Women's World Cup Final 2011, USA Vs. Japan: Lauren Cheney Goes Close Early

The United States is off to a fast start in the World Cup final, and it only took Lauren Cheney a minute to create a chance for the team. She's moved back to striker in place of Amy Rodriguez, who has moved to the bench, and she's justified Pia Sundhage's decision early. In a race to catch up to a long ball, Cheney was able to beat Azusa Iwashimizu to a ball, avoiding a tackle and getting to the endline. She dribbled inside and took a shot from a narrow angle, but Ayumi Kaihori saved easily. Wambach was running into the box, and Cheney might have been better served playing a pass. Nothing came of the ensuing corner kick.

Japan looks a little anxious, as they're trying more long balls and killer balls than they normally play. The USWNT is seriously pushing the pace and they're sucking Japan into their style of play early. If Japan wants to win, they're going to have to settle down and control possession.

For live updates throughout the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, keep it on our World Cup Final StoryStream. Also taking place right now are the Copa America quarterfinals, so head over to our Brazil vs. Paraguay StoryStream for updates on that. For all kinds of coverage on world football, check out SB Nation Soccer.

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