U.S. Women to Face Finland on April 27 at Spartan Stadium; CyberRays Will Face Courage in First Game of Doubleheader
CHICAGO (Tuesday, February 19, 2002) — The United States Women’s National Team will play its second domestic game of 2002 on Saturday, April 27, against Finland at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif. (live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. PT). The USA-Finland clash will be a part of the first-ever U.S. Soccer-WUSA women’s doubleheader as the WUSA champion San Jose CyberRays take on the Carolina Courage at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Feb. 19, 2002
The U.S. Women have played three matches at Spartan Stadium and have yet to allow a goal, outscoring their opponents by a 16-0 margin (England in ’97, Argentina in ’98 and Brazil in ’00). In fact, the U.S. Women have never lost a game in the state of California. The USA has faced Finland eight times in their history, all victories, including a 6-0 thrashing in Kansas City, Mo., in front of 36,405 fans at Arrowhead Stadium, in a match played three months after the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final. Finland has struggled so far in its campaign to qualify for the 2003 Women’s World Cup and looks to have a difficult challenge on April 27 against a U.S. team stocked full of WUSA players gearing up for their club seasons.
In addition, the Americans will play in front of the always appreciative and vocal San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area soccer fans, who are riding high after enjoying championships from the CyberRays, the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) and the Santa Clara Broncos women’s team (NCAA) during the last year. The USA drew a sell-out crowd of 26,853 fans at Spartan Stadium in its last visit there on Sept. 1, 2000, a 4-0 victory over Brazil in the send-off match for the 2000 Olympics.
"The match against Finland will be very important for many players to get some international minutes as we head towards World Cup qualifying in the fall," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "Getting time in an international match is very different from a WUSA or college game and the opportunities to play for the USA are few and far between as compared to the mid-and-late nineties. We need to reduce the gaps between national team events as we will no longer have residency camps. These stand-alone matches during the WUSA season are critical for the coaches to evaluate performance."