KENNESAW GA - OCTOBER 02: Midfielder Heather O'Reilly #9 of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (C) is congratulated by teammates Shannon Boxx #7 and Lauren Cheney #12 after her go ahead and game winning goal in the first half during the international friendly match against the People's Republic of China Women's National Soccer Team at Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium on October 2 2010 in Kennesaw Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

USA Vs. Mexico, 2011 International Friendly: Lauren Cheney Stunner Gives USWNT 1-0 Win

The United States women didn't put in a great performance at Red Bull Arena tonight, but an absolutely stunning stoppage time goal by Lauren Cheney has given them a win.

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USA Vs. Mexico, 2011 International Friendly: 1-0 Final Score, Lauren Cheney Goal Wins It For USWNT

The United States didn't put in a great performance this afternoon against Mexico, but thanks to a stunning stoppage time goal by substitute striker Lauren Cheney, they have avoided what would have been a slightly embarrassing 0-0 draw, defeating Mexico by a score of 1-0.

Cheney entered the game for Amy Rodriguez, who had a poor game, in the second half. Upon the entry of Alex Morgan into the game in the 75th minute, Cheney dropped to a withdrawn striker/attacking midfield position behind Morgan and Wambach, a role in which she was effective for the rest of the match. In the first minute of stoppage time, with the score tied up at 0-0, Cheney dribbled past her marker into space and took a shot from 25 yards out, putting an absolute laser into the back of the net.

It was a relief for Pia Sundhage, her team, and the fans to see the ball hit the back of the net, but Cheney's excellent goal should not overshadow the performance by the team as a whole, which was poor and not up to World Cup standards. Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Amy Rodriguez were nowhere near their best, while the team struggled to involve Heather O'Reilly and Abby Wambach in the game as much as they should.

Despite the fact that she gave up the goal at the end, the woman of the match was almost certainly 16-year-old Mexican goalkeeper Ceci Santiago, who showed fantastic command of her area throughout the match. Cheney's shot wouldn't have been stopped by any goalkeeper in the world, and Santiago was not the least bit at fault for the goal.

The two teams will now get ready to travel to Germany, where they are both playing in the 2011 Women's World Cup. Mexico opens World Cup play in Wolfsburg against England on June 27, while the United States kicks off their World Cup campaign against North Korea in Dresden on June 28.


USA Vs. Mexico, 2011 International Friendly: 0-0 Halftime, USWNT Somehow Both Dominant And Poor

The United States women's national team has a 13-1 edge on Mexico in shots and holds a significant edge in possession. Despite that, they're actually not playing very well at all, as they have squandered golden opportunities while also taking a number of poor, ill-advised shots. They've only hit the target three times and they've only seriously challenged the goalkeeper once, when Shannon Boxx had a header saved. As a result, the game is tied 0-0 at halftime.

Amy Rodriguez was particularly poor in the first half, squandering a couple of clear-cut goal scoring opportunities with poor shots that missed the target. Megan Rapinoe's service from dead balls has been substandard, Amy LePeilbet has worked hard, but ultimately failed to provide great service from her new left back position, and the team as a whole has not done a good enough job of finding Heather O'Reilly and Abby Wambach in dangerous positions.

The United States were better than Mexico in the first half, but that has more to do with Mexico's relative lack of physical talent and conservative style of play than anything great that the USWNT has done to this point. Their play so far has not been up to World Cup standards, and they need to improve considerably with their opening game in Dresden just a couple of weeks away.


USA Vs. Mexico, 2011 International Friendly: Lineups

The lineups are out for the USWNT's Women's World Cup send-off game, and they are exactly as expected. Pia Sundhage varies her lineup less than just about any manager you'll ever see. That fact, combined with the fact that it makes sense to try to build some chemistry with your starting XI ahead of a major competition, makes her team selection an understandable one, though most fans would probably like to see some different players. Here are the lineups for Mexico and the United States.

United States lineup: Solo; Buehler, Rampone, LePeilbet, Krieger; Rapinoe, Lloyd, Boxx, O'Reilly; Wambach, Rodriguez

Mexico lineup: Santiago; Robles, Vinti, Saucedo, Garciamendez; Garza, Worbis, Morales, Perez; Mayor, Dominguez

The game kicks off at 2 pm ET from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, and the game can be seen in the United States on ESPN2. Both teams have qualified for the Women's World Cup, and Mexico won the most recent meeting between the two teams.


USA Vs. Mexico, 2011 International Friendly: USWNT, El Tri Women Play Final Women's World Cup Tune-Up

The United States are heading to Germany for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, but not before they get a proper send-off. They couldn't find a much better stage an opponent, as they face off against fellow World Cup qualifiers Mexico, who upset them in Cancun at the Gold Cup, at beautiful Red Bull Arena, arguably the best soccer-specific venue in the United States.

Pia Sundhage has set her full roster for the World Cup, naming Kelley O'Hara as Lindsay Tarpley's replacement. Tarpley tore her ACL in a friendly match in the build-up to the world cup. O'Hara is similarly talented but is a completely different type of player; one who relies on her pace more than anything. Since she's just recently been named to the squad, Sundhage will likely want to give her some time out on the wing.

O'Hara will be a substitute, though, as Sundhage will likely stick with her first choice lineup, getting them one more game together before heading off to Germany. Her lineup seems fairly set in stone at this point, but there are a few areas of concerned. Central midfielder Carli Lloyd and striker Amy Rodriguez are much maligned by the fans, but both have actually been playing better than their rivals for playing time as of late. The most interesting playing time battle has to be between Becky Sauerbrunn and Amy LePeilbet; a battle which LePeilbet will certainly win.

There was a time not too long ago when LePeilbet was widely considered to be the best defender in the world, but her form and fitness has slipped considerably, while Sauerbrunn is top notch in both departments. At the very least, Sundhage knows that she has quite possibly the best central defender in the World Cup who isn't first choice for her team, giving the United States a great backup should anyone fall victim to injury or a serious dip in form.

Another defensive spot is very much up for grabs, as Sundhage has to choose between the raw talent of Ali Riley and the experience of Heather Mitts at right back. Mitts' form in a United States shirt has not been fantastic as of late, but conventional wisdom is that experience is the tiebreaker in a competition like the World Cup.

Mexico are a young, up and coming team that, like their male counterparts, like to play the ball on the ground. The United States are a team with competent technical players, but this should still make for an interesting stylistic matchup. The biggest advantage the United States will have is on set pieces, where the aerial prowess of players like Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx will be difficult for Mexico to deal with.

The big, strong, and experienced United States national team takes on a young, technical Mexico team that's full of flair from Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon. Give it a look to see what you can expect from both teams in the Women's World Cup later this month.

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