March 12, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Former Santa Clara women's soccer standout Leslie Osborne ('04) helped the U.S. Women's National Team to its sixth Algarve Cup with a 2-1 victory over Denmark on Wednesday. Osborne played an excellent 90 minutes in the center of the U.S. midfield in place of Shannon Boxx, who suffered a minor injury in the United States' win over Norway.
Coming into the championship game, the Danes had yet to allow a goal in the competition, but that changed in the 14th minute after Heather O'Reilly earned a corner kick with a darting run down the left side. Carli Lloyd sent a curving cross into the middle to an unmarked Natasha Kai, who met it solidly just outside the six-yard box, heading the ball down and through the legs of Denmark goalkeeper Heidi Johansen on the bounce.
Denmark had won its three group games by 1-0 scores and was not going to be discouraged by the lone goal. They pushed forward in the first half, aided at times by sloppy giveaways from the U.S. midfield, and then earned the equalizer in the 30th minute. The cross came from the right side and bounced at the top of the goal box. Denmark's Cathrine Sorensen opportunistically took the ball off her chest and then quickly volleyed it into the left corner from close range. It was the first, and as it turned out, only goal the U.S. would give up in the tournament.
After the break, it did not take the U.S. long to strike again, scoring on their first shot of the second half. In the 49th minute, Abby Wambach took a touch to her right to evade a defender, who got a piece of the ball, but not enough to stop the U.S. forward from bouncing her shot across the goal into the lower left corner.
The USA will now return home for a week-long break before regrouping on March 21 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. for a training camp prior to leaving for Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, being held from April 2-12. The U.S. will face Jamaica and Mexico in first round play of the six-team tournament. The winners of the semifinal matches earn berths to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.