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U.S. Women's National Team Arrives in Germany Ahead of Oct. 29 Match in Augsburg

U.S. Women’s National Team
Munich, Germany
Oct. 22, 2009

U.S. TEAM ARRIVES IN GERMANY TO PREPARE FOR CLASH WITH WORLD CUP AND EUROPEAN CHAMPS: The U.S. Women’s National Team has arrived in Germany for one of the most anticipated friendly matches of the year in the women’s international soccer world as the defending Olympic champion USA squares off against the defending FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Germany on Oct. 29 at the newly constructed Impuls Arena in Augsburg, Germany. The match kicks off at 6 p.m. local (1 p.m. ET) and fans can follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter.com/ussoccer. The U.S. team has played just seven matches this year due to the inaugural season of WPS and carries a 2009 record of 6-0-1 into the Germany match. The only blemish was a 1-1 tie with Sweden in the Algarve Cup championship game, where the USA eventually fell in a penalty kick shootout. The U.S. team traveled to Germany in two groups, one from New York and one from Los Angeles, but all met in Munich on Oct. 21 and now will get about the business of preparing for the match which will pit the top-two teams in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings.

2009 U.S. WNT Results

Date Opponent Result/Time U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue
March 4 Denmark 2-0 W Woznuk, DiMartino Lagos, Portugal
March 6 Iceland 1-0 W Kai Ferreiras, Portugal
March 9 Norway 1-0 W Rapinoe Albufeira, Portugal
March 11 Sweden 1-1 T (3-4 PKs) Boxx Faro, Portugal
May 25 Canada 4-0 W Boxx, Rapinoe, Tarpley, Cheney Rochester, N.Y.
July 19 Canada 1-0 W Wambach Toronto, Canada
July 22 Canada 1-0 W Nairn Charleston, S.C.
Oct. 29 Germany 6 p.m. (1 p.m. ET) Augsburg, Germany

ZERO TO 130: The U.S. team brings a wide range of experience to Germany with five players having more than 100 caps and Lori Chalupny on 91, but a full half of the U.S. roster has 30 caps or less including four players who have a combined three caps. Young forward Lauren Cheney (who did not make this trip due to school commitments at UCLA) made her debut against Germany in 2007, starting and playing 45 minutes.  Forward Ella Masar and defender Brittany Bock will also be looking for their first caps against the Germans, although both have extensive youth national team experience. Abby Wambach and Cat Whitehill are the most capped players on the U.S. roster with 130 each.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)
DEFENDERS (6): Brittany Bock (Los Angeles Sol), Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Tobin Heath (North Carolina), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Kacey White (Sky Blue FC)
FORWARDS (3): Ella Masar (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

NINE YEARS IN THE MAKING: The USA has not played in Germany since 2000 when the Americans participated in a tournament to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the German soccer federation. The USA defeated Germany in Braunschweig by a 1-0 score. There are no players on the current U.S. roster who played in the match. The USA also tied China PR 1-1 and beat Norway 1-0 during that tournament. The last time the USA played a friendly match in Germany was 1997 when the USA won 3-0 in Salzgitter on Oct. 12 after falling 3-1 in the rain in Duisburg three days earlier.

THEY CALL IT A “FRIENDLY”: USA-Germany friendly matches are rare. The world’s top two women’s soccer nations have met 24 times in their history (which includes two matches against the former West Germany), but only nine have been so-called “friendlies” with the rest taking place in some sort of tournament competition. In fact, friendlies for the U.S. women in Europe are also very rare. Since 2000, the USA has played just four friendly matches in Europe, two in Norway in 2000 and in Sweden and Norway last year. Of course, the U.S. team does play in the Algarve Cup every year in Portugal and did participate in the Olympics in Greece in 2004.

GERMANY HOSTS THE WORLD: The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in Germany and the USA will get a good taste of the atmosphere that awaits them as a big crowd is expected at Impuls Arena, which will serve as one of the nine venues for the sixth Women’s World Cup. The two-time defending champions, hosting on their own soil, will be favorites to hoist a third consecutive trophy, but the Americans will hopefully have something to stay about that. There is no doubt, however, the Germans will run a fantastic Women’s World Cup, scheduled for June 26-July 17, 2011, in nine cities: Augsburg, Berlin, Bochum, Dresden, Frankfurt, Leverkusen, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim and Wolfsburg. The venues are spread out all over Germany. Almost all of the cities will host four matches, but unlike past Women’s World Cups, there will be no doubleheaders. The largest stadium is in Berlin (74,244), which will host just the opening game featuring the Germans. The smallest stadium is in Bochum, which seats 23,691. The Women’s World Cup Final will take place in Frankfurt (49,240) on July 17. The dates and venues for CONCACAF qualifying have yet to be determined, but the competition will likely be held at the end of 2010. Germany will also host the next FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, taking place July 13-Aug. 1, 2010.

ABBY AND BIRGIT: The USA-Germany match will feature two of the world’s top active all-time goal scorers in Abby Wambach (100 goals in 130 games) and Birgit Prinz (125 in 198 matches). Prinz, who is currently third all-time in women’s soccer history, is closing in on Kristine Lilly (129) and certainly has a chance to catch the world’s all-time leading scorer Mia Hamm (158). Both Wambach and Prinz are known for their size, ability to carry their large frames at top speed, their relentlessness in chasing goals, and of course, their finishing. It should be a treat for the fans in Augsburg to have two 100-goal scorers on the field at the same time, a rarity in any international soccer match.

HEATH LEADS U.S. YOUTH MOVEMENT: U.S. midfielder Tobin Heath is the only player on the roster currently still in college and thus the only amateur on the U.S. team. She was the youngest player on the 2008 Olympic Team, and, at 21, is also the youngest player on the roster for the Germany match. She may also feature more prominently in the game than previously thought with Megan Rapinoe sidelined after having minor knee surgery last week. A dynamic flank midfielder for the USA, Heath is playing in the center for her college team at North Carolina, where she has three goals and five assists. She will miss several Tar Heel matches while in Germany, but will return in time to help lead the 12-1-1 Tar Heels into the ACC Tournament and of course the NCAA Tournament.

CHANGE UP: The USA had some last minute roster changes for this Germany trip after midfielder Angela Hucles retired from club and country and midfielder Megan Rapinoe had to undergo a minor knee surgery. Chicago Red Stars forward Ella Masar replaced Hucles and Sky Blue FC midfielder/forward Kacey White replaced Rapinoe. While the USA loses two players who have been starters over the last year, the experience in Germany will give Masar and White, as well as the USA’s other young players, some valuable seasoning. Masar is a former standout for the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team but has yet to earn a full national team cap. She did participate in her first training camp with the senior side last January, ironically called in after an injury to Lauren Cheney. White has 17 caps for the USA. Her two caps this year both came at the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March.

WPS ON DISPLAY: Eight of the nine WPS teams are represented on the U.S. roster, with the freshly minted Atlanta Beat the only team without a player. Defending champion Sky Blue FC leads the way with four players, including newly signed Carli Lloyd, but the Philadelphia Independence are looking less and less like an expansion team with three players on the WNT roster. Four other teams have two players each with the Boston Breakers represented only by WPS Defender of the Year Amy LePeilbet and the Chicago Red Stars represented only by Ella Masar.

Stat of Note
The USA has scored 11 goals in 2009, but players who have accounted for eight of those are not on this roster. The only players to have scored this year are Abby Wambach (one goal) and Shannon Boxx (two goals).

Sundhage Makes Two Changes to U.S. Women's Roster For Match Against Germany on Oct. 29 in Augsburg

Ella Masar and Kacey White Will Replace Angela Hucles and Megan Rapinoe

CHICAGO (Oct. 16, 2009) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has made two changes to the 18-player roster that will travel to Germany later this month to take on the European champions on Oct. 29 in Augsburg, Germany.

The changes were necessitated by the retirement of midfielder Angela Hucles, and a left knee injury to midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery today on her meniscus. Rapinoe will be sidelined only for a few weeks. Ella Masar will replace Hucles and Kacey White replaces Rapinoe.

Masar, a forward for the Chicago Red Stars, is a former standout for the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team but has yet to earn a full national team cap. She did participate in her first training camp with the senior side last January.

White, a midfielder on WPS champion Sky Blue FC, has 17 caps for the USA. Her two caps this year both came at the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March.

The USA will depart for Germany on Oct. 20 and train for eight days in Munich and Augsburg before facing the Germans at the new Impuls Arena in Augsburg.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)
DEFENDERS (6): Brittany Bock (Los Angeles Sol), Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Tobin Heath (UNC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Out of Contract), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Kacey White (Sky Blue FC)
FORWARDS (3): Ella Masar (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

Sweden Edges U.S. Women on Penalties in Algarve Final

FARO, Portugal (March 11, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team fell in a penalty kick shootout to Sweden in the championship game of the 2009 Algarve Cup after the match ended dramatically with a 1-1 score in regulation.

Shannon Boxx equalized in the 90th minute and the match went directly to penalty kicks, where the USA lost 4-3 after seven shooters.

Boxx’s goal came after an intense second half of searching for a tying goal to answer Lotta Schelin’s tally in the 18th minute. The Americans finally got it with seconds left in regulation time.

Carli Lloyd slipped past a player in midfield with a nice cut move and played a perfect ball into the left side of the penalty area to the streaking Natasha Kai. The Hawaiian ran the ball down at the end line, but was knocked down by a retreating Swedish defender. From a sitting position, Kai managed to knock the ball back to Megan Rapinoe in the left side of the penalty area. Rapinoe struck a hard cross on the ground through the goal mouth to Boxx at the far post where she slammed it first-time into the net from two yards away.

The dramatic goal, the USA’s second 90th-minute score of the tournament, led to an even more dramatic penalty kick shootout.

Sweden’s Louise Fors started her country out with a hard shot into the lower left corner. Boxx answered with a perfect blast into the upper right corner. Lisa Dahlkvist also found the lower left corner, setting the stage for Rapinoe, whose driven shot was almost directly at Swedish goalkeeper Kristin Hammarstrøm and she batted the ball away.

Linda Sembrandt hit her shot off the left post and in, followed by Lloyd tucking her chance away into the left corner as well to make it 3-2 Sweden after three shots each. The USA then got new life as Anna Paulson skied Sweden’s fourth shot over the bar. The Americans didn’t take advantage as Christie Rampone clanged her shot off the inside of the left post and behind the Swedish ‘keeper, but it didn’t cross the goal line.

Schelin then stepped to the spot on her team’s fifth kick with a chance to win the match, but Solo acrobatically pushed her shot away with a full-extension dive to left post. The miss meant that late substitute Tina DiMartino had to convert the USA’s fifth kick to send the shootout into sudden death. DiMartino’s shot was seemingly saved by Hammarstrøm with a dive to the left post, which would have ended the game, but somehow the ball squeezed through the goalkeeper’s hands and rolled across the goal line.

Emelie Ölander then blasted her shot over the goal and incredibly, Sweden had missed its fourth, fifth and sixth kicks, giving 88th minute sub Angie Woznuk a chance to win it for the USA. Unfortunately, Hammarstrøm guessed correctly and pushed Woznuk’s shot away with a dive to the left post.

Stine Segerstrom then finished smartly into the lower left corner on her team’s seventh penalty and Heather Mitts cracked her shot off the left post and out to give Sweden the victory.

Mitts earned her 100th cap for the USA in the match, becoming the 25th female player and eighth defender in U.S. history to reach that career milestone.

The Americans had gifted Sweden the lead off a give-away in USA’s defensive third by Boxx, who hit her back-pass too lightly to Rampone and created a 3-v-1 situation. Caroline Seger swooped in to control the ball, dribbled hard at Rampone and then played a pass to her left to the wide-open Schelin. The lanky Swedish striker had plenty of time to pick her corner and rolled her shot into the lower right corner past the charging Solo. It would be the last time Schelin would beat Solo, her former teammate on the Swedish club side Kopparbergs/Goteborg, although she had plenty of chances.

In the 24th minute, Sara Thunebro got around the left side of the U.S. defense and cut a cross back to Schelin who was making a hard run to the top of the six-yard box. She swiped at the ball from almost point blank range, but somehow Solo, who was moving across the goal, stuck her foot out and saved the shot. The rebound bounced off the fallen Schelin and over the end line.

In the 52nd minute, Schelin was back terrorizing the U.S. defense as she tussled with Boxx on a through ball. Boxx went down, giving Schelin another one-on-one with Solo, but the U.S. ‘keeper flung herself at the ball and gobbled it up as Schelin tried to dribble around her.

In the 67th minute, Schelin got behind the U.S. defense once again, but this time Solo held her ground and timed her challenge perfectly, stealing the ball right off her feet.

Sweden was certainly the better team in the first half, attacking with fervor and creating a few chances that were either saved by Solo or scrambled away by the defense, while exerting intense defensive pressure in the midfield that precluded the Americans from developing any sort of rhythm. Sweden forward Victoria Svensson did a great job of finding the space between the U.S. midfield and backline, then combining with her teammates, but the U.S. backs held strong after giving up that 18th minute goal.

Sweden’s goal marked the only one allowed by the USA in the tournament.

The Swedes may also have done enough to win the match in the second half, but the U.S. team never gave up its search for an equalizer while playing much better in the final 45 minutes.

Sundhage sent on forward Amy Rodriguez at halftime and moved Rapinoe to the left midfield slot where she created all kinds of danger. Boxx also moved into more of a midfield role.

The USA started to make a real push midway through the second half, and Rampone’s run from the back in the 63rd minute almost produced a goal, but her bending ball behind the defense from the left side of the penalty area was just a bit too far for Rodriguez.

Three minutes later, Rapinoe slipped a pass through the Sweden defense to the streaking Rodriguez, but she fired her breakaway chance at Hammarstrøm who pulled off the kick save.

Three minutes after that, the USA sent a looping ball into the penalty area that bounced hard over the onrushing Hammarstrøm and a defender had to clear it out of the six-yard box with an overhead kick.

In the 75th minute, Rapinoe was taken down above the left side of the penalty area, but Lloyd ripped her free kick right at the Swedish ‘keeper from 30 yards away. Lloyd had another chance two minutes later as she played a short corner to Rodriguez, got it back as she dribbled centrally and ripped a shot that a Swedish defender headed out of the hands of her own ‘keeper at the left post.

Solo had to come up big again with five minutes left as Sweden’s counterattack continued to threaten. The U.S. ‘keeper flew to her left to snag a shot from Madelaine Edlund that could have snuck inside the left post. Solo’s phenomenal performance in her three starts at the Algarve Cup earned her Best Player of the tournament honors. It was first time in 14 Algarve Cups that a goalkeeper has won the award.

The USA only had one or two good chances in a lackluster first half, but one came right after Sweden’s goal as Lloyd found a bit of space to win a long throw-in into Sweden’s penalty area. She got a good strike on the ball, but hammered her shot off the legs of Hammarstrøm from about 10 yards away.

The match marked the USA’s seventh straight Algarve Cup championship game. The USA won the tournament in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008, but fell in penalty kicks to the Germans in the 2006. The USA won the Algarve Cup for the first time in 2000.

The U.S. played without starting defender Lori Chalupny, who missed her second straight game due to illness, but Rachel Buehler filled in admirably at left back.

In the other Algarve Cup placement matches, Poland reversed a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Wales in the final match of Group C play to defeat the Welsh 2-1 and take eleventh place. Norway defeated Austria, 2-0, to take ninth. Finland and Portugal tied 1-1 after regulation before the hosts fell 4-2 in penalty kicks and China PR downed Iceland, 1-0, to take third. A 43rd minute goal from Julie Rydahl Bukh gave Denmark a 1-0 upset win against Germany in the third-place match.

The U.S. players now head back to United States to join their WPS clubs in final preparations for the inaugural season that opens March 29 as the Washington Freedom visit the Los Angeles Sol. The U.S. team will not come together again until this summer for matches that will be announced in the near future.

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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: March 11, 2009
Competition: 2009 Algarve Cup; Championship Game
Venue: Estadio Algarve; Faro, Portugal
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (Noon ET)
Attendance: 1,200
Weather: 72 degrees, sunny, breezy

Scoring Summary: 1    2    F    PKs
USA                            0    1    1    3
SWE                           1    0    1    4

SWE – Lotta Schelin (Caroline Seger) 18th minute
USA – Shannon Boxx (Megan Rapinoe) 90

Penalty Summary:
SWE: Fors (goal), Dahlkvist (goal), Sembrandt (goal), Paulson (miss – high), Schelin (saved), Ölander (miss – high), Segerström (goal)
USA: Boxx (goal), Rapinoe (saved), Lloyd (goal), Rampone (miss – left post), DiMartino (goal), Woznuk (saved), Mitts (miss – left post)

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts (capt.), 7-Shannon Boxx, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Rachel Buehler; 9-Heather O’Reilly (12-Angie Woznuk, 88), 16-Angela Hucles (19-Tina DiMartino, 83), 10-Carli Lloyd, 5-Lindsay Tarpley (8-Amy Rodriguez, 46); 15-Megan Rapinoe, 6-Natasha Kai
Subs not used: 13-Kendall Fletcher, 17-Lori Chalupny, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Kacey White
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

SWE: 12-Kristin Hammarstrøm, 2-Charlotte Rohlin, 3-Stina Segerström, 4-Anna Paulson, 6-Sara Thunebro (7-Emelie Ölander, 46); 5-Caroline Seger (19-Linda Sembrandt, 78), 15-Therese Sjögran (16-Louise Fors, 63), 17-Kosovare Aslani (14-Madelaine Edlund, 53), 18-Nilla Fischer (20-Lisa Dahlkvist, 37); 11-Victoria Svensson (capt.) (10-Sara Lindén, 71), 8-Lotta Schelin
Subs not used: 1-Hedvid Lindahl, 9-Anna Lindblom, 13-Alexandra Niilsson
Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby

Statistical Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 11 / 11
Shots on Goal: 8 / 6
Saves: 5 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 11
Offside: 5 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Assistant Referee: Marina Wozniak (GER)
Assistant Referee: Moiken Reichert (GER)
Fourth Official: Gyongyi Gaal (HUN)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match:
Hope Solo

Algarve Cup Final Standings
1. Sweden
2. USA
3. Denmark
4. Germany
5. China
6. Iceland
7. Finland
8. Portugal
9. Norway
10. Austria
11. Poland
12. Wales

Rapinoe Goal Gives U.S. 1-0 Win Against Norway

FERREIRAS, Portugal (March 9, 2009) – Forward Megan Rapinoe scored in the 21st minute to give the U.S. Women’s National Team a 1-0 victory against Norway in the final group game for both teams at the 2009 Algarve Cup.

The U.S. will face Sweden in the Algarve Cup championship game on Wednesday, March 11, at the Stadium Algarve in Faro. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET and fans can follow live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Sweden won Group A by defeating Germany 3-2 after going up 3-0 at halftime, in a game the Scandinavians had to win to make the title match. The championship game match-up pits U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage against her home country.

Coming into the Norway game, the USA had already qualified for the championship by virtue of earlier victories over Denmark and Iceland, but the U.S. put a positive capper on group play with its third straight shutout in a contest that at times turned into a track meet of counter attacks.

Norway fielded a squad with several young players and battled gamely for the entire match with the U.S. goal coming slightly against the run of play. It originated from the left wing as midfielder Kacey White took a hard dribble down the flank before playing a threaded pass to Amy Rodriguez at the top of the penalty area. With her back to the goal, Rodriguez spun a first-time pass to Rapinoe, who took a touch to the inside to beat a player, continued for a few more yards and then smashed her skimming shot across the face of the goal, off the left post and into the net. Norwegian goalkeeper Caroline Knutsen almost got a glove to the ball, but the pace of the shot was enough to beat her.

It was Rapinoe’s third international goal in just her second start after scoring twice off the bench against Chinese Taipei in 2006.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo came up big for USA once again, making an eye-popping save in the 18th minute off a shot from Kristine Lie. The Norwegian forward found space at the top of the U.S. penalty area on the left side and struck a spinning shot that was surely headed into the absolute upper right corner. Solo got a magnificent jump on the ball and executed a fully extended dive to tip the ball over the goal with her right hand. She then punched away the ensuing corner kick.

While the game was end-to-end, and the USA did outshoot Norway 12-9, both teams struggled to consistently test each other’s ‘keeper. Norway did have a golden chance in just the fourth minute as Ingvild Isaksen popped free in front of the goal, but shot wide right from 10 yards away.

The USA almost made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute as White lifted a looping pass over the Norway defensive line to Rodriguez, who powered through a defender to win the ball, but lifted her shot just wide right of the goal.

Lindsay Tarpley, who played in the center of the midfield for the full 90 minutes, had a semi-breakaway chance five minutes into the second half as she ran onto a ball that had been guided on by halftime sub Natasha Kai, but Knutsen got a piece her close range shot to push it wide left.

Norway put excellent defensive pressure on the U.S. backs and midfielders, making it very difficult for the Americans to find an attacking rhythm. The U.S. backs were stellar, matching Norway’s physical play for 90 minutes. On the back line, Sundhage gave a first cap to Kendall Fletcher, who also picked up her first yellow card, while Rachel Buehler, Heather Mitts and Christie Rampone ran down every counter attack and battled for every air ball. Shannon Boxx came into the game in the 62nd minute for Mitts as Fletcher moved to right back and helped keep the Norwegian attack at bay.

Solo pulled off another top class save in the 83rd minute when Norwegian captain Ingvild Stensland rocketed a shot that forced U.S. ‘keeper to spring straight up and tip it off the crossbar and over the goal.

The USA is the only country in the 12-team tournament that has yet to allow a goal.

The USA will be playing in its seventh straight Algarve Cup championship game, having won the tournament in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The USA fell in penalty kicks to Germany in the 2006 final. The USA won the Algarve Cup for the first time in 2000 and will be going for its sixth overall title.

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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Norway
Date: March 9, 2009
Competition: 2009 Algarve Cup; Group B
Venue: Parque Desportiva da Nora; Ferreiras, Portugal
Kickoff: 3 p.m. (11 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 400
Weather: 66 degrees, sunny, breezy

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

USA – Megan Rapinoe (Amy Rodriguez)          21st minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts (7-Shannon Boxx, 62), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 13-Kendall Fletcher, 4-Rachel Buehler; 9-Heather O’Reilly (12-Angie Woznuk, 83), 16-Angela Hucles (10-Carli Lloyd, 46), 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 21-Kacey White, 15-Megan Rapinoe (19-Tina DiMartino, 70), 8-Amy Rodriguez (6-Natasha Kai, 46)
Subs not used: 17-Lori Chalupny, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

NOR: 12-Caroline Knutsen; 6-Camilla Huse (10-Lindy Melissa Wiik, 60), 7-Trine Rønning, 15-Hedda Strand Gardsjord, 18-Toril Akerhaugen; 4-Ingvild Stensland, 5-Anneli Giske, 17-Maren Mjelde, 21-Lena Storløkken (13-Siri Nordeide Grønli, 80); 19-Ingvild Isaksen (11-Leni Larsen Kaurin, 60), 20-Kristin Lie
Subs not used: 1-Ingrid Hjelmseth, 2-Solfrid Andersen, 3-Marita Skammelsrud Lund, 8-Solveig Gulbrandsen, 14-Marthe Johansen, 16-Ingrid Schjelderup
Head Coach: Bjarne Berntsen

Statistical Summary: USA / NOR
Shots: 12 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 10
Offside: 5 / 7

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Kendall Fletcher (caution)       45th minute
NOR – Trine Ronning (caution)          75

Officials:
Referee: Gyongyi Gall (HUN)
Assistant: Referee: Yolanda Parga Rodriguez (ESP)
Assistant: Referee: Maria Luisa Villa Gutierres (ESP)
Fourth Official: Kirsi Savolainen (FIN)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match:
Megan Rapinoe

Kai's 90th-Minute Winner Puts U.S. Into 2009 Algarve Cup Final

FERREIRAS, Portugal (March 6, 2009) – Forward Natasha Kai scored a spectacular goal in the last minute of regulation time to give the U.S. Women’s National Team a dramatic 1-0 victory over Iceland in the second group game for both teams at the 2009 Algarve Cup.

The U.S. victory, combined with Denmark’s 2-0 win against Norway, clinched Group B and a berth in the championship game on March 11 at Stadium Algarve in Faro against the winner of Group A. The U.S. will face Norway in its final group match on March 9 in Ferreiras (10 a.m. on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker), but that result will have no impact on the USA’s standing in the group.

The USA is currently first in Group B with six points, followed by Iceland and Denmark with three each. Norway has zero points after losing to both Iceland and Denmark. Even if the USA were to lose to Norway and either Iceland or Denmark picked up three points in its final match, both would still finish behind the USA on the first tiebreaker – the head-to-head result – as the USA has already defeated both the Danes and the Icelanders.

Germany has control of Group A after a dominating 3-0 victory against China PR today. The Germans need a win or a tie against Sweden on the final match day to take the group title and earn a match-up with the USA at the beautiful 30,000 seat Stadium Algarve, which was built for the 2004 European Championship. Sweden defeated Finland 1-0 today to keep its championship hopes alive, but it must defeat Germany to book its place in the final.

The USA advances to its unprecedented seventh straight Algarve Cup championship game, having won the tournament in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The USA fell in penalty kicks to Germany in the 2006 final. The USA won the Algarve Cup for the first time in 2000 and will be going for its sixth overall title. This is the first time in 14 Algarve Cup appearances that the USA has earned a berth to the championship match after two group games.

The wind played a major factor against Iceland with the USA attacking into the teeth of it during the first half. With the wind at its back in the second half, Kai’s goal came after an extended period of U.S. chances during the last 45 minutes.

Iceland was just hanging on at the end of the game, but surely its players were thinking that they had earned a point when a desperate clearance was settled by U.S. captain Christie Rampone on the left edge of the center circle in the USA’s attacking half. She spied Kai making a run into the penalty area and drove an inch-perfect pass over the top of the Iceland defense to the U.S. forward. Kai brought the ball down on her chest just a step inside the penalty area, let it bounce once and then lifted it over an onrushing Iceland defender. Kai then darted past the defender and ripped a left-footed half-volley into the right corner from 12 yards out. A frenzied U.S. celebration ensued.

The Americans struggled mightily in the first half as they tried to create an attacking rhythm, but a committed Iceland team in a compact 4-5-1 formation combined with the swirling winds forced numerous errant passes from the U.S. team.

Iceland took advantage of the wind to create some shots in the first half as both teams fired five with just one on goal, but once the second half started, it was pretty much one-way traffic for the USA.

At halftime, Sundhage sent on Heather O’Reilly at right midfield and Lindsay Tarpley on the left, moving Megan Rapinoe from the outside into the withdrawn forward slot, where she played well, and the Americans started to find the width and create more chances. The USA earned seven of its 10 corner kicks after the break as well sending numerous services into the penalty box after Iceland fouls on the wings.

The match was certainly physical, and at times a bit nasty, but full credit goes to Iceland for staying organized and blocking at least a dozen dangerous-looking U.S. shots and crosses.

Iceland was unwilling to come out of its defensive shell during the first 30 minutes of the second half as the USA pounded away unsuccessfully at their bunker, but then the Europeans put together a few counter attacks that almost won the game.

Iceland got its first chance of the second half in the 72nd minute after stripping the ball from the U.S. midfield, which led to a Dora Maria Larusdóttir hitting a blistering drive from the right side of the penalty area. U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart had to tip the ball over the crossbar, leading to the first of two consecutive Iceland corner kicks that were successfully defended by the USA.

Shannon Boxx and Heather Mitts both made timely tackles inside the U.S. penalty area in the last 15 minutes to defuse Iceland counter-attacks.

In the 87th minute, Barnhart came out to the top of the penalty area to challenge a bouncing ball and collided hard with Rakel Hönnudóttir, but while the Icelandic midfielder got a foot to the ball first, fortunately for the USA it bounced wide right of the goal.

Kai came into the match in the 68th minute and earned several corner kicks with rushes down the wings while almost scoring in the 87th minute after running onto a ball slipped into the right side of the penalty area by O’Reilly. Kai turned to smack her shot high to the near post, but Iceland goalkeeper Gudbjorg Gunnarsdottir pushed it over the crossbar.

With one minute left in regulation, substitute Rachel Buehler, who had come on just five minutes earlier, knifed through the penalty box to get her head on a Carli Lloyd free-kick from the ride side, but sent her chance skimming wide right.

One minute later, Gunnarsdóttir could do nothing with Kai’s world-class strike, her 24th international goal, and Boxx and Mitts then repelled two long Iceland services off free kicks during the three minutes of stoppage time to earn the victory.

The U.S. will now get two days of rest before facing Norway on Monday and then will begin preparing for either Germany or Sweden in the championship game which will be contested at 1:15 p.m. local / 9:15 a.m. ET. Fans will be able to follow the title match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Iceland
Date: March 6, 2009
Competition: 2009 Algarve Cup; Group B
Venue: Parque Desportiva da Nora; Ferreiras, Portugal
Kickoff: 3 p.m. (10 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 250
Weather: 66 degrees, partly cloudy, windy

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

USA – Natasha Kai (Christie Rampone)       90th minute

Lineups:
USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 7-Shannon Boxx, 17-Lori Chalupny; 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Angela Hucles (4-Rachel Buehler, 84), 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Angie Woznuk (9-Heather O’Reilly, 46), 19-Tina DiMartino (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 46), 8-Amy Rodriguez (6-Natasha Kai, 68).
Subs not used: 1-Hope Solo, 13-Kendall Fletcher, 21-Kacey White.
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

ISL: 12-Gudbörg Gunnarsdóttir; 2-Gúdrun Gunnarsdóttir, 3-Ólina Gudbjörg Vidarsdóttir, 8-Katrin Jonsdóttir – Capt., 18-Sif Altadóttir (14-Erna Björk Sigurdardóttir, 36); 4-Edda Gardarsdóttir, 6- Hólmfridur Magnusdóttir (17-Rakel Hönnudóttir, 64), 7-Dóra Stefansdóttir, 10-Dóra Maria Larusdóttir (16-Erla Steina Arnardóttir, 91+), 11-Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir (20-Katrin Ómarsdóttir, 45); 9-Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir.
Subs not used: 1-María Bjorg Águstsdóttir, 5-Ásta Árnadóttir, 13-Gudný Björk Odinsdóttir, 15-Hallbera Gudný Gisladóttir, 19-Harpa Thorsteinsdóttir
Head Coach: Sigurdur Ragnar Eyjolfsson

Statistical Summary: USA / ISL
Shots: 15 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 10 / 4
Fouls: 12 / 10
Offside: 2 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Shannon Boxx (caution)                    41st minute
ISL – Erna Björk Sigurdardóttir (caution)    71

Officials
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Assistant Referee: Moiken Reichert (GER)
Assistant Referee: Marina Wozniak (GER)
Fourth Official: Kirsi Savolainen (FIN)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match:
Natasha Kai

2009 Algarve Cup Standings and Schedule

Woznuk and DiMartino Score as U.S. Women Defeat Denmark 2-0 to Open 2009 Algarve Cup

LAGOS, Portugal (March 4, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team got its 2009 Algarve Cup campaign off to a rousing start, defeating Denmark 2-0 in nasty weather conditions as midfielders Angie Wonzuk and Tina DiMartino tallied in the first half.

With the wind whipping through the small stadium and a drizzling rain falling almost the entire match, the U.S. played the first 20 minutes on shaky legs before warming up to the task.

The first U.S. score came in the 22nd minute on the USA’s first shot on goal as Woznuk scored her second career goal in just her seventh career cap and second start. The scoring sequence started with an attack down the left flank as midfielder Angela Hucles rolled a pass to Woznuk on the wing and she hit a looping cross. The ball was punched to the other side of the penalty area by Denmark goalkeeper Heidi Johansen but Heather O’Reilly ran it down. O’Reilly’s cross was also punched by Johansen, and this time the ball fell to Woznuk near the left post. She settled the ball quickly and while standing just a few paces from the end line, blasted a sizzling half-volley into the roof of the net over the Danish goalkeeper.

The goal energized the U.S. team, which started connecting passes and getting numbers into the attack. Thirteen minutes after the first score, the Americans got another.

This one came off a corner kick from the left side as Christie Rampone looped her cross to the far post. U.S. forward Natasha Kai jumped high to win the ball, heading it hard off the arm of a Danish defender who was protecting the left post. The ball spun out front of the goal and DiMartino, the smallest player on the field at 5 feet 2 inches, found space to slide and smash a left-footed shot through that same defender’s legs and into the net from just a few yards out.

The goal was DiMartino’s first for the full U.S. National Team, and it came in just her second cap and first start.

“It’s a special feeling to score a goal and, for Woznuk and DiMartino, who are fairly new to the team, it shows that on this team anyone can score,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “Everyone is happy when anyone scores a goal, but especially the new players.”

Lindsay Tarpley replaced DiMartino at halftime and immediately added a spark to the U.S. attack, which was also bolstered later in the match by the fresh legs of Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez. But as it turned out, the U.S. got all the goals it would need before the break.

That was partly due to the excellent match played by U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, who saved two breakaways in the first half from Danish winger Johanna Rasmussen, pushing the first away with a dive to her right in the 26th minute before securing the second with a dive to her left about 10 minutes later.

Solo made her biggest save just a minute before halftime when Rasmussen’s cross from the left wing was allowed to fall in a dangerous area inside the U.S. penalty box. Danish forward Merete Pedersen got a great strike on the ball from just six yards away, but Solo stuck out her right arm to make a great reaction save and then pounced on the ball before it could spin over the goal line.

Rasmussen created danger down the flanks the entire match and almost pulled a goal back in the 61st minute after Rampone was stripped at midfield, leading to a Denmark counter attack. With the recovering Rampone on her hip, Rasmussen slapped her shot wide right of the goal from the left side of the penalty area.

The match marked the debut of Shannon Boxx in the center of the U.S. defense, where the USA’s usual defensive midfielder performed extremely well next to Rampone. The U.S. team received three uncharacteristic yellow cards in the match. The first was to Woznuk for a cleats-up tackle, the second to Buehler for a powerful slide that was just a second too late and the final caution went to Rapinoe for kicking the ball away after a foul late in the game. The cautions were just a side note however as accumulated yellow cards do not lead to suspension in the Algarve Cup.

Solo made several secure catches in the rainy conditions, but her best play on a cross may have been a punch with about eight minutes left that keep a wicked service from Rasmussen moving across the goal and away from danger.

The victory marked the sixth straight Algarve Cup where the USA has started off with a win. The American women are looking for their third straight Algarve Cup title after defeating Denmark in the championship game the past two years. The win also reversed a strange trend for U.S. matches in Lagos, Portugal, where the U.S. Women won for just the second time in its history after coming into the match with a 1-5-0 record at the venue.

“Even though it was raining the field was pretty good,” said Sundhage. “So we tried to play through the midfield and at times we managed to do that, especially after the first 20-25 minutes. Then every single player in the midfield got involved in every attack and I was very pleased with that.”

The U.S. will have one rest day before its next game, taking on Iceland on March 6 in Ferreiras, with a kickoff at 3 p.m. local / 10 a.m. ET. Fans can follow the action on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

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

Match: United States Women's National Team vs. Denmark
Date: March 4, 2009
Competition: 2009 Algarve Cup; Group B 
Venue: Municipal Stadium; Lagos, Portugal
Kickoff: 12 p.m. (7 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 200
Weather: 55 degrees, Cold, windy, rain

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

USA – Angie Woznuk (Heather O’Reilly)      22nd minute
USA – Tina DiMartino                                       35

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts (4-Rachel Buehler, 46), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 7-Shannon Boxx, 17-Lori Chalupny; 9-Heather O’Reilly (21-Kacey White, 78), 10-Carli Lloyd, 16-Angela Hucles, 12-Angie Woznuk (15-Megan Rapinoe, 62), 19-Tina DiMartino (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 46), 6-Natasha Kai (8-Amy Rodriguez, 62)
Subs not used: 13-Kendall Fletcher, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

DEN: 1-Heidi Johansen; 2-Mia Olsen, 3-Katrine Pedersen (capt.) (19-Marianne Pedersen, 67), 4-Christina Ømtoft, 5-Line Hansen, 6-Marianne Knudsen, 7-Cathrine Sørensen (18-Nanna Christiansen, 72), 10-Camilla Sand, 13-Johanna Rasmussen, 9-Maiken Pape (17-Nadia Nadim, 21), 11-Merete Pedersen (8-Julie Rydahl-Bukh, 67)
Subs not used: 12-Janne Madsen, 14-Marie Bjerg, 15-Sanne Troelsgaard, 16-Tine Cederkvist Vsikær, 20-Tina Rasmussen
Head Coach: Kenneth Heiner-Møller

Stats Summary: USA / DEN
Shots: 14 / 8
Shots on Goal: 9 / 4
Saves: 4 / 6
Corner Kicks: 8 / 3
Fouls: 6 / 3
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Angie Woznuk (caution)        32rd minute
USA – Rachel Buehler (caution)      80
USA – Megan Rapinoe (caution)     85

Officials
Referee: Jenny Palmqvist (SWE)
Asst. Referee: Helen Caro (SWE)
Asst. Referee: Anna Nystrom (SWE)
4th Official: Efthalia Mitsi (GRE)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Hope Solo

2009 Algarve Cup Standings
Group A

Team W L T GF GA GD Pts.
GER 1 0 0 2 0 +2 3
SWE 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
CHN 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
FIN 0 1 0 0 2 -2 0

March 4
Germany 2, Finland 0
China 0, Sweden 0

March 6
Sweden vs. Finland
Germany vs. China

March 9
Finland vs. China
Sweden vs. Germany

Group B
Team W L T GF GA GD Pts.
ISL 1 0 0 3 1 +2 3
USA 1 0 0 2 0 +2 3
NOR 0 1 0 1 3 -2 0
DEN 0 1 0 0 2 -2 0

March 4
USA 2, Denmark 0
Norway 1, Iceland 3

March 6
USA vs. Iceland
Denmark vs. Norway

March 9
USA vs. Norway
Iceland vs. Denmark

Group C
Team W L T GF GA GD Pts.
AUT 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
POR 1 0 0 2 1 +1 0
POL 0 1 0 1 2 -1 0
WAL 0 1 0 1 2 -1 0

March 4
Austria 2, Wales 1
Poland 1, Portugal 2

March 6
Austria vs. Poland
Portugal vs. Wales

March 9
Portugal vs. Austria
Poland vs. Wales

Earned 13 of her 17 career caps in 2008, seven of them as a substitute during the Achieve Your Gold Tour following the Olympics … In 2006, she was on the roster for the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea, where she earned her first two full National Team caps … Trained with the USA during 2007 Residency Camp … Returned to training with the USA in 2008, and made the roster for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, playing in two matches … Youth National Teams: Came off the bench in all four games at the 2004 Nordic Cup while helping the U.S. U-21s to the title in Iceland … Member of the U-19 player pool in 2001-2002. First Appearance: November 2, 2006, vs. the Netherlands … First Goal: None.
Taken 21st overall in the 2009 WPS General Draft by Sky Blue FC for the inaugural season … Played in Sweden with Bälinge IF in 2006, where she was named Uppland Forward of the Year, and with AIK in Stockholm in 2007 … Helped the New Jersey Wildcats to the 2005 W-League championship, earning Offensive MVP honors in the championship … On the youth level, she played for the Solar `84 and Defeeters `84 club teams ... Led club team her junior year with 61 goals.
Full name is Kacey Dell White … Hobbies include any outdoor activities, reading and listening to music … Athlete she most admires is Kurt Warner … Her biggest sports thrill were scoring two goals in her first youth international match against Finland, but more recently, it was earning her first cap, walking out to the FIFA anthem (which she’s always wanted to do) and singing the National Anthem … Her father, Craig, played soccer at Rockford College and Midwestern State and professional soccer for the Denver Avalanche … Her mother, Julie, played basketball at Midwestern State University … Says her parents have had the greatest influence on her athletic career … Can count to 10 in 10 different languages … Was active in FCA and ACC Outreach … Volunteered with the Gatorade Get Kids in Action program … If she wasn’t playing soccer, she would like to go to Medical School or be a Special Agent in the FBI or CIA … Majored in exercise and sports science.
Played at North Carolina from 2002-2005 and won a NCAA title in 2003 … Scored 102 career points on 22 goals and 58 assists … Named Second-Team All-ACC as a senior in 2005 … Earned MVP honors at the 2005 ACC tournament … Started all 25 games, tallied a team-best 25 assists and added eight goals … In 2004, she was named First-Team All-ACC and led the Tar Heels with 14 assists … Also scored five goals while starting all 23 games … As a sophomore in 2003, she was named First-Team All-ACC and scored six goals with 16 assists while playing in 27 games and starting 26 … As a freshman, she scored three goals with three assists while playing in 22 games, starting seven, as a freshman …  A Parade and McDonald’s High School All-America selection at Grace Preparatory Academy … A 2001 NSCAA All-America … Played basketball and ran track in high school … In hoops, she was a First Team All-District twice and defensive player of the year twice, All-State honorable mention twice and captain of the team two years … She made All-State Tournament one year and led the area in assists and steals … Played on teams which won two district titles, one regional title and finished as the state runner-up once … Had success running track as well, winning state titles as a senior in the 800 meters, 1600 meters and on the 4x400 relay and was the high point scorer at the state championship meet … Won the same three events at the district meet, setting records in two of them, was the high point scorer and also finished third in both the pole vault and high jump.
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