April 2, 2011
LONDON - Former Cal State Fullerton women's soccer goalkeeper Karen Bardsley started and made five saves on Saturday (April 2) evening, helping the England Women's National Team to a historic, 2-1, upset of the top-ranked United States in an international friendly in front of 5,801 fans at Matchroom Stadium in London.
It was England's first win over the USA in 22 years, snapping an eight-match winless streak (0-7-1), as first-half goals from Jess Clarke in the eighth minute and Rachel Yankey in the 26th minute provided the winning margin for the Three Lions in the first-ever meeting between the two sides on English soil. It was the United States' first loss in a friendly match since 2004.
Bardsley was making her 12 career appearance for the England side, improving to 9-1-2 in those matches after making her senior team debut in 2009. She has also competed for England's U-19 and U-21 teams before making the jump to the senior women's national team. She helped the U-19 side to the semifinals of the 2004 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championships, playing in all 360 minutes of England's four matches, and appeared in the 2005 Algarve Cup, including posting a 4-0 shutout of Northern Ireland.
Former University of Portland standout Megan Rapinoe halved the deficit with her strike just before halftime in the 39th minute and the USA had a chance to tie midway through the second half as Rapinoe's corner wasn't cleared by the England defense, but Stephanie Cox's shot went over the bar. England, which held an 8-4 shot advantage in the first half, withstood increased pressure from the United States attack, which took 15 of the 17 shots in the second half.
Stateside, Bardsley will be one of two former Titans on opening-day Women's Professional Soccer rosters as she enters her third season with Sky Blue FC. In 14 career WPS matches, Bardsley is 6-4-4 with six shutouts, 64 saves, and a 0.81 goals against average while helping Sky Blue FC to the inaugural league title in 2009.
Kandace Wilson, who helped FC Gold Pride to the 2010 title before ceasing operations, will start the 2011 season on the roster of the Western New York Flash. She finished with a goal and an assist in the championship match -- her first career WPS strike -- to wrap up a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Independence.