WNT Hosts Brazil in First of Two Olympic Send-Off Matches in Denver on Sunday
After 20 games in six different countries and three U.S. states, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has two games remaining before the 2008 Olympics.
July 12, 2008
United States Women’s National Team
Notes from Commerce City, Colo.
July 12, 2008
TWO MATCHES LEFT BEFORE 2008 OLYMPICS: After 20 games in six different countries and three U.S. states, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has two games remaining before the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. team will play a pair of matches against rival Brazil in its final preparations before the Summer Games as the two countries who met in the 2004 Olympic gold medal match square off in Commerce City, Colo. and San Diego, Calif. The U.S. team has played just three domestic matches so far this year and 17 outside of the country, but will come home for the final run to Beijing. The USA has piled up a 19-0-1 record in 2008, which encompasses the tenure of U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. The USA has won four tournaments this year, taking the Four Nations Tournament in China in January, the Algarve Cup in March in Portugal, the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico in April and most recently the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea in June. These matches will be crucial Olympic preparation for both teams and no doubt heated and emotional matches, but neither side may show all it has to offer as the teams could meet against in China.
U.S. WNT Olympic Send-Off Matches
Date Opponent Venue City Kickoff / TV
July 13 Brazil Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Commerce City, Colo. 2 p.m. MT / ESPN
July 16 Brazil Torero Stadium San Diego, Calif. 7 p.m. PT / Fox Soccer Channel
WAMBACH ON 99: With two matches left before the 2008 Olympics, U.S. forward Abby Wambach is approaching a unique milestone. At 99 career goals in 125 games, Wambach’s prolific scoring rate – the best goals-to-game ratio in U.S. history in fact – puts her just one away from joining four other U.S. players in the 100 Goal Club. Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (129), Michelle Akers (105) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100) are four of eight players in the history of women’s soccer to score 100 or more international goals. Wambach scored her first-ever goal in 2002 against Finland and since then has averaged a goal every 90 minutes she has played for the WNT. For more info on Wambach’s Road to 100, check out this special piece on ussoccer.com.
NINE PLAYERS FROM 2004 GOLD MEDAL TEAM MAKE ROSTER FOR CHINA: The U.S. team has changed quite a bit from the squad that dramatically captured the gold medal in 2004, defeating Brazil in overtime of the gold medal game by a 2-1 score. Still, nine of those gold medalists made the 18-player roster for the 2008 Olympics: defenders Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, and Kate Markgraf, midfielders Shannon Boxx, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner, Angela Hucles and Heather O’Reilly and forward Abby Wambach. All but Mitts, Hucles and Wagner saw significant action in Greece, giving the USA a great base of Olympic experience. This will be the third Olympics for Rampone and Markgraf. The U.S. team will wear its Olympic numbers for the two matches against Brazil. As teams in the Olympics must be numbered 1-18, Abby Wambach moves from her very familiar 20 into 12, Amy Rodriguez will wear 8, Rachel Buehler will wear 4, Hope Solo gets the 1 jersey and Nicole Barnhart moves into 18.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): 4-Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 14-Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 13-Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.).
FORWARDS (3): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 8-Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), 12-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).
Brazil Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Barbara, 12-Andrea;
DEFENDERS (8): 2Jatoba, 4-Tania, 5-Andreia Rosa, 6-Rosana, 8-Juliana, 10-Erika, 13-Dani, 16-Daiane;
MIDFIELDERS (6): 3-Pitty, 7-Formiga, 9-Maicon, 14-Ester, 17-Francielle, 19-Renta Costa;
FORWARDS (4): 11-Pretinha, 15-Maurine, 18-Fabiana, 20-Raquel.
U.S. WNT Quote Sheet
U.S. forward Abby Wambach
On being on the verge of her 100th goal:
“I’ve been thinking about it, because I knew everyone would be asking me about it. I think it’s amazing the impact that it’s had on myself and maybe my team. I’ve seen a lot of countries and met a lot of people and I think about the amount of joy every single goal has brought not only to my life but also my teammates lives. I also just think about the company I’m in. I’m getting compared to Michelle Akers. I sort of don’t want to even be compared to her because it’s a bit surreal. She’s just up there in my book in terms of how dominant she was.”
On scoring goals and her journey to 100:
“If you ask Michelle Akers, if you ask Mia, if you ask Kristine Lilly, they would tell you the same thing, it’s just our nature. It’s our job. It’s what we do. I was running the other day and I was thinking that it’s amazing that I am actually participating in something that I was meant to do. Not many people can say that they have that in their life and I feel blessed that I do…but as far as the 100th goal, the sooner I get it over with, the better.”
On her memories of the Brazil match in the 2007 WWC:
“The first memory I have was that I just didn’t want to be on the field anymore. It was sheer embarrassment. We weren’t playing well, we were down a man, we conceded an own goal. Everything went wrong for us that day. Everything went right for Brazil. Brazil deserved to win that game, no questions asked. But do I think that if we had a chance for those same two teams to match up again, would the score be the same? I doubt it.”
EVERY JOURNEY BEGINS WITH THE FIRST GOAL: In April of 2002, in just her second match with the U.S. Women’s National Team, Abby Wambach scored her first-ever full international goal. That came in a year when she failed to make rosters earlier in the year for the Four Nations Tournament and the Algarve Cup. We look back at the match report from that day:
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Saturday, April 27, 2002) - In just her second match for the full U.S. Women's National Team and her first start, forward Abby Wambach scored her first career goal and picked up her first assist to lead the USA past Finland, 3-0, at Spartan Stadium in front of a boisterous doubleheader crowd of 11,990.
And then later…
Wambach opened the scoring after just seven minutes when midfielder Kristine Lilly blew by her defender on the left flank, turned the corner at the end line and played a crisp pass back to Wambach that was a half step behind her. The 5-11 striker smoothly collected the ball as she spun towards goal and smacked a hard shot into the left corner with her right foot from 10 yards out.
"Getting called into the national team is an honor in itself," said Wambach. "I think when you get called in, you're asked to perform at a certain level. Today, among other days, I feel like I performed pretty well and hopefully it will give us a big boost going into qualifying later this year."
Now, more than six years later, Wambach says of her first goal:
“Never did I think six years later that I’d be on the verge of 100.”
OPPONENT CAPSULE: Brazil
Current FIFA World Ranking: 4
Overall Record vs. USA: 2-20-2
Last Meeting vs. USA: June 17 in Suwon, South Korea (a 1-0 U.S. victory at the Peace Queen Cup)
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos
Key Players: G Barbara, D Tania, D Erika, D, Daiane, M Maicon, M Formiga, M Ester, M Renta Costa, F Pretinha, F Maurine.
USA vs. BRAZIL Fast Facts: This will be the second meeting between the USA and Brazil since the USA’s crushing loss in the 2007 Women’s World Cup semifinal, a match in which the USA scored an own goal and saw Shannon Boxx sent off at the end of the first half … The USA won the most recent meeting at the 2008 Peace Queen Cup, by a 1-0 score as Amy Rodriguez pounded home an opportunistic finish at the end of the first half … That win was against an under-strength Brazilian team that was missing all of their top European-based players including 2007 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta, who is in Sweden playing for her club team Umea … Brazil lost its captain Aline in the match against the USA in Korea to an apparent serious knee injury … She is not on the roster for these matches and rumor is that she is out of the Olympics … Forward’s Marta and Cristiane and midfielder Daniela will not be at these two matches as all three are currently playing for their Swedish clubs, but otherwise Brazil’s first team comes to America … Brazil is coming to the USA from Canada, where it tied the Canadians 1-1 on July 10 … Christine Sinclair scored for Canada and Erika scored for Brazil … Brazil has six foreign-based players on its roster … Five of Brazil’s players play for the famed Santos FC club (where Pele got his start) … Brazil has 11 players from its 2007 Women’s World Cup Team (the USA has 12), but also has some very young players with two 18-year-olds on the roster …Brazil finished third in Group B at the Peace Queen Cup, defeating Italy, 2-1, but losing to the USA and Australia by 1-0 scores … Brazil’s two goals against Italy in its first PQC game came from 20-year-old Erika and 22-year-old Maurine … Brazil was the final team to qualify for the 2008 Olympics, defeating Ghana 5-1 in a playoff match in Beijing on April 19 … Marta scored one goal in that match, Cristiane had two and Rosana and Aline also added scores … Brazil was forced into the playoff due to a stumble in qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which also served to give Argentines South America’s automatic berth to Beijing … Brazil lost to Argentina for the first time ever in the final of that qualifying tournament … Brazil’s win over the USA at the 2007 WWC broke the USA’s 14-game unbeaten streak against the Brazilians dating back to 1998, 13 of which were wins with one tie ... Since 2000, the USA and Brazil have played 11 times and they’ve all been either blowouts (4-0 and 5-1 U.S. wins and a 4-0 Brazil win) or very close games (five one-goal wins for the USA, one draw and two two-goal wins) … Seven players on Brazil’s roster played against the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team in the Third-Place Match at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia, a game won on penalty kicks by Brazil as GK Barbara saved two U.S. kicks in a shootout that went eight kickers deep.
U.S. WNT Quick Hits:
- Natasha Kai’s 11 goals this year make her the 11th player in U.S. history to score in double figures in a calendar year and Lindsay Tarpley, with 10 goals, becomes the 12th, but of course, Mia Hamm did it eight times and Tiffeny Milbrett accomplished the feat four times
- Abby Wambach’s 10th goal of the year, which came against Australia on June 15, gave her four 10-plus goal-scoring years in her career. She now leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists
- Lindsay Tarpley, at 98 career caps, is will most like be the next U.S. player to reach 100 caps, but Shannon Boxx has 95 and Heather O’Reilly has 92
- Tarpley’s 27 goals puts her tied for 13th on the USA’s all-time scoring list
- Since returning from her year-long rehabilitation from knee surgery against Australia on April 27, Heather Mitts has started all nine games the USA has played and played 669 minutes, sitting out just 174 minutes of those nine matches
- Christie Rampone and Abby Wambach lead the USA in minutes played this year with 1642 as both have started 19 of the 20 matches. Carli Lloyd is the only other player to start all 20 games
- Christie Rampone (195) and Kate Markgraf (183) are 6th and 8th on the U.S. all-time caps list respectively, making them the most capped players on the U.S. roster. Markgraf moved past Shannon MacMillan with her start against Australia on April 27. They are 6th and 10th overall respectively on the all-time caps list in the history of women’s international soccer
- There will only be two rest days between matches at the 2008 Olympics, making for six matches in 16 days for the teams that make it to the medal matches.
FIRST MATCH AT DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK: The U.S. Women’s National Team has played just one match in its history in Colorado, that coming after the 1999 Women’s World Cup, ironically also against Brazil. That match was played on Sept. 26 of that year in the old Mile High Stadium, a 5-0 U.S. win. This will be first-ever match for a U.S. Soccer National Team at the spectacular Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone (then Kate Sobrero and Christie Pearce) are the lone holdovers on the U.S. team who played in that last match in Denver. Both played the full 90 minutes. The USA has not played a match at altitude yet this year, but since the USA’s matches in the Olympics will be played practically at sea level, that will not an issue. Denver is 5280 feet above sea level and both teams may struggle a bit with the elevation.
HOME SWEET HOME: The U.S. Women’s National Team carries a 29-game home unbeaten streak into the match in Commerce City, Colo. The USA has not lost at home since Nov. 6, 2004, a 3-1 setback to Denmark. Since the end of 2004 Olympics, the U.S. women have lost just two matches, one to the Danes and the other in the semifinal of the 2007 Women’s World Cup to Brazil. The overall record since winning the gold in Athens is 73-2-11.
Stat of Note
The USA has three players in double-figures in goals in Abby Wambach (13), Natasha Kai (11) and Lindsay Tarpley (10). Carli Lloyd has seven goals. If she can get three more, 2008 will mark just the second time in U.S. history that four players will have scored in double-figures for a calendar year. Five player did it in 2000, but the USA played a record 41 games that year.