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Ellis Names U.S. WNT Roster for 2015 Algarve Cup

CHICAGO (Feb. 21, 2015) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named a 25-player roster that will travel to the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal. It will be the USA’s 20th trip to the Algarve Cup. Before the competition begins, Ellis will name 23 players to the tournament roster to face Norway, Switzerland and Iceland in Group B.

The roster includes 22 of the 24 players that were in Europe for the USA’s recent matches against France and England, with midfielder Megan Rapinoe, defender Christie Rampone and goalkeeper Hope Solo. After a formal review by U.S. Soccer, Solo was reinstated to the squad after serving a 30-day suspension last month.

This year’s tournament will run from March 4-11, and the U.S. team will depart for Europe on Feb. 22. The majority of the games will be played at small venues across the Algarve region on the southern coast of the country, with several matches at the 30,000-seat Algarve Stadium. The placement matches will take place on March 11.

The USA will face 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup participant Norway on March 4 (2 p.m. ET) at the Municipal Stadium in Vila Real de San Antonio, which sits right on the border with Spain. The USA then takes on Switzerland, which will play in its first Women’s World Cup this summer, on March 6 (12 p.m. ET), also in Vila Real de San Antonio. The U.S. finishes group play on March 9 against Iceland at Municipal Stadium Lagos (1:30 p.m. ET), which is in the western part of the Algarve region.

The USA’s first two matches and its placement match on March 11 (time TBD) will be shown live on FOX Sports 1. Fans will be able to follow the U.S. matches on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp. Highlights will be available ussoccer.com. For the entire tournament schedule, please visit the Algarve Cup tournament page on ussoccer.com.

Six of the world’s top-10 ranked teams are in this year’s Algarve Cup, including the top five. Brazil, which is currently ranked eighth, will be participating for the first time. Eleven of the 12 participating countries are ranked in the top-20 in the world.

“The value of the Algarve Cup is of course great games against top teams in a tournament format without much rest,” said Ellis. “In any year, this tournament presents great challenges, but as we continue to progress towards the World Cup, we want to get tested at the highest possible levels. Our opponents at this tournament give us another opportunity to gauge our depth and fitness.”

Group A features Germany, Brazil, Sweden and China PR. Group C features host Portugal, Japan, France and Denmark.

This will be the 22nd edition of the Algarve Cup and for the first time in 14 years, it will undergo a change in the competition format. When the Algarve Cup expanded from eight to 12 teams in 2001, a Group C was created that generally consisted of lower-tier teams that were eligible to compete only for spots in the placement matches for seventh, ninth and 11th place.

This year, for the first time, all 12 teams will be competing for the tournament title. The final will be contested by the two group winners with the most points (or if all three group winners are tied on points, the top two will be determined by a series of tiebreakers). The third-place match will feature the third-best group winner against the best second-place team from the three groups.

In addition, the fifth-place match will be played between the two remaining second-place teams; the seventh-place match between the two best third-place teams; the ninth-place match between the remaining third-place team against the best fourth-place team; while the 11th-place match will feature the remaining two teams that finished fourth in their groups.

The U.S. Women have won the Algarve Cup a record nine times, including an unprecedented three straight championships from 2003-05. The USA made the championship game for nine consecutive years from 2003-11 and most recently won the tournament in 2013, defeating Germany 2-0 in the final on two goals from Alex Morgan. Last year, the USA had its worst finish ever, taking seventh place with a 3-0 win against Korea DPR.

Eighteen players from last year’s Algarve Cup roster return, many of whom have played in numerous Algarve Cup tournaments.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (10): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)

Additional Notes:

  • Christie Rampone and Megan Rapinoe return to the roster after overcoming injuries that caused them to miss the USA’s two-game European tour in early February, while Hope Solo returns after serving her suspension.
  • The USA has a 53-12-10 record all-time at the Algarve Cup and has scored 165 goals while allowing 61.
  • U.S. forward Abby Wambach comes into the tournament with 177 career goals, 21 of which have been scored at the Algarve Cup in 10 tournaments. Wambach is the top Algarve Cup scorer in U.S. history, having found the net eight more times than Kristine Lilly’s 13 scores.
  • Rapinoe and Lori Chalupny head into the tournament with 96 caps each and both could earn their 100th if they play in all four matches.
  • U.S. midfielder Heather O’Reilly heads into the tournament with 215 career caps and earned her 200th last year at the Algarve Cup. O’Reilly will be playing in her 13th Algarve Cup and made her U.S. debut at the tournament in 2002 at the age of 17.
  • Four other players made their WNT debut at the Algarve Cup: goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (2013), defender Whitney Engen (2012), defender Rachel Van Hollebeke (2008) and forward Amy Rodriguez (2005).
  • U.S. captain Rampone, who currently is the second most-capped player in U.S. history with 304, will lead the U.S. team that features 10 defenders. Rampone will be playing in her 14th Algarve Cup.
  • Midfielder Carli Lloyd was the MVP of the 2007 Algarve Cup after scoring in all four games that year. She also scored three goals in the 2010 tournament and has 10 goals in total at the Algarve Cup. That ranks third among active players behind only Wambach (21) and Alex Morgan (11).
  • Defender Ali Krieger (2013) and midfielder Tobin Heath (2008) scored their first WNT goal at the Algarve Cup. Both against China PR.
  • U.S. midfielder Lauren Holiday missed last year’s tournament due to a family commitment. She has scored six goals in this tournament, as has O’Reilly.
  • The tiebreakers within the groups are as follows: 1) head-to-head result, 2) goal differential, 3) goals scored, 4) best Fair Play ranking from the group matches and 5) best FIFA ranking.
  • If two or more teams have the same points in different groups, the tiebreakers to determine the placement matches will be: 1) goal differential, 2) goals scored, 3) best Fair Play ranking from the group matches and 4) best FIFA ranking.
  • Each team is allowed six substitutions per game using four stops during the match. However, when the second half starts, each team can only make three stops to perform a maximum of six substitutions.
  • There are no suspensions for yellow card accumulation during the tournament, but an ejection during the tournament will result in a one-game suspension.

WNT Caps Off European Trip with 1-0 Victory against England

MILTON KEYNES, England (Feb. 13, 2015) – Alex Morgan scored the 50th goal of her career and the U.S. Women’s National Team notched its first win of the year, defeating No. 6 -ranked England 1-0 in front of 14,369 spectators at stadiummk. 

The USA now looks ahead to the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal, opening against Norway on Wednesday, March 4 (2 p.m. ET; FOX Sports 1). The WNT’s first home game of the year is April 4 against New Zealand at Busch Stadium in St. Louis (live on FOX Sports 1), where more than 28,000 tickets have already been sold (TICKETS).

The U.S. improved to 8-3-1 all-time against England. Seven of those eight wins have come by shutout.

The United States had many other moments to add to the scoring column, earning 10 corner kicks and a significant advantage in possession. However, the U.S. could not quite capitalize and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley had a strong performance that included five saves.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Alex Morgan (Lauren Holiday), 25th minute: Morgan Brian started the sequence with a quick pass from the right flank to Holiday, who then crossed left-footed to Alex Morgan in the middle of the box. Morgan rose over England captain Steph Houghton and headed the ball toward the left of the frame. Goalkeeper Karen Bardley got her right glove on the shot, but it was not enough to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line as the USA scored the only goal it would need. USA 1, ENG 0 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL) 

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
ENG – Steph Houghton, 21st minute: In one of the USA’s first attacking sequences in the first half, Morgan Brian collected the ball at the edge of the box and ripped a shot. However, England’s captain Houghton lunged in for the block and denied the opportunity. 

ENG – Karen Bardsley, 40th minute: USA right back Ali Krieger received the ball from Abby Wambach at the edge of the box and tried to sneak a shot past Bardsley at the near right post, only to see Bardsley cover the space well for the save.

ENG – Steph Houghton, 45th minute, +1: Left back Meghan Klingenberg crossed a dangerous ball into the box with Abby Wambach lurking in front of the goal. Instead, Houghton positioned herself in between to deflect the cross just wide right of the frame.

USA – Ashlyn Harris, 56th minute: Until this point, England was without a shot on frame, but Fran Kirby ended that stretch with a pacey strike from well outside the box. Harris stretched for the clutch save, parrying the ball just enough to push it off the crossbar. That left a rebound opportunity, which Jodie Taylor got on the end of and placed into the back of the net. However, the assistant referee ruled that Taylor was offside, nullifying the goal.

ENG – Karen Bardsley, 62nd minute: Alex Morgan looked to add to her goals total, escaping some contact from Laura Bassett and finding enough space to let off a left-footed shot toward the right post. Morgan did not quite get everything behind it, and Bardsley collected with the save to her left.

USA – Ali Krieger, 90th minute, +4: England had one final moment to squeeze out an equalizer, but on Eniola Aluko’s cross from the right side into the six-yard box, Krieger headed clear to maintain the shutout.

Milestone Watch:

  • With her 50th goal, Alex Morgan is now the 10th WNT player to reach that milestone. Morgan is now three goals behind ninth-place Carin Gabarra (53 goals from 1987-1996).
  • Abby Wambach became the sixth WNT player to earn 200 starts, joining Kristine Lilly (330), Christie Rampone (270), Julie Foudy (260), Mia Hamm (247) and Joy Fawcett (234). Wambach has now earned 234 caps, which also ranks sixth all-time.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. WNT returns to action at the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal, starting against Norway on Wednesday, March 4. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. ET at Vila Real de San Antonio.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram 

Additional Notes:

  • Head coach Jill Ellis made two starting lineup changes from the USA’s previous match against No. 3-ranked France.
  • Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris earned her second straight cap and appeared for the sixth time in her career.
  • The back line included the center back pairing of Becky Sauerbrunn and Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg on the left and Ali Krieger on the right. Krieger earns her first start of the year after coming off the bench against France.
  • The midfield in the USA’s 4-4-2 included Lauren Holiday and Morgan Brian in the center, Carli Lloyd on the left and Christen Press on the right.
  • Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach were paired up top. Wambach, who was a second-half sub against France, wore the captain’s armband.
  • Defender Crystal Dunn made her first appearance of the year and collected the 24th cap of her career, replacing Klingenberg in the 79th minute.
  • In the waning moments, Amy Rodriguez entered for Morgan in the 90th minute and Kelley O’Hara replaced Press in the second minute of stoppage time. 

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. England
Date: Feb. 13, 2015
Competition: International Friendly 
Venue: stadiummk; Milton Keynes, England
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Attendance: 14,369
Weather: 41 degrees; Scattered clouds 

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

USA – Alex Morgan (Lauren Holiday) 25th minute 

Lineups:
USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 11-Ali Krieger, 6-Whitney Engen, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 25-Meghan Klingenberg (22-Crystal Dunn, 79); 23-Christen Press (5-Kelley O’Hara, 90+2), 15-Morgan Brian, 12-Lauren Holiday, 10-Carli Lloyd; 13-Alex Morgan (8-Amy Rodriguez, 90), 20-Abby Wambach (capt.)
Subs Not Used: 7-Shannon Boxx, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 14-Julie Johnston, 16-Lori Chalupny, 17-Tobin Heath, 19-Rachel Van Hollebeke, 21-Alyssa Naeher, 26-Tori Huster
Head coach: Jill Ellis

ENG: 1-Karen Bardsley; 2-Alex Scott, 5-Steph Houghton (capt.), 6-Laura Bassett (19-Jessica Clarke, 90), 3-Demi Stokes (14-Alex Greenwood, 70); 7-Jordan Nobbs (16-Fara Williams, 81), 8-Jill Scott, 4-Jo Potter (20-Eni Aliko, 79), 11-Karen Carney; 9-Jodie Taylor (22-Lianne Sanderson, 81), 10-Fran Kirby,
Subs Not Used: 12-Gemma Bonner, 13-Siobhan Chamberlain, 15-Casey Stoney, 17-Katie Chapman, 18-Jade Moore, 21-Carly Telford
Head coach: Mark Sampson 

Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 12 / 3
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 10 / 2
Fouls: 3 / 7
Offside: 1 / 1 

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Sandra Bastos (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Olga Almeida (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Joao Freire (POR)
Fourth Official: Lorraine Clark (SCO)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Christen Press

One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories - WNT Trailer

ussoccer.com’s “One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.” returns in Spring of 2015 with the Women’s National Team. Stay tuned for information about the full release schedule!

WNT Refocuses on England Clash

After a tough 2-0 loss to France in Lorient, the WNT traveled to England to prep for its second match of 2015 against the up-and-coming Lionesses. While the weather was cold, the USA’s mentality heated up as the team zeroed in on another match against one of the world’s top teams.

Quote Sheet: WNT vs. France - Feb. 8, 2015

U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis

On the match:
“We’re in the process of trying to get answers and playing different players and we knew France would be a fantastic test for us. At this point, we’re in the process of evaluating and also building and that’s why we play strong teams, to test ourselves. I don’t think we had great possession, we turned the ball over a lot, but still we had some quality chances, as did France.” 

On playing on artificial turf:
“You’ve got to get used to playing on turf. The tempo is quicker, and just being able to close down players is different because they can move the ball so quickly. We just have to train more on turf and get used it. The thing about France is their tempo and touches make you have to be better defensively, so it was a really good test for us.”                                     

On looking forward:
“It’s an evolution. There are certain phases we need to get better at, but we have to continue to grow as the rest of the world is continuing to be better. It’s a great game for the world to watch.” 

U.S. WNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn
On the match:
“I don’t think it necessarily felt like a loss. Focusing on the defense, I thought we were pretty strong. They had a few good chances, but they didn’t really break us down. They went around us a few times, but one goal was off a shot-cross, which you really can do nothing about, and the other one was marking in the box, and that’s completely trainable and fixable. It’s unfortunate that we lost the game, but going forward, I think we learned a lot about ourselves and I’m happy with the fight and commitment we showed.” 

U.S. WNT forward Christen Press
On the match:
“Of course it’s disappointing to lose. We had so much energy going into this game, the first game of 2015, which is a big year for us. The crowd was phenomenal and France just put in a quality performance tonight.” 

On the attack:
“We were a little stretched in transition. We want to have a big attacking shape, but that didn’t allow us to get numbers around the ball and have the support and connection (in the attacking third) that we are looking for.” 

On the takeaways from the match:
“It’s a big wake-up call for us. We like to win, we don’t like to have these kinds of performances, but we know how much work we have to put in. The drive and the motivation is there, it’s always there, but now we have even more reason to come back and get these guys again when it counts.” 

U.S. WNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris
On the match:
“It’s a good test for us. To play my fifth cap against France, one of the best teams in the world, was a good opportunity, but to be the best, you have to play the best and beat the best, and today the ball didn’t bounce our way. We know we have a lot to improve on, but it’s good to work this out now and build our momentum moving forward.” 

On the defense:
“There were a few times that we had some breakdowns that cost us goals and we have to be switched on and focused and be better in the box. Once we tighten those things up, we’ll be fine. If you look at it as a whole, there weren’t too many opportunities that we gave up. I thought our back line did really well. They were shooting from distance, but I’ll take that any day. They really didn’t get behind us much, but when they did, they made it count, and that’s something we need to take away from this match.”


The tenacious and skillful Sauerbrunn, who was a captain for the USA at the U-19 level, has shown the ability to play in the center and on the outside. She made her debut in Pia Sundhage's first match in 2008. Sauerbrunn started three matches during the USA's championship run at the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Vancouver, Canada. In 2011, she set personal highs with 12 games and eight starts while making her first Women's World Cup roster with a 90-minute performance in the semifinal victory against France.

Called into the U.S. team for the first time in January of 2008 and then earned a place on the roster for the Four Nations Tournament in China where she earned her first caps … Her first start and cap against Canada on Jan. 16, 2008, was also Pia Sundhage’s first match as head coach … Trained with the WNT in February of that year, but then traveled to Spain with the U.S. U-23s … Did not get another call-up to the senior team until after the 2010 WPS season and worked her way into the mix ... 2012: Saw the most action of her National Team career so far, playing 1,255 minutes over 22 games while making nine starts … Played both centerback and at outside back during the year … Made her first Olympic Team and played in three matches off the bench … Only played 38 total minutes, but was a sub in both the semifinal and the final to help seal those victories and the Olympic gold medal … Started and played every minute of three matches at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualiyfing tournament in Vancouver, Canada … 2011: Had her best year yet for the National Team, playing in 12 games while starting eight and made her first Women’s World Cup roster at the senior level … Played in just one match in Germany but had a stellar game while playing all 90 minutes during the semifinal victory against France, stepping up in a big way to replace the suspended Rachel Buehler … 2010: Played in five matches, starting three, and made the roster for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament, playing in one match … Was called into a training camp prior to the qualifying roster being named due to an injury to another player and ended up making the roster and solidifying her place in the national team pool … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-21s/U-23s in 2007 and 2008, winning Nordic Cup titles in both years … Co-captain of Nordic Cup champion U-23s in 2008 … Was a starter and co-captain for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand, playing every minute of all six games … Completed her U-19 career with 25 caps … Member of U.S. U-16s and U-17s from 2000-02 … Attended the U.S. U-14 I.D. camp in 1999 … First Appearance: Jan. 16, 2008, vs. Canada … First Goal: None.

2012: Allocated to FC Kansas City for the inaugural NWSL season … The only player to play every minute of the first two WPS regular seasons, a streak that was only broken when she left to play for the USA at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany … She played every minute of every match she played in her WPS career … Signed with Sky Blue FC as a free agent for the 2012 season before the league folded … 2011: Signed with magicJack and played in 13 regular season games, tied for most WPS matches played by a U.S. WNT player, while playing all 1,170 minutes (most by a WNT player) … Also played all 180 minutes over magicJack’s two playoff games … 2010: She started all 24 matches for the Washington Freedom and picked one up assist … Played all 120 minutes in playoff match against Philadelphia … 2009: Selected by the Washington Freedom as the third overall pick in the 2008 WPS General Draft ahead of the inaugural season … She started all 20 games and scored one goal, a spectacular header for the Freedom’s first WPS goal … Immediately after the 2009 WPS season, she played three months in Norway for Røa IL, a club right outside of Oslo … Her team finished first in the league and won the Norwegian Cup … She also played two rounds of UEFA Champions League, defeating Everton of England and FK Zvezda of Russia in two-leg series’ to get to the final eight … 2008: Played for the Freedom in W-League during 2008 … Played for the Richmond Kickers in the W-League in 2006-07 and the Boston Renegades in 2005 … Youth: Played youth club for J.B. Marine and helped lead her teams to four state cup titles and a 2000 regional championship.

Full name is Rebecca Elizabeth Sauerbrunn … Majored in English literature and composition at Virginia … Was midway through getting her master’s in education from UVA when WPS started, so she put her studies on hold … Loves country music … Loves science fiction, and her favorite book is “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card … Will name her first cat “Ender” after her favorite character in the book … Favorite all-time TV show is “Lost” … Favorite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption” … Loves going to movies and enjoys writing … Favorite soccer team is Arsenal but also really likes watching Real Madrid and Bayern Munich … Likes Liverpool centerback Martin Skrtel for some irrational reason … Favorite color is grey … The youngest of three children, she has two older brothers … Surprisingly good at video games, especially racing and adventure ones, especially Zelda … Has a dry, dark sense of humor that still often catches her teammates off guard … Favorite number is 11, and during the past 15 years she has either worn 11 or 22, but at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2012 Olympics she wore the number 4 and has remained in that number ever since.

 Played at Virginia from 2003 to 2007 … Played every game and all but 10 minutes during her college career … She became the Cavaliers’ only three-time NSCAA All-American and was named First-Team NSCAA All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2007 … Part of defensive unit that led the nation in goals against average (0.40) and set a school record with 15 shutouts in 2007 … NSCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2007 … As a junior in 2006, she was an NSCAA Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC … Started all 22 games and played every minute of the season … Named to the ACC All-Academic Team in 2006 … As a sophomore in 2005, she was Second-Team All-ACC, started every game and played every minute of the season … Had one goal and two assists … Her 2,289 minutes played set a Virginia record for a season … Red-shirted what would have been her sophomore season in 2004 to play in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup … As a freshman in 2003, she was an NSCAA First-Team All-American, Second-Team All-ACC and the ACC Freshman of the Year … Started all 21 games and played every minute of the season … High School: Attended Ladue High School where she was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American and a two-time Parade All-American … She was the 2003 Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year … First-Team St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro as a senior … She had 21 goals and 19 assists during her senior year … Was also conference player of the year in volleyball and basketball … St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scholar-Athlete Award winner.
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