China vs. USA: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
The United States won its second straight match at the 2013 Algarve Cup by defeating China, 5-0. Five different players scored for the American squad, which finished third in the event last year after two consecutive championships.
Sydney Leroux gave the United States a lead within the first 15 minutes, using a great run to create a scoring opportunity and capitalized. The young American striker was handed a start as veteran Abby Wambach got some rest after scoring in the opener.
Ali Krieger increased the American lead to 2-0 in the 32nd minute. It was the first international goal for the defender, who received a pinpoint cross from Alex Morgan and easily touched it into the net to give the U.S. some breathing room.
It didn't take long for the United States to increase its lead to three, scoring within the first minute of the second half on a free kick. Megan Rapinoe let the shot go, which proceeded to deflect off a Chinese defender and past Zhang Yue.
Who was the woman of the match?
China provided very little resistance after the third goal. The Americans started to completely control the pace of play and generated multiple opportunities. Christen Press scored in the 64th minute and Whitney Engen closed the scoring for the U.S. with less than 10 minutes left.
The United States will finish Group B play on Monday against Sweden.
Grades for Key U.S. Players
GK Nicole Barnhart: B+
Barnhart got the call after Jill Loyden broke her hand in practice, which will force her to miss around three months, according to the U.S. Soccer's official site. Usual starter Hope Solo was already sidelined with a wrist injury.
While she didn't see a ton of action, the keeper made a crucial save in the first half. China was buzzing in the American defensive third, but Barnhart made a big stop, which jump-started the counterattack leading to the first goal. It was routine from that point forward.
MF Megan Rapinoe: B-
Far from her best performance. The playmaking midfielder struggled to find her usually dangerous attacking form. Still, she accounted for the third goal that took away any hope China had coming out of halftime, so it wasn't a total loss.
Luckily for the Americans, they didn't need Rapinoe to have her best showing. Other players helped pick up the slack in China's half. Head coach Tom Sermanni will hope the star midfielder is back on top of her game for Monday's match with Sweden.
FW Alex Morgan: B+
No goals for the high-profile striker, who was subbed out with just over 20 minutes left. Morgan still managed to play a major role in the American victory, though, setting up two goals with terrific passes. She also had a few chances of her own, but couldn't covert.
It shows Morgan can be one of the most impressive players on the pitch, even without scoring. Early in her national team career she didn't have as many dimensions to her game. Now she's a complete player and earned high marks with another good outing.
FW Sydney Leroux: A-
The most dangerous player throughout the match. Leroux's goal to open the scoring was a tremendous individual effort. It helped the United States get on track after some shaky moments early, and it never looked back.
Even though she didn't score a second time, the Boston Breakers striker easily could have. Although Leroux remains behind Morgan and Wambach on the striker depth chart, she continues to excel in any role she's asked to play.
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