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Posted on: 12-17-2008

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>>caption:  HEATHER O'REILLY (#9)


    The first ever soccer contest at Ford Field was an historic conclusion to a
near-unblemished season.
    The United States Women's National Soccer Team, which had claimed the first
ever back-to-back Women's Olympic Championship four months before at the
Beijing Summer Games, played its 36th and final match of the year.  The US posted
their second consecutive 1-Nil win over China PR.
    Team USA finished 2008 with a record of 33-1-&-2, the best ever it the national
team's 24-year history.  
    Midfielder Heather O'Reilly scored the game's only goal in the 32nd minute of the
opening half. Shortly after the US was awarded an indirect free kick when Chinese
goalkeeper Zhang Yanru was issued a yellow card for a repeated shoves to the back
of Kalamazoo, MICH native Lindsay Tarpley, O'Reilly burried a rebound off the crossbar
from eight yards out. Tarpley had taken the original shot and earned an assist.
    O'Reilly's goal made her just the sixth women's player in United States national team
history to record at least ten goals and ten assists in a calendar year.
    US keepers Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart shared the shutout, the team's third vs
China in four meetings (4-0) this year.
    The US out-shot the Chinese 17-6 including 8-3 in shots-on-goal.
    An announced crowd of 11-thousand-plus watched.  


US MF LINDSAY TARPLEY:   "I saw (the goalkeeper) off her line a little bit and I thought
I would try (a shot). It felt pretty good leaving my foot, but fortunately Heather was
there to finish it off. It was a great finish on her part to keep her shot low. Tonight
was great and it was an incredible crowd. It’s so nice to be able to come back home
and play in front of all these amazing fans.”

US H-COACH PIA SUNDHAGE:   "It was another great win against a pretty good team.
I was happy with the first half, but I think we went for Christmas time a little too early
in the second half. China did a good job in the second half, but overall these two games
have been good and it’s a great way to end the year."


    Also making a homecoming was DEF Kate Markgraf of Bloomfield Hills, MICH.   


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