Alex Morgan #13 of United States in action during the international friendly match between Japan and United States at Yurtex Stadium Sendai on April 1, 2012 in Sendai, Japan.
(March 31, 2012 – Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Yukari Kinga beat goalkeeper Hope Solo from close in to give Japan a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute of the Kirin Cup match.
The U.S. created opportunities on the right wing, but Japan’s superior speed was dangerous on the counterattack.
The exhibition tournament features three of the top four teams in the world. The U.S. is ranked No. 1 just ahead of Germany, while Japan is No. 3. The other team competing for the title, Brazil, is No. 4.
“I told them to keep pushing until the end,” Japan coach Norio Sasaki said. “We could have used more precision in our passes.”
The U.S. women’s squad went into the game with a big score to settle.
Until the World Cup, it had never lost to Japan — and the Americans haven’t beaten Japan since. Japan won the last encounter 1-0 in Portugal last month.
“This was a very important game for us,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “I’m very happy we had the chance to play against one of the best teams in the world, Japan, to prepare for the Olympics.”
Sundhage said the game showed the team still has a lot of building to do.
“It was way too defensive in the first half,” Sundhage said. “We didn’t look as good as we did in the World Cup.”
The U.S. plays Brazil on Tuesday. The final game — Brazil versus Japan — is on Thursday.
Soccer: Alex Morgan scores as USA, Japan play to draw is a post from: PhatzRadio.com