U.S. women take Peace Queen Cup

June 21, 2008

SUWON, South Korea -- The United States won the Peace Queen Cup tournament Saturday, beating Canada 1-0 on a 92nd-minute goal by Angela Hucles.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo made two game-preserving saves at the end of the match for the American women, who tuned up for the Beijing Olympics by winning their fourth tournament of the year. The Olympic roster will be announced Monday.

APAngela Hucles

"I think this is great preparation," Hucles said. "This tournament has been high-quality games against top-level opponents."

With the game seemingly headed to extra time, a Canadian defender committed a foul 35 yards from the goal. Noticing Lauren Cheney open inside the penalty area, Hucles quickly took the free kick, which caught goalkeeper Erin McLeod off-balance as Cheney distracted her. McLeod got a piece of the ball, but it skidded past her right leg and under her arms before rolling into the net.

It was the second time this year Hucles scored an injury-time winner. She also got one in the 94th minute against Australia on May 3 in Birmingham, Ala., giving the United States a 5-4 victory.

This was the second time the Americans defeated Canada 1-0 to win the Peace Queen Cup, doing the same in the inaugural tournament in 2006.

"We've been in pressure situations," Hucles said. "Obviously a final match like this coming down to the wire, you can't get anything better than that. I can't think of anything better to get us ready for Beijing '08."

Solo excelled late in the game. She dived to her left to snag a header from Randee Hermus off a corner kick in the 84th minute. Solo also pushed a drive from Canada captain Christie Sinclair over the top of the net in the final minutes.

Sinclair left for a few minutes early in the first half after getting a gash in her head in a collision with Abby Wambach. She returned and played the rest of the first half with her head heavily bandaged, but Canada started the second half with 10 players as Sinclair was receiving six stitches in her scalp.

Earlier this year, the Americans beat China in January to win the Four Nations Tournament, defeated Denmark for the Algarve Cup in March and downed Canada on penalty kicks in the final of CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying tournament in April.

"I think it was great for us, to be over here in Asia, to [experience] this environment," Wambach said. "Now the coaching staff has the tough decision to name the final roster for the Olympics."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press