New England Soccer Today

U.S. Wins U-20 Women’s World Cup

The United States U-20 Women’s National Team won their record third U-20 Women’s World Cup on Saturday, defeating Germany 1-0 in Tokyo, Japan.

The U.S. and defending champions Germany had each won two U-20 Women’s World Cup titles in the five previous tournaments since the competition began in 2002.

Kealia Ohai scored the game’s only goal a minute before halftime. A long lob sent University of North Carolina defender Crystal Dunn down the right flank with space ahead of her. Dunn cut around Germany’s Annabel Jaeger and ran into the box and towards the end line before sending a pass back towards the penalty area. The ball found its way through a crowded box to Ohai, a fellow Tar Heel, who blasted a shot past goalkeeper Laura Benkarth, the Golden Glove winner in the tournament, to put the U.S. up 1-0.

Ohai’s goal was her second of the tournament and it broke a record 610 minute shutout streak for Germany. Germany, who beat the U.S. 3-0 in the group stages of the U-20 World Cup just 12 days prior to the World Cup Final, had won all five of their games without conceding a goal on their way to the Final.

The U.S. was outshot by Germany 17 to 9 in the final, but was able to hold on for the shutout thanks to five saves from Bryane Heaberlin and a strong performance from captain defender Julie Johnston, who won the tournament’s Bronze Ball award.

Midfielder Samantha Mewis, a Hanson, Mass. native, came into the match as a substitute and played the final 22 minutes.

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