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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 28, 2007

O'Reilly scores lone goal for U.S.

GUANGZHOU, China -- A young U.S. women's soccer team has lots of work to do.

Playing without five regulars left at home to rest or rehab injuries, the United States struggled to a 1-1 draw Sunday with England in the Four Nations women's soccer tournament in southern China.

The tournament is a tuneup for the World Cup in China in 7 1/2½ months, and the Americans showed they can't overwhelm opponents with their second team.

The United States is rated No. 2 in the world behind Germany, and England is a distant No. 12. But it was difficult to tell which was which.

"Our young players, they gave us everything they could today," American coach Greg Ryan said. "But in fairness to them, I think England had the better of the game today."

The Americans went ahead 1-0 on Heather O'Reilly's header in the 17th minute off a pass from Natasha Kia. But England equalized in the 47th on a strike by right back Alexandra Scott.

O'Reilly and Kai are among four or five forwards vying for spots on the World Cup team, and this game helped them. Particularly the 22-year-old O'Reilly, who could fill a third striker spot alongside absent stars Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach.

"Her work rate is just outstanding," Ryan said. "She not only scored the goal but she made a lot of great passes."

The draw kept Ryan's unbeaten record alive since taking over the team almost two years ago. He's unbeaten in 33 games decided in regulation time. The lone blemish came on penalty kicks last year against Germany.

"We knew when we made this trip one of the main things we were going to do was evaluate players, to see how our young players play in different environments," Ryan said.

England's Rachel Yankey, Eniola Aluko, Fara Williams and Kelly Smith continually troubled the American defense.

"To come away with a 1-1 is a good result for us," England coach Hope Powell said. "The USA is a very good side, and for us to equalize, it's a good morale booster for us."

England dropped it first game to China 2-0 on Friday, and the Americans drew 0-0 with Germany.

In Sunday's other game, Germany and China drew 0-0.

Germany's match was overshadowed hours earlier by an injury to its No. 1 goalkeeper, 35-year-old Silke Rottenberg. She twisted her left knee in practice Saturday, which could put her in doubt for the World Cup. If the injury is serious, she could be out for six months.

She has played 123 times for Germany.

"We were totally shocked by the injury," Germany coach Silvia Neid said. "We think that she will be ready for the World Cup, and she has time to recover."

Stephanie Ullrich, the only other goalkeeper to make the trip to China, played her first game for the national team and got a shutout. The No. 2 keeper for Germany is Nadine Angerer, who did not make the trip to China.

China goalkeeper Han Wenxia made several sparkling saves, including a diving stop late in the match. That drew wild cheers from about 15,000 fans, dwarfed in Guangdong's 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

The tournament's final games are Tuesday, with England playing Germany and China facing the United States.

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