Sept. 4, 2012
TOKYO – The United States advanced to the final of the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 semifinal victory over Nigeria on Tuesday at Tokyo National Stadium. Virginia sophomore midfielder Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.) scored the game-winning goal in the 22nd minute as the Americans advance to play Germany in Saturday’s final.
Brian’s goal was her first of the tournament. She has started all five games in Japan for the American team, which is led by Virginia head coach Steve Swanson.
“We’re obviously very happy to be moving on,” said Swanson. “It was a difficult match physically, certainly, and I thought Nigeria gave us all we could handle and more. It wasn’t pretty at times, but I thought our team getting that first goal was critical. Our team did well at times holding the ball against a very quick, fast, athletic team and getting that second goal made a big difference for us. We beat a quality opponent that has experience, which we are happy about as well, as that team has been to the finals before and has a lot of experienced players.”
With the game scoreless in the 22nd minute, Duke’s Mollie Pathman sent a cross from the left side into the box that found an unmarked Brian. Brian headed in the cross to give the United States the lead. North Carolina’s Kealia Ohai added a second goal for the Americans in the 70th minute.
“Mollie and I have this thing were we connect,” said Brian. “I know when she has time and gets the space that she’s going to find me on the back post. She played it and I was there. I hit the post on a header in the first game so I wanted to put that one away.”
The United States will meet reigning U-20 World Champion Germany in Saturday’s final at the Tokyo National Stadium. The game will start at 6:20 a.m. and will air live on ESPNU. The teams met earlier in the tournament during the group stage as the Germans posted a 3-0 victory.