Amanda Cinalli has helped Team USA open with a 3-0 win over Denmark and 1-1 tie with Iceland at the annual Nordic Cup (photo by Pete LaFeur).

Nordic Cup Soccer Journal: Cinalli Helps Team USA Open With Win And Tie In Prestigious Tournament

July 19, 2006

Notre Dame rising junior forward Amanda Cinalli and her teammates on the USA Under-21 National Team have begun play in Norway at the annual Nordic Cup, the world’s premier event for women’s soccer on the youth level. The USA opened with a 3-0 win over Denmark before playing to a 1-1 tie with Iceland – with a key final game in group play set for July 20 versus the host nation Norway. The Americans have compiled a 33-7 total shot edge at the Nordic Cup while allowing just two shots on goal (14 for the U.S.) and owning a 12-4 margin in corner kicks.

Cinalli (Maple Heights, Ohio) entered the Denmark game early in the first half and played 51 minutes, including a stretch late in the opening half when the USA scored a pair of goals. She then logged 14 minutes in the tie with Iceland.

The USA’s quest for an eighth straight Nordic Cup title will hinge on Thursday’s results in a wide-open Group B. The USA needs to beat Norway while maintaining its goal differential advantage over Iceland (the USA is at +3, Iceland is at +1) in order to win the group and earn a berth in the Nordic Cup title game on July 22. A tie would get the USA into the championship if Iceland ties or loses its game with Denmark. If the USA draws or loses in the Norway game, Iceland would reach the title game by beating Denmark. Norway also could sneak in and win the group, with a victory over the United States and a loss or tie by Iceland.

Cinalli has checked in with a Nordic Cup soccer journal entry that is included below, as are U.S. Soccer recap notes from the first two games. Cinalli also will file a second journal report after the conclusion of the Nordic Cup this weekend.

Amanda Cinalli Nordic Cup Soccer Journal #1 (July 18, 2006)

Sunday July 16, 2006
“Hello Notre Dame fans. Well, I’m here in Norway competing with Team USA at the Nordic Cup. We played Denmark today. They were tall and very good in the air. We did very well and scored two goals in the first half, a header off of a corner kick by India Trotter and a great shot by Danesha Adams after a really nice thru-ball by Brittany Taylor, who plays in the BIG EAST at UConn. We ended up scoring one more goal in the second half to make it a 3-0 victory after Bristyn Davis laid a nice ball back from the endline to Katie Griffin, who nicely placed the ball into the back of the net. It was a great way to start off the tournament and I am really excited for the rest of the week!”

Monday July 17, 2006
“After training today, we went on a boat ride in the North Sea to go see the Fjords (tall rock formations created by ancient glaciers) and waterfalls. Norway is beautiful. The water is clear and a beautiful blue/green – but there are a lot of orange jellyfish floating around near the bay! The sun is out for about 20 out of the 24 hours of the day, the mountains and hills are full of green trees and cool houses, and the rocks are huge and each formation has an interesting story behind it. After drinking some fresh water from a waterfall and stopping to feed the mountain goats, we headed back to the bay for the day.”

Tuesday July 18, 2006
“We played Iceland today. They were a big and physical team. We dominated the entire first half but with about 10 minutes left they scored off a free-kick. The free-kick wasn’t really deserved, as the player took a dive right outside the box. We regrouped at halftime and by the time the team stepped onto the field we were determined to stay tough and to continue dominating the game. The intensity was very good from our team and we ended up obtaining a PK early in the half after an Iceland player accidentally blocked a shot with her hand in the box. Danesha Adams scored the PK and we were then tied 1-1. Regulation time ended and the game was considered a tie, but penalty kicks were taken just in case ties occur at the end of the three games and goal differential is necessary to get into the championship game. We won the PKs so we will have that edge if we end up tied with Iceland in the standings. Now it’s time to prepare for Norway on Thursday.

“I’ll be checking back in after the tournament ends – Go Irish and Go USA!”

Amanda Cinalli

NORDIC CUP RECAPS (July 16 and 18, 2006; content provided by USA Soccer)

USA 3, Denmark 0 (July 16; Randaberg Stadium/Stavanger, Norway) – The USA opened with a convincing win, as Florida State forward India Trotter, UCLA forward Danesha Adams and former Colorado forward Katie Griffin each scored … in other first-day Group B action, Iceland upset the host team Norway (3-2) … the USA racked up a dominating 19-2 shot edge (also 7-1 in corner kicks) and did not allow a shot on goal … two goals in a two-minute span gave the USA a 2-0 halftime edge … the first goal came off a corner kick from the right side in the 31st minute, as former Penn State forward Tiffany Weimer launched the ball into the middle to Trotter, who powered her header into the net from six yards out … the USA scored moments later, as UConn defender Brittany Taylor sent the speedy Adams behind the defense with a perfect thru-ball down the left side … Adams ran onto the ball and slotted her chance inside the near post from 12 yards out … the USA added an insurance goal in the closing games, as UCLA midfielder Bristyn Davis beat a defender in the left side of the penalty box before cutting a pass across the 18-yard line for Griffin, who lifted her finish into the right corner … Denmark is the only team to beat the USA in the Nordic Cup (1-0, in ’02) since the 1998 championship game, when the USA lost to Norway … in the Group A matches, Germany defeated Sweden (2-0) and England defeated Finland (3-1).

USA Head Coach Jillian Ellis: “It was a good start … we were also able to get a lot of players their first Nordic Cup game under their belts. We have a lot of players that are fairly inexperienced at the international level, so to get a win like this in our first game is great. You always have to win the first game of the Nordic Cup to stay in the picture for the championship game, so I was very pleased with their performance today. …

Midfielder Sarah Huffman: “We were able to connect out of the back and were able to link well with the midfield, which gave us some good rhythm and helped created a ton of chances. It was a really good start.” ?

2006 Nordic Cup – USA vs. Denmark (July 16; Randaberg Stadium/Stavanger, Norway)

USA 2-1 – 3
Denmark 0-0 – 0

USA 1. India Trotter (Tiffany Weimer) 31st minute; USA 2. Danesha Adams (Brittany Taylor) 32; USA 3. Katie Griffin (Bristyn Davis) 88.

Shots: USA 19, DEN 2
Corner Kicks: USA 7, DEN 1
Saves: USA (Val Henderson) 0, DEN (Stina Lykke Pedersen) 5
Fouls: USA 5, DEN 10
Offside: USA 6, DEN 1

USA: 18-Val Henderson; 13-Lauren Wilmoth, 12-Rachel Buehler, 4-Kendall Fletcher – Capt., 10-Sarah Huffman; 5-Brittany Taylor, 2-Sheree Gray (6-Bristyn Davis, 77), 22-Angie Woznuk (19-Noelle Keselica, 46); 9- Danesha Adams (11-Rebecca Moros, 87), 16- Tiffany Weimer (15-Amanda Cinalli, 66), 21-India Trotter (13-Katie Griffin, 81).

Denmark: 1-Stina Lykke Pedersen, 3-Camilla Egelund (2 Nelle Thomsen, 46), 4-Camilla Mogensen, 5-Line Caspersen, 6-Laura Munch, 7-Camilla Sand Andersen – Capt., 8-Louise Seier (14-Jenni Jacobsen, 77, 18-Ida Gregersen, 88), 9-Tanja Mejer Christensen, 10-Stine Bastrup (15 Mette Olesen, 77), 11-Kristine Petersen (12 Merete Greisen, 55), 13-Cecilie Henriksen (17-Therese Nielsen, 56).

Officials – referee Wendy Thoms (England); referee asst. June Bendiksen (Norway); referee asst. Maren Berge (Norway)

USA 1, Iceland 1 (July 18; Algard Stadium) – Adams scored on a PK to secure the tie, leaving the USA and Iceland tied atop the Group B standings (1-0-1), with the USA set to face Norway in final group-B matches on July 20 while Iceland will play Denmark … the USA and Iceland took penalty kicks after the match as a tiebreaker in case they are tied on points and other tiebreakers at the end of group play … the USA prevailed on PKs, 3-2, with former UVa midfielder Noelle Keselica, Penn State midfielder Sheree Gray and Adams converting for the Americans … the USA dominated the game (14-5 edge in shots; 5-3 in corner kicks) and had several near-misses, but Iceland defended strongly and the Americans’ finishing lacked some bite … it is only the second time in history that Iceland has tied with the USA at any level of the women’s national teams … in 2000, the USA and Iceland senior teams tied 0-0 in Charlotte, N.C. … the USA’s lone goal came in the 50th minute after Iceland handled the ball inside the penalty area … Adams stepped up and drilled her shot into the right corner to tie the match … Iceland’s Margaret Vidarsdottir had scored in the 35th minute off a direct free kick, after Adams had fouled a player about 25 yards from the net (she was shown a yellow card on the play) … it was the first tie for the USA in a Nordic Cup match since 2003 (1-1 vs. Norway) … in the Group A matches, Germany defeated Finland (3-0) while England tied Sweden, 1-1 … Germany needs just a tie in its final group game against England to earn a spot in the championship game … the English will advance to their first Nordic Cup title game if they can upset the powerful Germans, who will be highly-motivated as they have not won a Nordic Cup since 1995.

Head Coach Jillian Ellis: “Credit to Iceland, they battled us for every ball and got numbers behind the ball extremely well. We struggled to unlock them in the first half, but came out a sharper team after the break. We had some terrific opportunities but we just couldn’t finish them off.

Defender Kendall Fletcher: “I was proud of how we battled back, we just had to settle in and play our game. We created a lot of chances, enough to win the game, and now we just have to focus on getting a positive result against Norway.”

2006 Nordic Cup – USA vs. Iceland (July 18; Algard Stadium/Algard, Norway)

USA 0-1 – 1
Iceland 1-0 – 1

ICE 1. Margaret Vidarsdottir (unassisted) 35th minute; USA 1. Danesha Adams (penalty kick) 50.

Shots: USA 14, ICE 5
Corner Kicks: USA 5, ICE 3
Saves: USA (Val Henderson) 1, ICE (Gudbjorg Gunnarsdottir) 5
Fouls: USA 12, ICE 19
Offside: USA 9, ICE 0
Misconduct Summary: USA – Brittany Taylor (caution) 30th minute.; USA – Adams (caution) 34

USA: 18-Val Henderson; 13-Lauren Wilmoth, 12-Rachel Buehler, 4-Kendall Fletcher, 10-Sarah Huffman – Capt., (19-Noelle Keselica, 46); 5-Brittany Taylor, 2-Sheree Gray, 22-Angie Woznuk (15-Amanda Cinalli, 76); 9-Adams, 16-Tiffany Weimer (6-Bristyn Davis, 46), 21-India Trotter (13-Katie Griffin, 70).

Iceland: 1-Gudbjorg Gunnarsdottir, 2-Gudny Odinsdottir, 4-Malfridur Sigurdardottir, 5-Asta Arnadottir, 6-Holmfridur Magnusdottir (3-Sif Atladottir, 60), 7-Erla Arnarsdottir, 8-Olina Vidarsdottir, 9-Vidarsdottir, 10-Dora Larusdottir, 17-Greta Samuelsdottir (11-Nina Kristinsdottir, 56), 18-Katrin Omarsdottir.

Officials: referee Saija Raatikainen (Finland); referee asst. June Bendiksen (Norway); referee asst. Maren Berge (Norway)

Group A
Germany – 6 pts (2-0-0; +5 goal differential)
England – 4 pts (1-0-1; +2)
Sweden – 1 pt (0-1-1; -2)
Finland – 0 pts (0-2-0; -5)

Group B
USA – 4 pts (1-0-1; +3)
Iceland – 4 pts (1-0-1; +1)
Norway – 3 pts (1-1-0; +3)
Denmark – 0 pts (0-2-0; -7)

Sunday, July 16 – USA 3, Denmark 0 … Iceland 3, Norway 2 … Germany 2, Sweden 0 … England 3, Finland 1
Tuesday, July 18 – USA 1, Iceland 1 … Norway 4, Denmark 0 … England 1, Sweden 1 … Germany 3, Finland 0
Thursday, July 20 – Denmark vs. Iceland … Norway vs. USA … Finland vs. Sweden … England vs. Germany
Saturday, July 22 – 7th-Place Match … 5th-Place Match … 3rd-Place Match … Championship Game