Los Angeles Soccer: Shannon Boxx
Morgan (Diamond Bar HS) went down with a twisted right knee after she was tripped by a Canadian defender near midfield. She was in anguish and needed on-field medical attention, then walked off under her own power and was replaced by Amy Rodriguez.
Morgan, who turns 23 Monday, is a rocketing presence and increasingly the primary face for the U.S. women, who will be seeking their fourth gold medal in five Olympics when the London Games begin July 25. She has 27 goals in 42 international appearances, with a team-best 17 this year.
U.S. Soccer reported that Morgan was pulled out for precautionary reasons, and she is expected to be fine. The U.S. departs on July 10 for Scotland, where it will play two of its first-round matches.
Rodriguez (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and USC) scored the winning goal, finishing from Abby Wambach's backheel off an opponent following Megan Rapinoe's cross in the 85th minute.
The U.S. went ahead on a Carmelina Moscato own goal in the 15th minute, but Melissa Tancredi equalized for Canada, which also is Olympic-bound, 12 minutes into the second half.
The U.S. played its first-choice lineup, likely the team that will take on France in the Olympic opener: Hope Solo in goal; Amy LePeilbet, captain Christie Rampone, Del Mar's Rachel Buehler and Kelley O'Hara along the backline; Rapinoe, Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx (South Torrance HS), Lauren Cheney (UCLA) and Tobin Heath in midfield; and Morgan and Hermosa Beach's Wambach up top. Canadian-born UCLA alum Sydney Leroux came off the bench for the Americans.
There's no stopping Alex Morgan these days. Ditto Abby Wambach.
Both scored two more goals Monday to lead the U.S. women's national team to a 4-1 rout of Japan in an Olympic tuneup in Halmstad, Sweden.
Morgan, from Diamond Bar, netted her 16th and 17th goals off the year and Wambach, who has a home in Hermosa Beach, climbed within 20 goals of Mia Hamm's international career record with her 137th and 138th in a rematch of last year's Women's World Cup final.
It was the third meeting since last July's title game in Frankfurt, Germany, which Japan won on penalties following a 2-2 draw. Japan won, 1-0, in March at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, and the teams drew, 1-1, in Japan on April 1.
Morgan, who is increasingly becoming the face of women's soccer in America, has 27 goals in 41 international appearances.
Morgan scored in the third and 61st minutes and Wambach in the 10th and in second-half stoppage. Yuki Nagasato tallied, from an assist by former L.A. Sol star Aya Miyama, in the 28th for Japan, which faces Sweden on Thursday to conclude a three-national tournament.
The U.S. beat the Swedes, 3-1, with Morgan and Wambach scoring goals, on Saturday.
Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx and UCLA alum Lauren Cheney also started for the Yanks, and Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez and UCLA product Sydney Leroux came off the bench. Palos Verdes Estates' Christen Press was on the game-day roster but did not play.
In the four Olympics to include women's soccer, the Americans have won three gold medals (Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) and one silver (Sydney 2000). The U.S. opens its London Games schedule July 25 against France in Glasgow, Scotland.
The forward from Diamond Bar netted No. 15 in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Sweden to open a three-nation tuneup for the London Olympics in Halmstad, Sweden.
Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach plus Tobin Heath also tallied for the Americans, who meet world champion Japan on Monday in a rematch of last year's Women's World Cup final. Sweden and Japan play Wednesday.
Wambach's 136th international goal, an amazing strike from 35 yards, provided an eighth-minute lead, and Morgan's effort in the Swedish box to win a ball from Stina Segerström paid off with another goal in the 22nd. Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx picked up an assist on Morgan's goal.
The goal was rising star Morgan's 25th in 40 international appearances. Wambach, who has played 180 times for the U.S., is only 22 goals behind all-time leader Mia Hamm.
Lotta Schelin scored Sweden's goal in the 35th minute, and Heath tallied from a Wambach assist 11 minutes into the second half.
The U.S., which has won three gold medals (Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) and one silver (Sydney 2000) in the four Olympics to include women's soccer, opens its London Games schedule July 25 against France in Glasgow, Scotland.
Brazil couldn't stop Alex Morgan, but a linesman could.
The scoring sensation from Diamond Bar scored again Tuesday, heading home a free kick from former L.A. Sol defender Stephanie Cox, but it was waved off because one of her U.S. women's national teammates was in an offside position.
No matter. The Americans, with goals from Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx and Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez, romped to a 3-0 rout of a Brazil side missing Marta to finish their participation in Japan's Kirin Challenge Cup, an Olympic prep for both sides.
The match, in suburban Tokyo, kicked off four hours ahead of schedule because of impending bad weather.
Boxx (South Torrance HS) gave the U.S. a two-goal lead from former UCLA All-American Lauren Cheney's free kick in the 23rd minute, and Rodriguez (Santa Margarita Catholic HS/USC), who came on for Morgan with 20 minutes to go, netted the third in the 83rd minute. Abby Wambach (Hermosa Beach) got a touch to Cheney's free kick before A-Rod's finish.
Boxx's goal, her 23rd in international play, was her first in 13 months. Rodriguez's goal was her 24th.
Carli Lloyd's goal in the 18th, also following a free kick, started the rout.
Morgan (Diamond Bar HS) has a dozen goals this year and had scored in six of the previous eight U.S. matches.
Alex Morgan can't be stopped. The explosive forward from Diamond Bar netted her 12th goal of the year for the U.S. women's national team Sunday to give the Americans a 1-1 draw with Japan in the opener of the Kirin Challenge Cup in Sendai, Japan.
Morgan (Diamond Bar HS), who has become the Americans' most-watched star, scored a 73rd-minute equalizer, sending in a loose ball after Carli Lloyd lost possession. It was initially waved off as offside, but Chinese referee Li Juan overruled after consulting with the Japanese linesman.
Yukari Kinga scored in the 32nd for Japan. Both teams are preparing for this summer's London Olympics.
It was the second Women's World Cup title rematch within a month. Japan won, 1-0, in an Algarve Cup group game in Portugal in early March.
Morgan, 22, has scored in six of the past eight games for the U.S. and has 22 goals in 37 international appearances.
Other local players for the U.S. were midfielders Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach/South Torrance HS) and Lauren Cheney (UCLA) and forward Abby Wambach (Hermosa Beach). Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and USC) and Sydney Leroux (UCLA) came off the bench.
The U.S. on Tuesday meets Brazil in Chiba, a Tokyo suburb.
No Algarve Cup title for the U.S. women's national team this year.
The Americans' Women's World Cup title-game rematch with Japan didn't go their way, a 1-0 loss in Monday's Group B final ending their run of 10 successive finals at the annual event in Portugal.
Megumi Takase headed home a corner kick from former L.A. Sol star Aya Miyama in the 84th minute to send the Japanese, who prevailed on penalties in last year's WWC final in Germany, to the Algarve championship match Wednesday against the Germans. A draw would have sent the U.S. to the final.
The U.S., shut out for the first time in 58 matches -- since November 2008 -- will meet Sweden in the third-place game. The Swedes lost the Group A finale to Germany, 4-0.
“I think in the first half, we looked very nervous and the decision-making was off,” U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage told U.S. Soccer's website. “Too many times we gave away the ball in situations when we were not even under pressure or in tight spaces. We couldn’t keep the ball enough to be dangerous.
“When you give away the ball against Japan, they keep it. It’s so much defending. Mentally and physically, that’s tough. … Overall you could tell there is a lot of things to work on and, especially looking at Japan, their technique and how they keep the ball. They should be role models for the world, the way they play.”
The U.S., preparing for this summer's London Olympics, had won eight Algarve titles since 2000, including seven of the last nine. Germany in 2006 and Sweden in 2009 overcame the Americans on penalties in the final.
“I think, more than anything, it opens our eyes to areas we can improve in,” U.S. midfielder Heather O’Reilly told media afterward. “Better now that we have this experience than later during the Olympics. I think we have a lot to learn from and a lot grow from, but we’re trying to pull the positives out of it.”
Sundhage's starting lineup included Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx, Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan, Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez and Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach, plus former UCLA All-American Lauren Cheney. Sydney Leroux, who wrapped her UCLA career last fall, came on for Wambach in the 72nd minute.
Sydney Leroux has put together two superb camps in the past month and a half with the U.S. women's national team, and her work was rewarded Monday when she was included on the roster for the 2012 Olympic qualifiers that begin Thursday.
This is the first competition roster for the three-time UCLA All-American, who is heading home to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the CONCACAF tournament.
Leroux, 21, has made just one full international appearance for the U.S. following a storied under-20 career with her native Canada and with the U.S., for which she was eligible through her father. The athletic forward, selected by the Atlanta Beat with the first pick in Friday's Women's Professional Soccer draft, joins former UCLA teammate Lauren Cheney among the Americans' quartet of strikers.
Leroux is the only player on the roster who was not part of the U.S. team at last summer's Women's World Cup.
“The players made it hard for us to choose the 20 for Canada,” head coach Pia Sundhage said in a statement. “We had a great camp in December and this past week in Los Angeles. I'm excited that we have a new player in the mix who wasn't in the World Cup, and that will change the environment a bit in a positive way.”
The U.S. is slated to fly Monday to Vancouver, and it opens Group B play Friday against the Dominican Republic, followed by games Sunday against Guatemala and Jan. 24 against Mexico. The winners of the Jan. 27 semifinals advance to the London Games; the final is Jan. 29.
The other U.S. forwards are Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan (Diamond Bar HS), who capped an ascendant year with a strong showing at the WWC, and veteran Abby Wambach, who has a home in Hermosa Beach.
Other local players are midfielders Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach/South Torrance HS) and Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and USC). A-Rod, normally a forward, plays in one of the midfield slots when the U.S. is in Sundhage's new 4-2-3-1 alignment.
The U.S. women's national team gathers in Carson this weekend to begin serious preparations for the Olympic qualifiers later this month, and coach Pia Sundhage is relying solely on SoCal attackers.
UCLA senior All-American Sydney Leroux, Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan and former USC standout Amy Rodriguez, from Lake Forest, are among five forwards on Sundhage's 29-woman roster for the Jan. 7-15 camp at Home Depot Center, which will be culled to 20 for the Jan. 20-29 CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Vancouver.
Leroux, who is from Vancouver and switched from Canada's youth national team to her father's native U.S. during her teens, scored 16 goals for the Bruins this year. Morgan (Diamond Bar HS) continued her explosive ascent in the U.S. squad, and Rodriguez (Santa Margarita Catholic HS) looks to regain her international form after falling behind former UCLA star Lauren Cheney on the depth chart.
Cheney, who is from Indianapolis, and Abby Wambach, who is from Rochester, N.Y., but maintains a home in Hermosa Beach, are the other two forwards on the roster.
Others with local ties invited into camp, all U.S. veterans, are defenders Whitney Engen (Rolling Hills Estates/Peninsula HS) and Stephanie Lopez (former L.A. Sol) and midfielder Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach/South Torrance HS).
The U.S. opens Group B play Jan. 20 against the Dominican Republic, then faces Guatemala on Jan. 22 and Mexico on Jan. 24. The Jan. 27 semifinals will determine the region's entrants to the women's soccer competition at next summer's London Games, with the winners meeting in the Jan. 29 final.
American soccer has fashioned a couple of thrilling runs to capture the country's imagination, but both have ended in disappointment -- the U.S. women's failure in Sunday's Women's World Cup final perhaps stinging worse than the men's overtime defeat to Ghana last year in South Africa.
No matter, reaching the final is success -- even if it's not the success demanded of America's women -- and the road was paved through Southern California. Nine of the Yanks' 13 goals in the six games were scored by Southlanders.
Here are tournament grades for the L.A.-area players on the U.S. roster:
ABBY WAMBACH: A
The big forward, a part-time Hermosa Beach resident, shook off an injury-fueled slump by scoring goals in the final four games, none bigger than the stoppage-time, overtime header against Brazil. Her 122nd for the U.S. should have been enough to win the World Cup. A deserving Silver Ball winner as the tournament's No. 2 player.
LAUREN CHENEY: A-
The former UCLA All-American took the biggest step forward, winning a starting job in time for the opener and demonstrating her versatility and skill in solid performances game after game. She netted a couple of goals and set up three more, and her ankle injury vs. Japan deprived the U.S. of a critical attacking presence after halftime.
ALEX MORGAN: A-
The 22-year-old Diamond Bar product showed the world what U.S. fans have been seeing for the past year or so. The speedy striker was sensational in her customary role off the bench, scoring a fine goal to nail down the semifinal win over France and netting a wonderful would-be winner against Japan.
SHANNON BOXX: B
The veteran central midfielder from Redondo Beach was solid defensively and in the transition game, but she wasn't the force she needs to be on attack. Some of the blame for that goes to coach Pia Sundhage's system, which is limited with Carli Lloyd, no playmaker, in the attacking-midfield role.
AMY RODRIGUEZ: C-
The Lake Forest forward who starred at USC has struggled to be a consistent scorer at the top level and contributes more with her defense-stretching speed than with her finishing. But she provided too little in five starts and watched the final from the bench.
Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez scored the first goal and the U.S. women's national team, in preparations for this summer's Women's World Cup, completed a two-game sweep of Japan with another 2-0 victory.
Rodriguez (Santa Margarita Catholic HS/USC) scored in the 28th minute after a fine run along the right byline by Heather O'Reilly, who netted the second goal in the 69th in Cary, N.C. A-Rod's goal was her 17th in international play and second in the series.
Hermosa Beach's Lindsay Tarpley, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in Saturday's 2-0 victory in Columbus, Ohio, watched from the stands.
Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx (South Torrance HS), Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach and former L.A. Sol defender Stephanie Cox also were in the U.S. lineup, and Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan (Diamond Bar HS) and former UCLA star Lauren Cheney came off the bench for the Americans.
A half-dozen of the 21 players on the U.S. roster announced Monday for this summer's Women's World Cup have strong links to the L.A. area. And two others have either played here or are from close nearby.
Here's a quick look at the eight U.S. players we might call our own:
Hometown: Redondo Beach
High school: South Torrance
College: Notre Dame
So Cal link: She's from the South Bay, has lived in L.A. and Orange County
Previous big events: 2003 and 2007 WWCs, 2004 and 2008 Olympics
A few words: The big, powerful central midfielder has been one of the world's premier defensive midfielders since playing her way onto the 2003 Women's World Cup roster -- she was selected for the U.S. before she'd ever taken the field for the team -- with spectacular performances in the Women's United Soccer Association, the 2001-03 pro league. Very dangerous going forward.
Club: Boston Breakers
Hometown: Del Mar
High school: Torrey Pines
So Cal link: Rugged back is from San Diego County
Previous big events: 2008 Olympics, 2002 and 2004 U-19 WWCs
A few words: The rugged center back, a fixture on the U.S. backline since 2009, has put medical school on hold to pursue soccer, and she's been the top defender and a team leader on every side she's played, club, college and the national team. She's vice captain to Christie Rampone.
Pia Sundhage on Monday unveiled her 21-woman roster for this summer's Women's World Cup, and Southern California is well-represented.
Six players with ties to the L.A. area, none of them a surprise pick, will be heading to Germany for the June 26-July 17 tournament.
The Swedish coach's roster includes three local products (Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx, Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan and Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez), one former UCLA star (Lauren Cheney), and two U.S. veterans who settled in the South Bay (Abby Wambach and Lindsay Tarpley). Former L.A. Sol defender Stephanie Cox also is on the list.
The U.S. opens Group C play June 28 in Dresden against North Korea. The Americans also face Colombia on July 2 in Sinsheim and Sweden on July 6 in Wolfsburg.
Three warm-up matches have been scheduled, against Japan on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, and May 18 in Cary, N.C., and against Mexico on June 5 in Harrison, N.J.
Eight players who participated in the final pre-roster camp in Boca Raton, Fla., were dropped from the list, including UCLA junior forward Sydney Leroux and defender Whitney Engen, from Rolling Hills Estates (Peninsula HS).
Here is the roster (with club affiliation in parentheses, and local information where warranted afterward):GOALKEEPERS
Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence)
Jill Loyden (magicJack)
Hope Solo (magicJack)
Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers)
Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), ex-L.A. Sol
Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt/Germany)
Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers)
Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat)
Christie Rampone (magicJack)
Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack)
Shannon Boxx (magicJack), Redondo Beach/South Torrance HS
Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC)
Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence)
Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat)
Heather O'Reilly (Sky Blue FC)
Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence)
Lindsay Tarpley (magicJack), Hermosa Beach
Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), UCLA
Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Diamond Bar/Diamond Bar HS
Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Lake Forest/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and USC
Abby Wambach (magicJack), Hermosa Beach
U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage has a novel plan to prepare for this summer's Women's World Cup without depriving her players' teams of their star players.
She's staging an three-week camp in West Palm Beach, Fla. that begins next Monday, with the players on hand during the week, then joining their Women's Professional Soccer clubs for weekend games.
The 29-player roster has 25 WPS players, three collegians who will attend camp for one week and defender Ali Krieger, who just completed her club season with FFC Frankfurt in Germany, the World Cup host.
Four local products (Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx, Rolling Hills Estates' Whitney Engen, Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan and Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez), UCLA stars past (Lauren Cheney) and present (Sydney Leroux), and two veterans who settled in the South Bay (Abby Wambach and Lindsay Tarpley) are on the roster. Sundhage can take 21 players to the June 26-July 17 World Cup.
UCLA freshman Kelyn Rowe scored both goals to send the U.S. into the all-important quarterfinals at CONCACAF's under-20 championship with a 2-0 victory over Panama.
Rowe scored in the 13th and 18th minutes, his second and third goals of the tournament, to give the U.S. (2-0-0) the Group B title and a final-eight matchup Wednesday with host Guatemala. The quarterfinal victors qualify for the July 29-Aug. 20 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
UCLA junior Eder Arreola (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS) played key roles in the sequences leading to both goals, but he departed in the 84th minute after injuring his right hamstring, and the U.S., which had already used all three of its substitutions, played with 10 men the rest of the way.
Irvine's Bobby Wood, a forward for 1860 Munich, and Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin also were in the U.S. lineup, and Oxnard's Moises Orozco (Oxnard HS), from Mexico's UANL Tigres, was a second-half substitute.
The U.S.-Guatemala winner will face Costa Rica or Cuba in Friday's semifinals; the other quarterfinal matches pit Mexico against Canada and Honduras against Panama.
U.S. WOMEN: The women's national team suffered a rare loss Saturday, falling, 2-1, to England in a World Cup prep at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road stadium in London. It was the Yanks' first defeat in a friendly since 2004.
Megan Rapinoe scored the U.S. goal, on an assist from Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx. Jess Clark and Rachel Yankey sent England to a 2-0 lead by the 26th minute.
Boxx (South Torrance HS) was joined in the starting lineup by Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez (Santa Margarita Catholic HS/USC) and Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach, who made her first start since last year after returning from a heel injury. Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan (Diamond Bar HS) and former UCLA star Lauren Cheney, both pivotal in the Americans' second-half dominance, came off the bench.
Chino Hills' Karen Bardsley (Ayala HS/Cal State Fullerton) was in the nets for England.
Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan had her first multigoal game for the U.S. women's national team, firing home the last two in a 4-0 romp over Finland to conclude group play at the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal.
Morgan (Diamond Bar HS), the top pick (by the Western New York Flash) in January's Women's Professional Soccer draft following a glorious stint at the University of California, tallied just before halftime and nine minutes into the second half, her fifth and sixth international goals.
Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx (South Torrance HS) scored on an eighth-minute header, and Carli Lloyd made it 2-0 five minutes later.
The Americans will face Iceland in Wednesday's Algarve Cup final.
Former UCLA All-American Lauren Cheney also was in the starting lineup, and Rolling Hills Estates' Whitney Engen (Peninsula HS) and Hermosa Beach's Lindsay Tarpley and Abby Wambach came off the bench in the second half.
Morgan took a long pass from Ali Krieger off her chest and knocked it to the left corner of the goal as Finnish goalkeeper Minna Meriluoto stepped out to challenge. She fired to the lower-right corner for her second goal after her cross and subsequent shot were blocked.