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Aly Wagner

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USA vs. Germany: Here We Go Again

One of the world’s greatest women’s soccer rivalries resumes on Thursday, Oct. 29, as the U.S. meets Germany at the new Implus Arena in Augsburg, Germany.

The match is already sold-out as more than 29,000 fans will pack the stadium in the first international match played at the venue. It will also be the biggest crowd ever at Impuls, as the German Second Division team that plays there, FC Augsburg, has yet to fill it up during its inaugural season in its new home.

It will be an environment worthy of the two titanic adversaries, who are certainly the two most successful nations in the relatively short history of women’s international soccer. The USA has won two Women’s World Cup titles and three Olympic gold medals, plus two youth Women’s World Cup titles. Germany has won two Women’s World Cup titles, five straight European championships and one youth Women’s World Cup.

The Germans will try to make it three World Cup titles in a row come 2011 on their home soil during a tournament in which they will be heavily favored. For now, the two teams will write a new chapter in their historic rivalry in what is surely the biggest women’s international friendly of the year.

While the USA holds a 16-4-4 all-time record against the Germans, which includes two wins over the former West Germany, there have been several epic encounters in the history between the teams. ussoccer.com takes a look back at our top-five USA-Germany games in history, in chronological order:

Nov. 27, 1991 – Guangzhou, China (5-2 Win)
The first big match the teams played came in the semifinal of the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Germany came in as the favorite but was stunned, 5-2, by the upstart Americans as Carin Gabarra scored a hat trick and April Heinrichs added two goals. The USA would use that momentum to win the first-ever World Cup, 2-1, against Norway in the championship game.

It would be eight more years until the teams would meet again in World Cup action, but when they did, it was one of the most dramatic games in U.S. history.

July 1, 1999 – Landover, Md. (3-2 Win)
The USA was riding a wave of patriotic pride in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup when they entered the quarterfinal match at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Maryland. With President Clinton in the stands and a crowd of more than 54,000 whipped into a frenzy, disaster struck just five minutes into the match when a miscommunication between goalkeeper Briana Scurry and defender Brandi Chastain led to Chastain passing the ball into her own net.

The USA would battle back and just 11 minutes later, Tiffeny Milbrett pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and drove it home to tie the game. It looked as if the game would go to halftime tied at 1-1 when legendary German midfielder Bettina Wiegmann hit a blistering drive one minute into stoppage time. The Germans jogged to the locker room with the lead and perhaps a tremendous psychological advantage.

But this was a U.S. team, as history would eventually make clear, that was mentally tough to the highest degree. Just four minutes into the second half, Chastain atoned for her miscue, slapping her curling shot off the left post and in after a goal box scramble. The match was tied at 2-2.

Game on.

The winning goal, one of the most historic for the U.S. women, came in the 66th minute on the first touch of the match from Shannon MacMillan. Subbed in for Julie Foudy before a corner kick, she raced over to serve the ball and drilled a cross straight to the near post where defender Joy Fawcett powerfully re-directed the ball into the net past the leaping German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg. A locker room visit from the President, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea was a just reward for such a scintillating match.

Oct. 5, 2003 – Portland, Ore. (0-3 Loss)
With the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup organized in the United States after being moved from China due to the SARS scare, the Americans had the chance to recapture just a small part of the magic they had created four years earlier, but that all came crashing down on a chilly night at PGE Park in Portland.

In the semifinal, the Germans took a 1-0 lead after a corner kick led to a header from towering midfielder Kerstin Garefrekes in the 15th minute and now it was up to the Americans to chase the game. And chase they did. Tiffeny Milbrett came on in the 70th minute and was later denied what looked to be a clear penalty when she was taken down at the top of the penalty box by Rottenberg, but there was no call from referee Sonia Denoncourt.

The Germans held down the fort with tremendous organization and at the end of the game, the Americans went to three backs, throwing everything forward. In clinical fashion, the German counter-attack produced two goals in second half stoppage time to put the match away and the USA was relegated to the third-place game where they would later defeat Canada by a 3-1 score. The win for Germany would launch them to the first of two straight Women’s World Cup titles.

Aug. 23, 2004 – Heraklio, Greece (2-1 Win in OT)
A semifinal of a major tournament was once again the stage for a USA-Germany clash. The U.S., playing some excellent soccer, was in control for the entire match, but Kristine Lilly’s smartly struck shot in the 33rd minute was the only goal the USA could manage. Still, as the match headed into stoppage time in the second half, it seemed the U.S. would gut out the win. Germany had other ideas. Isabell Bachor dramatically tied the game in the 92nd minute on a fluky goal that deflected off the hip of Joy Fawcett and the match was headed to overtime.

Heather O’Reilly, then just 19 years old, had entered in the 75th minute. She would be the main protagonist in overtime. Just minutes into the first extra time period, she used her speed to beat the German goalkeeper to a ball, rounded her and had an open net to shoot at, albeit from a sharp angle. The ball hit the post and bounced away.

In one of the most impressive feats of putting the past behind you, just minutes later O’Reilly made a darting run to the six yard box as Mia Hamm turned the right corner past a defender and slotted a ball back into the seam. O’Reilly ran through the ball and sliced her shot into the lower left corner for what would be the winning goal.

The Americans held on for the last 21 minutes to earn a berth in the Olympic Final, where they would stun Brazil 2-1 on yet another overtime goal, this one from Abby Wambach.

March 15, 2006 – Faro, Portugal (0-0 T, 3-4 in Penalty Kicks)
The USA had defeated Germany the year before in the Algarve Cup Final by a 1-0 score, but only because of a counter attack goal and some brilliant play from Hope Solo, who was just coming into her own. The goal came off a brilliant pass from Aly Wagner that was finished on a second chance from Christie Welsh after her first shot had rebounded off the goalkeeper, but it was the Germans who forced their will on the Americans that night.

Not so one year later, as the USA dominated the Germans in the 2006 Algarve Cup Final, out-shooting them 16-9 and earning 13 corner kicks to Germany’s three with some wonderful attacking play over 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime.

Unfortunately for the U.S., German goalkeeper Rottenberg (a frequent antagonist in this matchup) was in world class form, pulling off a handful of spectacular saves to get her team to penalty kicks.

In the first half Wagner spun a shot just wide left from 14 yards out in the 15th minute while Rottenberg swept a ball off the charging Wambach’s feet in the 22nd minute. The USA then hammered two shots off the crossbar in a span of five minutes. Wagner drilled a shot off the bar at the upper left corner and four minutes later Carli Lloyd cranked a 30-yarder with her left foot off the crossbar at almost the same spot that Wagner tattooed.

Right at the end of the half, the USA caught Germany by surprise on a quickly taken free kick that saw Wagner play Lilly into the right side of the penalty area. The U.S. captain cut towards the near post and found Lloyd perfectly in the slot, but her shot was blocked by a defender and bounced out for a corner kick.

That’s pretty much how the game went for the USA, with the Americans just barely misfiring or Rottenberg acrobatically tipping away shots. The match was physical, but not dirty, with 31 total fouls being called as each team went at the other hard. The Germans, who were fortunate to get to penalties, did take care of business in the shootout.

Wagner, Whitehill and Lilly converted for the USA, but Shannon Boxx and Wambach missed the second and fourth penalty kick attempts while the Germans took four excellent spot kicks with the final kick from Petra Wimbersky ending the match.

--

What will transpire on the field in Augsburg on Oct. 29 no one knows. But if history is any indication, the fans at Impuls Arena should be ready for a wild and entertaining 90 minutes.


U.S. Women Charge Back with 1-0 Victory vs. Japan in Second Match of Olympics

QUIHUANGDAO, China (August 9, 2008) — The United States Women's Olympic Team rode a Carli Lloyd goal and a solid defensive effort to a 1-0 victory against Japan in the second match of Group G action at the 2008 Olympic Games.

With the shutout win, the U.S. secured a vital three points as they seek a place in the knockout phase, moving into second place in Group G behind leaders Norway. The top two finishers in each of the three groups advance to the second round along with two best third-place finishers based on points.

"I am very happy about our performance today against a very technical, talented Japan team," said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. "Besides a great goal by Carli Lloyd, I am very happy about our tactics with a fast player up top, Amy Rodriguez, and the way Heather O'Reilly played on the right side. But the bottom line is that it is the team that won today."

The U.S. will close out group action against New Zealand on Tuesday, Aug. 12, in Shenyang. Kickoff is set for 7:45 a.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on MSNBC and the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel. Fans can also follow along live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

The U.S. set a frenetic pace to open the contest, looking much more composed at the outset than in their opening match of the 2008 Games against Norway. The combination of tight organization and quick ball movement kept the Japanese under pressure from the opening whistle. The U.S. outshot Japan 18-9 on the night, while Hope Solo earned her first Olympic clean sheet in her second start.

The U.S. attack created its first opportunity in the eighth minute thanks to a nice passing exchange. Lindsay Tarpley played a lovely diagonal switch to O’Reilly on the right flank, who beat her marker to the endline. Her cross was narrowly cleared by a sliding Japanese defender as Angela Hucles lurked on the back post. Less than a minute later, Tarpley took a crack on her own, forcing her way through two defenders and ripping a left-footer from 20 yards that goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto did well to smother.

Japan’s first good chance came at the quarter-hour, and it was nearly trouble. Mizuho Sakaguchi received a pass inside the area and smacked a low drive that just skimmed by the far post.

The U.S. continued to press the game, seeking to exploit their speed on both flanks with quick passes played forward into space. Both Rodriguez – making her first Olympic start – and O’Reilly worked tirelessly throughout the night to keep the Japanese on their heels with their willingness to take on defenders.

Japan got another good look at the midway point of the first half when veteran Homare Sawa found space at the left corner of the box. Spying the far post, she tried to a curl a shot to upper corner, but Solo calmly rose to tip the ball over the bar.

The decisive moment came in the 27th minute as the result of hustle from the U.S. team. Tarpley fought for possession near the midfield stripe and played a through ball to Stephanie Cox, who had overlapped from the left back position. Cox raced to the endline and hit a left-footed cross towards the top of the box. The ball bounced past a defender and found Lloyd at the top of the box. Lloyd stepped up and unleashed a wicked half volley that sailed above Fukumoto and rippled the back of the net. The goal was Lloyd’s 18th in her international career and her first in Olympic play.

The pace mellowed a bit around the 30-minute mark as the heat and humidity began taking its toll, but both sides still probed for opportunities. In the 33rd minute, Yuki Nagasoto penetrated the U.S. penalty area by getting past Kate Markgraf. She slotted a ball across the six-yard box that appeared to be dangerous, but the U.S. defense stood well positioned and the effort skipped harmlessly through.

Just three minutes before the halftime whistle, the U.S. nearly broke through again. From near the center circle, Hucles started a quick counter by slipping a through ball between the Japanese defense and sending Rodriguez racing through towards goal. Charging into the box, she tried to pick out the far post but the Japanese ‘keeper stood her ground to thwart the attempt.

The second half began a bit more measured for the U.S. as Japan came out pressing for the equalizer. The U.S. did well to absorb the early pressure and shortly snatched the momentum.

Shannon Boxx – who traded moments of getting forward with her midfielder partner Lloyd - got a pair of chances three minutes apart. In the 56th minute, she took a first-time strike from the top of the area, only to see the well-struck effort keep rising over the Japanese goal. Three minutes later, she made a quick turn 25 yards out and slammed a left footer towards the near post that forced a diving save from Fukumoto.

The U.S. looked in control through the middle phase of the half, denying Japan a good look at goal while patiently seeking out counter-attacking opportunities in search of an insurance goal. They had a golden chance to double the lead in the 80th minute when O’Reilly delivered a penetrating pass to Rodriguez near the top right corner of the area. She fought off her defender and earned a clear look at goal. With the ‘keeper off her line, she let go a curling shot destined for the far post, but the ball bent agonizingly wide.

With minutes remaining, Japan turned up the heat as they probed for the equalizer. In the 88th minute, Shinobu Ohno beat three U.S. markers and dribbled to the endline. Her delivery into the six-yard box found Karina Maruyama first to the ball, but U.S. captain Christie Rampone bodied the Japanese attacker enough to force an off balance header that fell wide. Rampone earned her 199th international cap in the victory.

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT

Match-up: USA vs. Japan
Competition: 2008 Olympics
Venue: Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium; Qinhuangdao, China
Date: August 9, 2008; Kickoff – 5:00 p.m. local / 5:00 a.m. ET
Attendance: 16,912
Weather: Hazy, Humid, 78 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                1     2     F
USA        1     0     1
JPN         0     0     0

USA – Carli Lloyd (Stephanie Cox) 27th minute.

Lineups:
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts, 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt.,14-Stephanie Cox (4-Rachel Buehler, 83); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (13-Tobin Heath, 73); 16-Angela Hucles, 8-Amy Rodriguez (6-Natasha Kai, 86)
Subs not used: 1-Nicole Barnhart,10-Aly Wagner, 12-Lauren Cheney, 17-Lori Chalupny
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

JPN: 1-Miho Fukumoto; 2-Yukari Kinga, 3-Hiromi Ikeda (9-Eriko Arakawa, 82) 4-Azusa Iwashimizu, 7-Kozue Ando (12-Karina Maruyama, 62); 5-Miyuki Yanagita, 8-Aya Miyama, 10-Homare Sawa, 15-Mizuho Sakaguchi (13-Ayumi Hara, 65); 17-Yuki Nagasato, 11-Shinobu Ohno.
Subs not used: 6-Tomoe Kato,14-Kyoko Yano, 16-Rumi Utsugi, 18-Ayumi Kaihori
Head Coach: Norio Sasaki

Statistical Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 18/9
Shots on Goal: 6/4
Saves: 4/5
Corner Kicks: 9/4
Fouls: 7/6
Offside: 5/2

Misconduct Summary:
JPN – Homare Sawa (caution) 74th minute.

Officials:
Referee: Pannipar Kamnueng (THA)
Asst. Referee: Widiya Shamsuri (MAS)
Asst. Referee: Ja Daw Kaw (MYA)
4th Official: Christine Beck(GER)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

2008 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament Standings
Group G
Team     W     L     T     Pts    GF    GA GD
NOR      2       0     0     6         3     0     +3
USA       1       1     0     3        1      2     -1
NZL        0       1    1     1         2     3      -1
JPN        0       1     1     1        2     3      -1

Aug. 6
Japan 2, New Zealand 2
Norway 2, USA 0

Aug. 9
USA 1, Japan 0
New Zealand 0, Norway 1

Aug. 12
Norway vs. Japan, 7:45 a.m. ET
USA vs. New Zealand, 7:45 a.m. ET

Group E
Team     W     L     T     Pts    GF    GA GD
CAN       1     0      1     4         3       2    +1
CHN       1     0      1     4         3       2    +1
SWE       1    1       0     3         2       2     0
ARG       0     2      0     0         1       3    -2

Aug. 6
Argentina 1, Canada 2
China 2, Sweden 1

Aug. 9
Sweden 1, Argentina 0
Canada 1, China 1

Aug. 12
China vs. Argentina, 7:45 a.m. ET
Sweden vs. Canada, 7:45 a.m. ET

Group F
Team     W     L     T     Pts    GF    GA GD
BRA        1     0     1     4         2        1     +1
GER        1     0     1     4         1        0   +1
PRK        1     1     0     3         2        2    0
NGA       0     2     0     0         0         2    -2

Aug. 6
Germany 0, Brazil 0
North Korea 1, Nigeria 0

Aug. 9
Nigeria 0, Germany 1
Brazil 2, North Korea 1

Aug. 12
North Korea vs. Germany, 5 a.m. ET
Nigeria vs. Brazil, 5 a.m. ET

Norway Scores Twice Early, U.S. Women Lose in 2008 Olympic Opener

QINHUANGDAO, China (Aug. 6, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Team fell to Norway, 2-0, in the first match for both teams at the 2008 Olympics as the Europeans stunned the U.S. with two goals in the first five minutes. The Americans pushed to pull a goal back in the second half, but an organized Norwegian side held on for the victory on a hot and steamy night at the Qinhuangdao Sports Center Stadium.

The loss was just the second-ever for the U.S. women in the Olympics, with the only other loss also coming to Norway in the 2000 Olympic Final in Sydney, Australia.

Norway sits atop Group G with three points. Japan came back from a two-goal deficit to tie New Zealand, 2-2, creating a tie for second place with one point each. The USA will face Japan next in a critical match on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 5 a.m. ET live on USA Network and the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel.

"My glass is always half full. For us, it is a new experience to lose a game and the fact we tried to turn around and create some chances in the second half is positive,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage, who suffers her first loss as the U.S. head coach. “I'm happy that this is the first game and not the last. We still have two more games to go. We will take the good part of the second half going forward to play against Japan and New Zealand.”

Norway’s dream start came in the second minute. After Christie Rampone cleared away a long throw in, Norway captain Ane Stangeland Horpestad swung in a looping cross from the left wing. Lori Chalupny was good position to try to win the header, but U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo charged off her line and collided with Chalupny as Leni Larsen Kaurin got her head to the ball, popping it over both U.S. players and into the empty net.

Two minutes later Norway scored again. The goal came after Kate Markgraf played a back pass from the right sideline into the middle of the field, but hit it too softly, and it was picked off in stride by Melissa Wiik who dribbled into the penalty area and curved a fantastic shot inside the left post around Solo.

After a few early build-ups and corner kicks, the best chance for the U.S. in the first half came in the 26th minute and was created by midfielder Heather O’Reilly. With the U.S. pressing, O’Reilly dribbled to the end line and cut back a pass that deflected to Carli Lloyd, who touched the ball forward to Angela Hucles, but her curling shot flew over the crossbar.

In the 15th minute, Sundhage was forced to make her first substitution as Chalupny departed the match due to a blow to the side of her head in the collision with Solo on the first goal. She was replaced by Stephanie Cox.

In the second half, Norway was content to sit back and counter-attack while the U.S. picked up the pressure, eventually firing 20 shots during the game. Norway’s best chance of the second half came in the 49th minute off a free-kick that Marit Christensen flicked just wide of Solo’s right post.

Forward Amy Rodriguez came on at halftime replacing Lindsay Tarpley and helped the U.S. build numerous attacks through the final 45 minutes, but the Americans struggled to solve Norway’s defense with the final pass. In the 61st minute, forward Natasha Kai put a shot over the bar from a tight angle and in the 78th Lloyd had a pair of chances denied after her first shot came back to her off a defender.

The USA also had two good chances in stoppage time, the first when Hucles hit a blast from outside of the area that would have dipped into the net if not for a great leaping save from Erika Skarbøe. A minute later, Lloyd’s strike from nearly the same spot went just wide of the post.

This was the 44th meeting in a rivalry that dates to 1987, with Norway having more success against the U.S. than any other team. Going into the match the U.S. had won the 10 previous meetings dating to 2002, and the win was the 19th in the series for the Scandinavian side.

The game marked the first Olympic appearances for Solo, Chalupny, Lloyd, Kai, Cox, Rodriguez and Tobin Heath, who came on late in the game for Cox. It was also the first Olympic starts for Hucles and O’Reilly. Chalupny is listed as day-to-day for the USA’s next match against Japan.

In other Olympic action, Germany and Brazil played to a 0-0 tie in a rematch of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. The hosts China were also victorious, surprising No. 3-ranked Sweden 2-1, and are tied for first in Group F with Canada who were 2-1 winners against Argentina.

- U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT -

Match-up: USA vs. Norway
Competition: 2008 Olympics
Venue: Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium; Qinhuangdao, China
Date: August 6, 2008; Kickoff – 7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET
Attendance: 17,673
Weather: Hazy, Humid, 83 degrees

Scoring Summary:    1    2    F
USA                                0   0   0
NOR                               2   0   2

NOR – Leni Larsen Kaurin (Ane Stangeland Horpestad)    2nd minute.
NOR – Melissa Wiik                                                                     4.

Lineups:
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts, 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 17-Lori Chalupny (14-Stephanie Cox, 15, 13-Tobin Heath, 78); 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (8-Amy Rodriguez); 16-Angela Hucles, 6-Natasha Kai
Subs: 4-Rachel Buehler, 10-Aly Wagner, 12-Lauren Cheney, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

NOR: 1-Erika Skarbøe; 2-Ane Stangeland Horpestad – Capt., 3-Gunhild Følstad, 7-Trine Rønning, 12-Marit Christensen; 4-Ingvild Stensland, 6-Marie Knutsen (5-Siri Nordby, 88’), 13-Lene Storløkken; 10-Melissa Wiik (17-Lene Mykjåland, 69’), 8-Solveig Gulbrandsen, 11-Leni Larsen Kaurin (14-Guro Knutsen, 67’)
Subs:, 9-Isabell Herlovsen, 15-Marita Skammelsrud Lund, 16-Elise Thorsnes, 18-Christine Nilsen
Head Coach: Bjarne Berntsen

Statistical Summary: USA / NOR
Shots:                                  20 / 12
Shots on Goal:                   11 / 6
Saves:                                   6 / 8
Corner Kicks:                       4 / 1
Fouls:                                  12 / 11
Offside:                                  2 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
None.

Officials
Referee: Nicole Petignat (SUI)
Asst. Referee: Cristini Cini (ITA)
Asst. Referee: Karine Vives Solana (FRA)
4th Official: Dagmar Damkova (CZE)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Christie Rampone

2008 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament Standings
Group G
Team  W L  T   Pts GF GA GD
NOR   1   0  0   3     2     0   +2
NZL     0   0 1   1      2     2    0
JPN     0   0 1   1      2     2    0
USA     0  1  0   0      0     2   -2

Aug. 6
Japan 2, New Zealand 2
Norway 2 USA 0

Aug. 9
USA vs. Japan, 5 a.m.. ET
New Zealand vs. Norway, 7:45 a.m. ET

Aug. 12
Norway vs. Japan, 7:45 a.m. ET
USA vs. New Zealand, 7:45 a.m. ET

Group E
Team  W  L   T Pts GF GA  GD
CAN     1   0   0    3    2    1   +1
CHN    1    0  0    3     2    1   +1
SWE    0    1  0    0    1     2    -1
ARG     0   1   0    0    1    2     -1

Aug. 6
Argentina 1, Canada 2
China 2, Sweden 1

Aug. 9
Sweden vs. Argentina, 5 a.m. ET
Canada vs. China, 7:45 a.m. ET

Aug. 12
China vs. Argentina, 7:45 a.m. ET
Sweden vs. Canada, 7:45 a.m. ET

Group F
Team   W     L     T    Pts  GF  GA   GD
PRK     1       0     0      3     1     0     +1
BRA      0      0     1      1      0    0       E
GER      0      0     1     1      0     0      E
NGA      0      1      0     0      0     1     -1

Aug. 6
Germany 0, Brazil 0
North Korea 1, Nigeria 0

Aug. 9
Nigeria vs. Germany, 5 a.m. ET
Brazil vs. North Korea, 7:45 a.m. ET

Aug. 12
North Korea vs. Germany, 5 a.m. ET
Nigeria vs. Brazil, 5 a.m. ET

Kai Scores Late Header to Give U.S. Women 1-0 Win Over Brazil; Top Scorer Abby Wambach Breaks Leg and is Out of the Olympics

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (July 16, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Brazil, 1-0, on a 85th minute goal from forward Natasha Kai in front of a sell-out standing-room-only crowd of 7,502.

The win also featured a loss for the U.S. team, as top scorer Abby Wambach broke her leg in a 31st minute collision with Brazilian defender Andreia Rosa. The two players went hard into a tackle and the Brazilian caught Wambach with a full swing flush in the middle of her lower leg.

Wambach went down in a heap and immediately called for medical attention. The match was stopped for about five minutes as an air cast was put around her leg and she was loaded onto a stretcher. Wambach was taken to the hospital where X-rays confirmed a mid-oblique fracture of her tibia and fibula, the bones that make up the lower leg. The USA’s leading scorer this year with 13 goals and 10 assists will undergo surgery tomorrow to have a rod inserted in her leg and will be out approximately 12 weeks.

Despite losing one of its leaders, the U.S. team continued to press Brazil and the back line held the South Americans to just one shot on goal during the entire game. The U.S. had just three shots on goal, but the final one was the game-winner.

Kai entered the match the 56th minute and would bag the winning goal just five minutes from the end of the game. The goal came from a free-kick just outside the penalty area on the right side, just a few yards from the end line.

Lloyd chipped a cross into the middle and Kai got inside position on her defender before pounding a header down into the net from just inside the six-yard box. It was Kai’s 12th goal of the year and 20th of her international career.

“So many things happened in this game, and I’ve very happy with the way we ended the game with that great goal, a beautiful goal,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “(Scoring a winning goal late in the game) has happened to this team so many times. There is something about this team that is ‘winning.’ It’s late in the game and they create chances and all of a sudden you get the big goals.”

The match marked the USA’s second straight 1-0 victory over Brazil after winning 1-0 on July 13 in Commerce City, Colo. on a goal from Amy Rodriguez, who got the start tonight in San Diego and played the entire 90 minutes while causing problems for the Brazilian all night defense with her speed and quickness.

Wambach had two early chances to get what would have been her 100th career goal. In just the fourth minute, she got behind the Brazilian defense in the left side of the penalty area, but her sliding shot bounced just past the right post. She also rounded Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara a few minutes later in the left side of the box, but her angle was too sharp to take a shot. She cut back inside and Barbara dove at her feet, sending Wambach sprawling.

The U.S. out-shot Brazil 12-5 for the game with Lloyd getting several nice cracks at goal from distance during the match, but the Brazilian goalkeepers made solid catches on each. Lori Chalupny had a good look at goal in the first half after she ran onto a deflected ball in box, but her left-footed shot went just wide from 16 yards.

Brazil’s best chance came in the 58th minute as Maicon hit a nice drive from the top of the penalty box after the USA had cleared a corner kick, but it flew a few yards wide of the upper left corner.

The match marked the 100th career appearance for Lindsay Tarpley, who earned her first cap at Torero Stadium in 2003 against Japan. She captained the team for the first 56 minutes before being replaced by Kai. Tarpley became the 21st female player in U.S. history to play 100 or more times for her country.

The win sends the U.S. to the Beijing Olympics with a 21-0-1 record in 2008. The U.S. team will have a few days off before departing for China on July 23. A replacement for Wambach will be named in the next few days.

The U.S. opens its 2008 Olympics on Aug. 6 against Norway in at the Olympic Sports Center in Qinhuangdao (7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET). The U.S. will continue Group G play against Japan on Aug. 9, also in Qinhuangdao (5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET), before finishing the first-round against New Zealand on Aug. 12 at the Olympics Sports Center in Shenyang (7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET).

- U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT -

Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Torero Stadium; San Diego, Calif.
Date: July 16, 2008; Kickoff – 7 p.m. PT
Attendance: 7,502 (Sell Out)
Weather: Cool, clear – 71 degrees

Scoring Summary:
           1   2   F
USA   0   1   1
BRA   0   0   0

USA – Natasha Kai (Carli Lloyd) 85th minute.

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 17-Lori Chalupny, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt, 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts; 7-Shannon Boxx, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (6-Natasha Kai, 56), 11-Carli Lloyd (10-Aly Wagner, 86); 8-Amy Rodriguez, 12-Abby Wambach (16-Angela Hucles, 38).
Subs not used: 4-Rachel Buehler, 13-Tobin Heath, 14-Stephanie Cox, 18-Nicole Barnhart.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

BRA: 1-Barbara (12-Andrea, 46); 2-Jatoba, 4-Tania, 5-Andreia Rosa (20-Raquel, 88), 6-Rosana (13-Dani, 66); 7-Formiga, 9-Maicon, 14-Ester; 11-Pretinha (15-Maurine, 46), 18-Fabiana (17-Francielle, 76).
Subs not used: 3-Pitty, 8-Juliana, 16-Daiane
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos

Statistical Summary:
USA / BRA
Shots: 12 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 1
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Fouls: 9 / 18
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Heather Mitts (caution) 9th minute.
BRA – Maicon (caution) 26.
BRA -- Renata Costa (caution) 29.
BRA – Daiane (caution) 49.

Officials
Referee: Jen Bennett (USA)
Asst. Referee: Felisha Mariscal (USA)
Asst. Referee: Shirin Nikpournezhati (USA)
4th Official: Bing Kongmebhol (USA)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Natasha Kai

U.S. Women Edge Brazil 1-0 in First Game of Two Before the Olympics

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (July 13, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team defeated Brazil, 1-0, on a 71st minute goal from 21-year-old forward Amy Rodriguez in front of an appreciative crowd of 15,071 on a sweltering day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

With on-field temperatures hitting 100 degrees, the U.S. team put together an excellent overall performance against a talented Brazilian side, out-shooting the South Americans 19-10 while putting 11 shots on goal to Brazil’s four.

“I said at halftime to take the chance and keep possession,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “You feel like you are under pressure, but (the U.S.) is such a good team that we can keep possession under pressure and let them run instead. I think we did that in the second half. The fact that we were more patient, kept possession in the midfield and in the back, and at the same time we had A-Rod up top. That was the difference in the second half.”

Rodriguez came on at halftime replacing Natasha Kai and immediately gave the USA an offensive spark, the high point being her fifth international goal 26 minutes into the second half.

The scoring sequence came about after the U.S. team dug a ball out of a scramble on the left wing. Substitute Tobin Heath played a short pass to Abby Wambach on the wing, and Abby spun a cross through the penalty area on the ground. The ball skipped through the legs of a Brazilian defender and took a slight deflection right into the path of Rodriguez, who crushed a rising shot into the roof of the net at the near post from 10 yards out. Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara got a hand on it but couldn’t turn the blast over the goal frame.

It was the second time this year that Rodriguez has scored the winning goal against Brazil. Her 41st minute strike on June 17 in Suwon, South Korea at the Peace Queen Cup gave the USA that 1-0 win over Brazil.

Both teams played much better this afternoon than they did during the encounter in South Korea, but in the first half, both countries struggled to produce quality scoring chances.

The USA managed to create two dangerous opportunities and Kai was involved in both of them. In the 17th minute, Kai got into the penalty area on the right side but didn’t get enough on her shot, and it was saved by Brazilian goalkeeper Andrea with a drive to her right.

In the 35th minute, Carli Lloyd fired a shot from distance that bounced off Andrea’s chest. Kai was able to get to the rebound first and took a touch by the Brazilian goalkeeper to the end line, but with Wambach open in the middle, her cross was too soft and it was cleared out for a corner kick by a retreating defender.

Brazil’s best chance of the first half came through Pretinha in stoppage time but she had two defenders on her hips and could only toe-poke the ball a few yards outside the left post.

Despite the oppressive heat and high altitude, the U.S. was able to play some quality, rhythmical soccer in the second half, and the defense was rock solid while keeping the crafty Brazilians in front even as they probed for an equalizer in the last 15 minutes. Most of Brazil’s shots came from distance and didn’t trouble the U.S. ‘keepers.

Just before the goal, a U.S. free kick was sent deep to the left post but kept in bounds and knocked back across the goal mouth by Wambach. The ball was falling onto Rodriguez’ left boot before a Brazilian defender headed it away.

In the 77the minute, Lloyd popped free in the left side of the box but her shot rattled the top of the near post from a tight angle.

Under the blazing sun, both teams used all of their allowed seven substitutions. Sundhage emptied her bench in the second half, making four changes at halftime and three more during the second half. Both teams changed goalkeepers at half with the USA’s Nicole Barnhart replacing Hope Solo for the final 45 minutes.

The match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park marked the second-ever match for the USA in Colorado. The American women defeated Brazil at the old Mile High Stadium in the fall of 1999.

The USA will travel to San Diego to face Brazil on Wednesday, July 16, in the second match of this two-leg series that will serve as the send-off match to the 2008 Olympics. The match at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego will kickoff at 7 p.m. PT and be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel.

Wambach, who created the goal but did not come up with one of her own, heads to San Diego with 99 career goals in 126 appearances. She could hit the magical 100-goal mark and join just eight other women in international soccer history to score 100 or more goals in front of what will be a sell-out crowd in San Diego. Only a few seats remain for the match at Torero Stadium, and once they are sold out, U.S. Soccer will begin selling some standing room only tickets. For tickets, log onto ussoccer.com.

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT

Match-up: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colorado
Date: July 13, 2008; Kickoff – 2 p.m. MT
Attendance: 15,071
Weather: Clear skies, hot – 90 degrees

Scoring Summary:
            1    2    F
USA    0    1    1
BRA    0    0    0

USA – Amy Rodriguez (Abby Wambach) 71st minute.

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo (18-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 17-Lori Chalupny, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt, 15-Kate Markgraf (4-Rachel Buehler, 83), 2-Heather Mitts (14-Stephanie Cox, 46); 7-Shannon Boxx (10-Aly Wagner, 83), 9-Heather O’Reilly (13-Tobin Heath, 62), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (16-Angela Hucles, 46), 11-Carli Lloyd; 6-Natasha Kai (8-Amy Rodriguez, 46) 12-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: None.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

BRA: 12-Andrea (1-Barbara, 46); 2-Jatoba (15-Maurine, 75), 4-Tania, 10-Erika (5-Andreia Rosa, 12); 7-Formiga, 9-Maicon, 14-Ester, 17-Francielle (6-Rosana, 42, 16-Daiane, 87), 19-Renta Costa; 11-Pretinha (20-Raquel, 57), 18-Fabiana (3-Pitty, 59).
Subs not used: 8-Juliana, 13-Dani.
Head Coach: Jorge Barcellos

Statistical Summary:
USA / BRA
Shots: 19 / 10
Shots on Goal: 11 / 4
Saves: 3 / 9
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
BRA – Rosana (caution) 64th minute.
BRA – Raquel (caution) 69.

Officials
Referee: Dallas Malhiwsky (USA)
Asst. Referee: Scott McCaslin (USA)
Asst. Referee: Eric Bryan (USA)
Fourth Official: Robert Keiffer (USA)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Amy Rodriguez

U.S. Women Defeat Sweden 1-0 in Sweden

SKELLEFTEA, Sweden (July 5, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Sweden, 1-0, on a 39th minute goal from midfielder Carli Lloyd to complete a sweep of two matches in Scandinavia.

The match was significant as it was the first-ever meeting between the two teams in Sweden and also marked the first time U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has coached against her home country.

In a fairly even first half that featured one or two good chances for each team, Lloyd scored what would be the winning goal just six minutes before halftime.

The goal originated off a corner kick from the right side. Lloyd took it short to Lindsay Tarpley, who touched it back to her as Lloyd overlapped to the inside. The U.S. midfielder dribbled square into the penalty area, beating at least three Swedish defenders with stop-and-go moves, before gliding into the middle of the box and hitting a left-footed shot from 15 yards that skimmed off the leg of a Swedish defender and into the left corner. Wrong-footed Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl could only watch the ball spin into the net.

It was Lloyd’s seventh goal of the year and second in as many games after also scoring against Norway on July 2 in Fredrikstad during the USA’s 4-0 victory.

The U.S. almost went up just 90 seconds into the game as Abby Wambach caught the Swedes off-guard with a throw-in to Heather O’Reilly on the right side of the penalty area. O’Reilly ran onto the bouncing ball and ripped a volley off the crossbar from 10 yards out.

Sweden midfielder Therese Sjogran had two good chances toward the end of the first half, both off attacks down the right flank. In the 38th minute, the ball skipped through the penalty area to Sweden’s left midfielder, but her sliding shot was right at U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo. Four minutes later she had another chance from a similar spot, but thumped her shot into Solo’s gut again.

Sweden came out with increased energy in the first 15 minutes of the second half, pushing for an equalizer. In the 50th minute, outside back Frida Ostberg burst down the right wing and sent a cross on the ground. Sjogran took a big swing at the rolling ball and cracked her shot on frame, but Nicole Barnhart, who had come in for Solo at halftime, sprung up to tip the ball over the goal.

Things got a bit hairy for the U.S. a few minutes later as Barnhart punched a corner kick straight up in the air. The ball came down almost on the U.S. goal line, and with several players from each team hacking away at it, somehow the Americans managed to keep it from going over the goal line and cleared it out of danger.

Sweden launched several dangerous excursions down its left flank during the second half, but Barnhart cut off any cross that came her way.

Wambach also created danger down the USA’s left flank, but could not find a way past Lindahl, who was solid all afternoon for her country, cutting off several high U.S. crosses into the penalty area.

The win moves the USA’s record in 2008 to 19-0-1 with two matches left before the Olympics. The U.S. team returns home tomorrow and will re-group in Denver, Colo., on July 11 to prepare for the first of two send-off matches against Brazil leading into the Olympics Games. The U.S. team faces the Brazilians on July 13 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (2 p.m. MT on ESPN) in a match presented by Dodge before traveling to San Diego for the second leg on July 16 at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego (7 p.m. PT).

The shutout was the USA’s 13th in 20 games this year and fifth in a row.

U.S. forward Abby Wambach will head into the match against Brazil in Commerce City, Colo., with 99 career goals. One more will put her in an elite club of 100-goal scorers that features eight international players, four of them Americans: Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett.


U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT

Match-up:          USA vs. Norway
Competition:      International Friendly
Venue:              Norrvalla Stadium; Skelleftea, Sweden
Date:                July 5, 2008; Kickoff – 6 p.m. local / Noon ET
Attendance:       4,313   
Weather:           Cloudy, cool – 55 degrees

Scoring Summary:       
             1        2          F
USA     1        0          1
NOR    0        0          0

USA – Carli Lloyd (Lindsay Tarpley)                     39th minute.

Lineups:
USA: 18-Hope Solo (24-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 2-Heather Mitts (26-Rachel Buehler 46), 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 17-Lori Chalupny; 9-Heather O’Reilly (10-Aly Wagner, 81), 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (16-Angela Hucles, 63); 6-Natasha Kai (19-Amy Rodriguez, 81), 20-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: 1-Briana Scurry, 8-Lauren Cheney, 13-Tobin Heath, 14-Stephanie Cox, 21-Kacey White, 22-Ali Krieger.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

SWE: 1-Hedvig Lindahl; 6-Sara Thunebro, 7-Sara Larsson (3-Stina Segerström, 18), 19-Charlotte Rholin (2-Karolina Westberg, 53), 13-Frida Östberg (4-Anna Paulson, 69); 15-Therese Sjögran, 18-Nilla Fischer, 20-Jessica Landström (17-Johanna Almgren, 75), 5-Caroline Seger (21-Lisa Dahlkvist, 69), 8-Lotta Schelin (10-Hanna Ljungberg, 60), 11-Victoria Svensson – Capt.
Subs not used: 9-Therese Lundin, 12-Kristin Hammarström, 14-Josefine Öqvist, 16-Linda Forsberg.
Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby

Statistical Summary:        
USA / SWE
Shots: 11 / 9
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2 
Corner Kicks: 7 / 8
Fouls: 8 / 4
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee:            Kirsi Savolainen (Finalnd)            
Asst. Referee:   Anu Jokela (Finland)                 
Asst. Referee:   Minna Niskanen (Finland)
4th Official:         Camilla Thoren (Sweden)          

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Lori Chalupy

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