U.S. women top Ireland in exhibition

September 13, 2008

PHILADELPHIA -- Natasha Kai and Heather O'Reilly each scored to help the U.S. women's national soccer team beat Ireland 2-0 on Saturday night to kick off a 10-game post Olympic tour.

It was the first match for the U.S. women since they won the Olympic gold medal with a 1-0 overtime triumph over Brazil on Aug. 21 in Beijing.

The Americans scored first on Kai's header from six yards out. It was her 14th goal of the year and 22nd of her career. O'Reilly sealed the victory with a goal with just 4 minutes left. The midfielder unleashed a left-footed rocket from just outside the penalty area that flew over Irish goalkeeper Emma Byrne, clanked off the underside of the crossbar at the upper left corner and bounced down over the goal line.

Ireland's best chance came in the middle of the first half when it earned two consecutive corner kicks, but otherwise U.S. goalkeepers Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart, who played the second half, had little to do.

The teams will play again on Wednesday at Giants Stadium. The U.S. women complete the three-game series against the Irish on Sept. 20.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press