ALGARVE SOCCER CUP
Kai’s Algarve ends with loss and injury
FARO, Portugal » Natasha Kai saw 46 minutes of action in the 2006 Algarve Cup championship match yesterday but was shut out, as was the United States Women's National Soccer Team.
The former Hawaii star was taken off the field on a stretcher in the 116th minute after a head-to-head collision with Germany's Kerstin Garefrekes.
Kai's injury was described as "minor" in the game report on ussoccer.com.
The teams played to a 120-minute scoreless tie, then Germany won the title on penalty kicks, making four to the U.S.'s three. The victory ended the Americans' three-year reign as cup champions.
Kai replaced Heather O'Reilly in the 70th minute. Kai's best scoring chance came at the end of the first 15-minute overtime period when Abby Wambach beat a German defender on the right flank, dribbled toward the post and served a ball to Kai, but her shot was blocked by a defender.
The United States outshot Germany 19 to 9 and 9 to 4 in shots on goal, but could not get the ball past German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg. The U.S. had two shots hit the crossbar within a 5-minute span in the first half.
U.S. coach Greg Ryan told ussoccer.com, "Tonight I think we played our best game (of the tournament). Silke made some great saves, the post made some great saves, but sometimes you are lucky. In the (2004) Olympic final against Brazil, the post saved us because Brazil hit the post two times.
"It was a great tournament for our young players that are learning more every day. The improvement of the team over the course of the tournament was phenomenal."
The United States' Shannon Boxx took home best player of the tournament award and Hope Solo was named best goalkeeper.
The U.S. team has a two-week break, then begins a six-month residency training camp in early April at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Sweden took third with a 1-0 win over France; Norway claimed fifth with a 1-0 victory over China; seventh went to Finland after a 4-3 win over Mexico, and Denmark finished ninth with a 4-0 victory over Ireland.
» Brian Ching (Kamehameha, Gonzaga) has been added to the U.S. Men's National Team roster that will play the Germans in Dortmund, Germany, on March 22.
A striker, Ching has made 15 appearances and scored three goals for the men's national team.
Dortmund is one of 12 cites that will host matches in this summer's men's World Cup.