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NZ U-20s go down to USA

The touring American team, who managed a 2-1 win over NZA and a 4-4 draw with the U-20s on Friday, completed a dominant display which was marked by some superb goals to underline their quality.
Jitka Klimkova, the USA Women’s Development Coach, was very proud of what her team achieved on this tour.
“We knew that the third game would be harder, everyone was a bit tired, but we left all of our energy on the field,” said the former Czech Republic international. “The result is great but even more important is the performance of our team. We wanted to combine and have a control of the game and we had both of those qualities.”
Leon Birnie, the NZ U-20s coach, believed there were plenty of good learnings from the past two results as they begin their preparation for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in November.
“We wanted to play USA – one of the best teams in the world at women’s football – and we wanted to challenge ourselves and we got that in both games,” he said. “The positive today was we kept fighting and we came back into the match in the
final 20 minutes. That showed fight and character. Our intent was good but our quality with our intent wasn’t quite where it needed to be today. It has been a big week for these girls and there are a lot of learnings to take from this last game.”
The USA went ahead in the 28th minute when Shannon Simon delivered a powerful strike from the edge of the box which gave the New Zealand keeper Tessa Nicol no chance.
The hosts came back into the match and Jasmine Pereira had a golden chance to level the scores in the 42nd minute. The Football Fern went one-on-one with the keeper Samantha Leshnak who completed a fine save.
“If we score there then we are right back in the game,” said Birnie. “At this level you don’t get those chances too often.”
After the break, the USA doubled their advantage when Ella Stephens made the most of a good cross to finish with a powerful strike from inside the box in the 49th minute.
New Zealand kept pressing but were unable to break down the USA defence and they were made to pay midway through the second half when the visitors scored two goals in as many minutes. Midfielder Shannon Simon made the most of poor defending in the box and hit home from close range for her second of the afternoon, before Cyera Hintzen got on the board after a goal mouth scramble. USA led 4-0 with 25 minutes to play and after a quick flurry of goals were in complete control.
“There was a big period where USA were clinical,” said Birnie. “They went bang, bang, bang and put the game to bed.”
Paige Satchell, a tireless worker at the heart of the New Zealand attack, created a chance in the 80th minute when her shot from the edge of the box was deflected as far as Jade Parris who finished well. From there the Kiwis tried to rally for a second but their late chances were not converted.
Klimkova said her USA side, who had 11 players who were new to international football on this tour, came on as individuals and as a group.
“This is our last game together as a team so it is great to finish really strongly. It has been a special tour four our players. They have never been so far from home and having these experiences can make them better players.”
Final score:
New Zealand U-20 1 (Jade Parris 80’) USA Under 19s 4 (Shannon Simon 28’, 63’, Ella Stephens 49’, Cyera Hintzen 65’)
2pm QBE Stadium, Albany
HT: 0-1
New Zealand U-20’s: 2. Sarah Morton, 3. Elizabeth Anton, 4. Meikayla Moore © 7. Isabella Coombes, 8. Jasmine Pereira, 9 Martine Puketapu (6. Hannah Blake 72’), 10. Daisy Cleverley (18. Juliana Los 61’), 13. Paige Satchell, 14. Grace Jale (16. Mikayla Wieblitz 16’, 5. Jade Parris 61’), 15. Sophie Stewart-Hobbs (20. Rebecca Lake 80’), 21. Tessa Nicol
Subs not used: 1. Emily Couchman, 11. Emma Rolston, 12. Nadia Olla, 17. Samantha Murrell, 19. Tayla Christensen
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football

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