Greg Ryan came to southern China searching for a third striker
and relying on his midfield to provide scoring power for his US
women's soccer team.
He found both in yesterday's 2-0 victory over China: goals from
midfielder Lori Chalupny and striker Natasha Kai that gave the
Americans a record fifth Four Nations tournament title- a warm up
for the World Cup in China this fall.
TV directors take note: Chalupny's 20-meter goal in first-half
injury time should make some weekly highlight packages.
"She hit a bomb, and just where she wanted it," Ryan said.
Chalupny -- nicknamed "Chalupa" or "Chalups" -- stepped up when
teammate Lindsay Tarpley stripped a China player of the ball 40
seconds into first-half injury time.
"It kind of just popped up to me and I took a touch on it and
shot," said Chalupny, who turned 23 on Monday.
The Americans dominated the game, and managed to contain China's
top two scoring threats, Han Duan and Ma Xiaoxu.
Despite the US dominance about 10,000 fans cheered China on,
still dwarfed in the 80,000-seat Guangdong Olympic Stadium.
China's assistant Wang Haiming, who filled in during the
tournament for ailing coach Ma Liangxing, said his No. 9-ranked
team lacked control in midfield.
"We can see that we are not strong enough in midfield,
particularly against a world-class team like the United States,"
China officials said Ma has heart problems, which may cause the
ending of his tenure, and they brought in well-traveled German
coach Eckhard Krautzun a week ago as a consultant.
(China Daily January 31, 2007)