US tops Sweden 2-0, reaches Algarve Cup final
With the first two-goal game of her international career, Lauren Cheney put the United States into the final of the Algarve Cup against Germany.
Cheney entered at the start of the second half and lifted the United States over Sweden 2-0 Monday.
``She came in, had a lot of fire and got the team going,'' U.S. captain Shannon Boxx said.
Germany, the defending world champion, routed China 5-0 to finish first in its group. The Germans and Americans will meet for the title on Wednesday in a rematch of the 2005 and 2006 championships. The Americans won 1-0 in 2005 and the Germans triumped 4-3 on penalty kicks a year later following a 0-0 tie.
Germany has outscored opponents 16-0 in this year's tournament.
Cheney gave the U.S. the lead in the 56th minute when she ran onto a through ball from Casey Nogueira, rounded goalkeeper Hedvid Lindahl and slotted home from a tight angle.
``It's good for all of us to know that someone coming off the bench can change the game,'' U.S. coach Pia Sundage said.
Cheney added her third goal of the tournament in the 87th minute on a give-and-go with Lori Lindsey, beating Lindahl with a powerful shot into the top left corner.
``I think I knew right when it hit my foot that it was just one of those shots,'' said Cheney, who has seven international goals. ``It was nice, because I was tired, so I was like, `Thank goodness we got some cushion.'''
Goalkeeper Hope solo got her second shutout of the tournament.
The United States (3-0) has won the title six times in nine years and will be in its eighth straight Algarve final.
In other games, Norway beat Iceland 3-2 and Denmark defeated Finland 2-1.