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Monday, August 20, 2012

SOCCER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Adriana Leon and U-20 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP IN JAPAN 2012





CANADA'S HAT TRICKER ADRIANA LEON

The Stanford senior from Palos Verdes Estates, who led the nation with 26 goals, was shut out in both games of the NCAA Division I women's College Cup -- Notre Dame did the trick in Sunday's final and pulled out a 1-0 upset over the top-ranked Cardinal.

Freshman Adriana Leon, a Canadian U-20 national-teamer, scored in the 62nd minute for the Fighting Irish (21-2-2), who beat the last three champions (USC, 2007; North Carolina, 2008 and 2009) en route to the final four. It was the first time Stanford (23-1-2) had trailed since Sept. 10, a span of 20 matches.

Notre Dame, which also won titles in 1995 and 2004, becomes the second team to win at least three national titles in women's soccer. North Carolina has 21 championships -- 20 NCAA, one AIAW -- and Portland has captured two. Five schools have won once.


Jenna Richardson: the Surrey, B.C., forward has been a member of the women’s U-20 national team for the last two seasons and will be a key piece to Canada’s offence in Japan. She helped Canada to a silver medal at the 2012 U-20 CONCACAF championship, scoring four goals in five matches. (Getty Images)
Nkem Ezurike: A two-time second team all-Big 10 pick at the University of Michigan, Ezurike, right, was tied for eighth in the conference last year with 11 goals in 18 games. The Lower Sackville, N.S., striker was part of women’s U-17 team that won a bronze medal at the 2008 CONCACAF championship. (Sandra Mu/Getty/Images)
Maya Hayes: An offensive threat whenever she steps onto the pitch, Hayes, right, has played in more U-20 matches (37) than anybody else on the American team, and is the top scorer with 12 career goals. (Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Crystal Dunn: The New York native, bottom right, is one of the best defenders in the tournament. Dunn was a vital member of the U.S. team that won the 2010 and 2020 U-20 CONCACAF championships. (Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press)
Dzsenifer Marozsan: The 20-year-old is already one of the most accomplished women’s soccer players in the world. Marozsan has won two World Cup titles with Germany – 2010 U-20 and 2008 U-17 – and won the Golden Shoe award as the tournament’s top scorer in the latter event.
Luisa Wensing: This will be Wensing’s first World Cup tournament, but the German right back (5) isn’t green. The 19-year-old was part of a strong German team which won both the 2009 UEFA U-17 and 2011 U-20 championships. Thorsten Wagner/Getty Images)
Kumi Yokoyama: The Japanese striker, left, was one of the stars of the 2008 U-17 World Cup. Yokoyama scored the winning goal against North Korea in the semifinal and was the recipient of the Silver Ball award – the person voted as the second most outstanding player. (Anthony Harris/Associated Press)
Kristine Hegland: Norway’s captain has been a member at different levels of the national team since she was 15. Hegland helped lead Norway to the final of the UEFA U-19 championship, where it fell to Germany. Thorsten Wagner/Getty Images)
Ketlen: Called Brazil's next Marta, Ketlen will be instrumental in keeping the South American side's attack together. (Marty Melville/Getty Images)

Canada beats Costa Rica 1-0 to open Women's U-20s
Adriana Leon converted one of her several chances in the first half and defending champion Canada opened the CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica on Wednesday.
The 17-year-old Leon, the third-youngest player on the Canadian roster, turned unmarked in the middle of the area in the 28th minute and easily beat goalkeeper Priscilla Tapia for the only goal the Canadians needed.
The match kicked off the 16-game, 11-day event that will crown the confederation champion and chose the region's three teams for the Under-20 Women's Soccer World Cup in July in Germany.
Costa Rica, which has finished fourth twice before and just missed out on qualifying for the World Cup, had an equal share of possession early but was limited to shots from distance that were blocked by Canada's picket fence of defenders.
Canada created the more quality chances early, including one by Leon in the eighth minute where her second touch got away from her and enabled Tapia to smother the ball.
Taylor Patterson put a header off a cross from Larua Chenard just wide from six meters in the 22nd minute, but six minutes later the Canadians finally prevailed.
Rachel Lamarre broke free down the right side of the penalty area, drawing three defenders before she laid the ball back to the top of the area. Gina Pacheco one-timed the ball into Leon, who with nobody close and standing 10 meters from goal, turned and blasted a right-footed shot as Costa Rican captain Katherine Alvarado arrived late in an attempt to close her down.
Costa Rica had its chances, including its best when Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno worked her way in from the right side, dribbled just inside the area before unleashing a left-footed effort that Canadian keeper Cynthia LeBlanc had to dive to push wide onto her left post.
LeBlanc also had to push wide a free kick by Alvarado from 30 meters in the 38th minute.
Canada, a two-time champion eventually took control in the second half, maintaining more possession and limiting Costa Rica's opportunities.
Las Ticas managed a late push in the final 15 minutes, nearly scoring an equalizer in the 85th minute when Fabiola Sanchez looped a header off Marianne Ugalde's free kick that ticked the outside of the right post.

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