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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 23, 2006

Whitehill scores twice as U.S. women dominate Ireland

SAN DIEGO -- Cat Whitehill scored two goals and the U.S. Women's national team defeated Ireland 5-0 in an exhibition match Sunday. The United States has won five consecutive matches against Ireland, scoring five goals each time and allowing a total of one. The Americans controlled the match, outshooting Ireland 36-3. Heather O'Reilly gave the United States a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute on a nifty setup by Christie Welsh. O'Reilly was on her way to making the 2003 Women's World Cup team, but suffered a broken leg while scoring a goal against Ireland. She was the youngest player on the 2004 Olympic Team at age 22. "I tried not to think about those bad memories," O'Reilly said. The Americans made it 2-0 in the 39th minute when defender Whitehill kicked a rebound past goalkeeper Emma Byrne, who had made an outstanding save on Tina Frimpong. "I think once we got that first goal, we felt that everything was work out well," said U.S. coach Greg Ryan, whose record with the U.S. team is 16-0-4 since April, 2005. "A lot of times when a team sits back like that (Ireland) you just have to be patient. And we were patient and took our chances well." Abby Wambach scored a sensational goal on a header after a magnificent setup on a 20-yard kick from Lori Chalupny in the 62nd minute. It was her 56th career goal. Chalupny was playing in her second game since coming back from a concussion suffered in China in January. Natasha Kai scored in the 75th minute and Whitehill got her second goal of the game in the 89th minute. Whitehill's goals were the eighth and ninth of her career. Goalkeeper Hope Solo had an easy afternoon and made a couple of grabs on some Ireland corners as she posted her 15th career shutout. "America is the best in the world, no doubt in any of our minds," said Byrne, who made seven saves. "It's a little depressing that every time we play them they beat us by five." The U.S. will play Canada next Sunday in North Carolina. The U.S. team upped its 2006 record to 8-0-3 and finishes its July schedule against Canada at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., next Sunday. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET. The USA also will play Aug. 27 against China at the brand-new Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. (noon CT), and on Sept. 13 against Mexico at the new PAETEC Park in Rochester, N.Y. (8 p.m. ET). All three games will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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