Kai leads U.S. women past Ireland

September 17, 2008

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Natasha Kai scored in the 72nd minute and the U.S. women's soccer team beat Ireland 1-0 on Wednesday night at Giants Stadium in the second game of a 10-game post-Olympic tour.

Briana Scurry preserved the victory with a late diving save on Michele O'Brien's shot. Ireland's Aine O'Gorman also had a chance at an empty net in extra time, but Heather Mitts' cleared the ball away.

After failing on multiple second-half opportunities, the Americans broke through when Carli Lloyd fed Kai with a pass from inside the penalty box. Kai's left-footed shot from 12 yards away went past goalkeeper Emma Byrne and inside the right post. Kai has scored in consecutive matches and has 15 goals in 21 games this year.

Just six minutes earlier, Kai missed an open net when her shot from 15 yards away flew over the net.

Team USA captain Christie Rampone was honored before the game. She became the sixth player to play 200 matches for the U.S. national team.

The meeting was the second of a three-game series between the two teams. The United States won the opener 2-0 on Saturday night in Philadelphia. The series will conclude Saturday in Bridgeview, Ill.

The United States won the Olympic gold medal with a 1-0 overtime victory over Brazil on Aug. 21 in Beijing.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press