U.S. NATIONAL WOMEN'S SOCCER
Kai scores again as U.S. tops France
FARO, Portugal » Natasha Kai is 2-for-2 with the United States Women's National Soccer Team at the 2006 Algarve Cup.
Sent into yesterday's match against France in the 73rd minute, Kai needed only 3 minutes to score her second goal in two appearances with the national team.
The United States won the match 4-1 to finish first in Group B and will play Group A winner Germany tomorrow in the cup championship match.
The Americans will be seeking their fourth consecutive Algarve Cup title, while Germany is the defending World Cup champion.
Kai is continuing to find the net the way she did during the summer of 2004, when she was the leading scorer on the U.S. Women's Under-21 Team that won the Nordic Cup.
Kai's goal was unassisted but was the result of Abby Wambach's pass from the left side through the French defense. The former Kahuku and Hawaii standout caught up with the ball near the end line.
According to the national team's Web site, Kai found herself one-on-one with French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi. Kai tried to dribble around Bouhaddi to the right, but Bouhaddi made a good save to stuff the ball at Kai's feet.
Kai stumbled to the ground, but as the ball popped loose, she regained her footing and spun to the inside to chip the ball over the goalkeeper with her left foot.
The goal came 12 minutes after France had scored to cut the U.S. lead to 3-1.
Coach Greg Ryan told ussoccer.com, "Tasha's a goal-scorer. She loves scoring goals. Every time she steps on the field, she believes she will score and she's right most of the time."
Kai's two goals have come in just 62 minutes of action.
The U.S. wasted no time getting on the board yesterday as Kristine Lilly, with an assist from Wambach, scored in the first minute of play. It was her 109th career goal.
The U.S. led 1-0 at the half, then scored early in the second half on goals by Aly Wagner and Lindsay Tarpley in the 49th and 50th minute, respectively.
Germany and the United States are the top two teams in the FIFA rankings. The Americans defeated the Germans in last year's title match.