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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 9, 2006

U.S. women tie China in Algarve Cup opener

FARO, Portugal -- The U.S. women's soccer team opened the Algarve Cup with a 0-0 tie against China on Thursday.

The three-time champion Americans outshot China 16-8, getting 12 shots in the second half. Ally Wagner hit the crossbar in the 87th minute, and Abby Wambach just missed scoring in the 89th when her shot after goalkeeper Hope Solo's long punt was just outside the left post.

"We were able to settle the ball more in the second half," Wagner said. "The field was so bumpy, it was tough to get a rhythm, but in the second half, we weren't so reactionary. We were moving better than the Chinese and put them under pressure with some good through balls and passes down the flanks."

The U.S. team started 10 of the 11 players who opened in a 2-0 win over China on Jan. 20, with forward Heather O'Reilly replacing Christie Welsh.

"It's early in the year, the team hasn't been together very much, and right now, its just the technique of finishing over and over again to get the team confident," U.S. coach Greg Ryan said. "I think we created all the chances we needed to win the game today, but you have to score the goals."

The Americans, who are in Group B, play Denmark on Saturday and France on Monday.

"We are going to play three tough games in span of five days, so its not going to be easy," U.S. forward Kristine Lilly said, "but if we step out there and play good soccer, we have a good chance to win."

In the other Group B game, France and Denmark tied 2-2. In Group A, World Cup champion Germany scored five second-half goals in a 5-0 rout over Finland, and Norway and Sweden tied 0-0. Ireland beat Portugal 1-0 in Group C.

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