deflected into the net.

Horan capped off the game with a scissor kick goal with only sixteen minutes left on the clock. Substitute Chi Ubogagu started the movement with some fancy footwork that eluded multiple defenders before she sent an exquisite cross to Maya Hayes.

Hayes header went off the crossbar; the rebound hit off the head of a trailing defender and bounced off the post to Horan who completed her hat trick. The U.S. eased back after the sixth goal, and saw the game out for an easy victory.

The U20 women’s national team is back in action on Sunday in the second game of pool play against Cuba.

Top U.S. performances against Guatemala:

  • Lindsey Horan – The Colorado Rush striker had some tidy finishes amongst her three goals, and grabbed the early lead in the Golden Boot race. Most importantly though, she finished the early chance, which stuck a major thorn in the conservative approach from Guatemala.
  • Katie Stengel – Unjustly denied a spot on the scoreboard in the first half, Stengel was the boss of the attack. She orchestrated and broke down a team that put eight players behind the ball at most times.
  • Crystal Dunn – The speedy outside back hardly did anything wrong all game, and delivered two assists on silver platters for her strikers.
  • Chi Ubogagu – The second-half substitute immediately found the rhythm of the game and proved to be the perfect compliment for Horan up top. Her silky footwork, lightning-quick first step, and incisive passing should have led to a couple more goals, but U.S. pulled off the gas a bit after the sixth goal.

U.S. starting lineup:
1-Bryane Heaberlin; 4-Crystal Dunn, 3-Cari Roccaro, 5-Kassey Kallman, 2-Mollie Pathman (capt.); 15-Sam Mewis, 6-Morgan Brian (12-Vanessa DiBernardo, 68), 8-Julie Johnston; 11-Lindsey Horan, 14-Katie Stengel (9-Chi Ubogagu, 57), 7-Kealia Ohai (20-Maya Hayes, 46)

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