Sports

Americans drop first girls U17 soccer match of the year

 

The U.S. Under-17 women’s national soccer team lost, 2-1, to Ghana at King Abdullah II International Stadium in its second Group D game of the 2016 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.

The Americans experienced their first loss in an international match for this team during this cycle. The USA is 13-1-2 in 2016, having scored 48 goals while allowing 13.

Frankie Tagliaferri gave the USA an early lead in just the fifth minute, with an assist from Stanford commit Civana Kuhlmann, on a hot afternoon as the U.S. began the game with verve and intensity.

After the USA scored, Ghana became the aggressor for much of the final 80 minutes, putting the USA under heavy defensive pressure and winning the lion’s share of 50/50 balls which served to stifle the U.S. attack.

Gifty Acheampong eventually converted on a header for Ghana in the 63rd minute to tie the match. The goal combined with a pair of U.S. substitutions jolted the USA back into the match and captain Ashley Sanchez nearly gave the young Americans the lead once again with a stinging drive that deflected high off the center of Ghana’s crossbar.

Ghana goalkeeper Kayza Massey lost sight of the ball as it fell back into the field of play near her right post where it bounced off the turf, hit the underside of the bar and then back down onto the goal line before Massey was able to claw it away from danger.

The USA carved out a number of other quality chances through substitute Sophia Smith, but it was Ghana’s captain Sandra Owusu-Ansah who decided the match by converting a penalty kick in the 84th minute after the USA was whistled for a handball in the box.

The USA (1-1-0; 3pts) and Ghana (1-1-0; 3pts) are now tied in the Group D standings with the U.S. edging in front based on a superior +4 goal differential compared to Ghana’s -4. Japan (1-0-0; 3pts) and Paraguay (0-1-0; 0pts) play later in the day. No matter the outcome of that game, the U.S. now needs a result against Japan in the final Group D match on Saturday at Amman International Stadium (11:55 a.m. ET; FS2, NBC Universo).

— USA Soccer

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