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WNT Set to Face Germany on May 22 at Cleveland Browns Stadium

U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Cleveland, Ohio
Friday, May 21, 2010

WOMEN’S WORLD POWERS CLASH IN CLEVELAND: The eyes of the women’s soccer world will be on Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday, May 22, as the world’s top two women’s soccer nations (according to the latest FIFA rankings) meet at 6 p.m. ET at Cleveland Browns Stadium in a match televised live on ESPN2. The clash between the USA and Germany marks the first meeting in the United States between the two perennial powers since the Germans took down the USA in the semifinal of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The match will be the seventh international for the U.S. women this year (tickets) as preparations continue for the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, which will serve as Women’s World Cup qualifying, to be held in late October/early November with dates and venues still to be determined. Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) will be taking the weekend off from competition so none of the players will be missing any club matches. While U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has called in 22 players for the match, she will name 18 to suit up against the Germans. Since coaching her first game for the United States in January of 2008, Pia Sundhage has compiled an overall record of 46-1-3 with the only loss in regulation time coming in the first game of the 2008 Olympics. She coached her 50th match for the USA in Sandy, Utah, on March 31 against Mexico, a wild 1-0 win played in ankle-deep snow.

U.S. WNT 2010 Schedule & Results

Date Opponent Time / Result TV / U.S. Scorer(s) Venue
Feb. 24 Iceland 2-0 W Own Goal, Cheney VR de SA, Portugal
Feb. 26 Norway 2-1 W Wambach (2) Olhao, Portugal
March 1 Sweden 2-0 W Cheney (2) Ferreiras, Portugal
March 3 Germany 3-2 W Lloyd, Wambach, Cheney Faro, Portugal
March 28 Mexico 3-0 W Rodriguez, Boxx, Cheney San Diego, Calif.
March 31 Mexico 1-0 W Wambach Sandy, Utah
May 22 Germany 6 p.m. ET ESPN2 Cleveland, Ohio

Current FIFA World Ranking: 2
USA overall record vs. Germany: 16-4-4
Last Meeting vs. USA: March 3, 2010 (a 3-2 U.S. win in Faro, Portugal at the 2010 Algarve Cup Final)
Head Coach: Silvia Neid
Key Players: GK Nadine Angerer, M Simone Laudehr, M Kerstin Garefrekes, F Inka Grings, F Brigit Prinz

USA vs. GERMANY Fast Facts: While the USA is without several key players due to injuries – Carli Lloyd (ankle), Tobin Heath (ankle), Kelley O’Hara (foot) as well as missing Lauren Cheney (personal commitment) -- Germany is also without several of their top players – most notably Fatmire Bajramaj, Babett Peter and Anja Mittag -- due to the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final that pitted Turbine Potsdam against Olympic Lyon of France on May 20 … Potsdam won a thriller in penalty kicks to take the European title … Otherwise, Germany’s roster for the match is similar to the one the USA faced in the Algarve Cup Final last March 3 as Silvia Neid will have nine of the players who played in that match available for selection … Germany’s roster is stocked with players who rolled to the 2008 UEFA Women’s Championship, defeating England 6-2 in the final … The USA’s 18-4-4 record against Germany includes two wins against the former West Germany, coming in 1988 and 1990 … Since 2000, the USA is 8-1-3 against Germany … The U.S. is the only country in the world with an all-time winning record against the Germans … Aside from Ali Krieger, who plays her club soccer for FFC Frankfurt, which placed six players on Germany’s roster for this game, midfielder Shannon Boxx is the only player on the U.S. roster who has experience playing in Germany, doing a stint with Saarbrucken in 1999-00 … Germany’s most recent victory against the USA (that was not after penalty kicks) came in the semifinal of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 3-0 triumph in Portland, Ore. … Since then, the U.S. has won four games and the teams have tied twice, although Germany did triumph in the penalty kick shootout in the 2006 Algarve Cup final after the 0-0 draw through regulation … Germany’s Birgit Prinz is the third all-time scorer in women’s soccer history with 126 goals, just three short of Kristine Lilly … Euro 2009 star Inka Grings has scored 57 goals in her international career and was the leading scorer in the Women’s Bundesliga this year with 28 goals … At the 2010 Algarve Cup, Germany scored 16 goals and allowed zero in wins over Denmark, Finland and China before falling in the championship game to the USA.

FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD RANKINGS: The USA and Germany are the world’s top two ranked women’s national teams. Following are the top-10 women’s national teams in the world according to FIFA, along with their ranking points in parentheses: 1. USA (2227), 2. Germany (2158), 3. Brazil (2124), 4. Sweden (2064), 5. Japan (2015), 5 Korea DPR (2015), 7. Norway (1991), 8. France (1969), 8. England (1969), 10. Canada (1947).

EYE TOWARDS GERMANY: As the calendar moved to 2010, the focus has shifted squarely on qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. 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 say about that. There is no doubt, however, that the Germans will run a fantastic Women’s World Cup, scheduled for June 26-July 17, 2011, in nine cities spread out all over Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen. 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.

ROCKING CLEVELAND AGAIN: While Ohio has hosted quite a few Women’s National Team games (10 to be exact), this will be just the second match for the USA in Cleveland. The first game came in June of 2007 when the USA defeated China 2-0 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Abby Wambach scored both goals in the hard-fought match that served as preparation for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup that was held in China. Current U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage was actually at the game, but she was on the opposite bench as an assistant coach for the Chinese. Only seven of the 13 U.S. players who played at Cleveland Browns Stadium that day are on the roster for this match. Although the U.S. team does not feature any Cleveland natives, it does have one Ohioan in defender Heather Mitts from Cincinnati. Cincinnati is a bit of a drive from Cleveland, but there still could be a good number of Mitts fans in the stadium on game day.

WAMBACH RISING ON ALL-TIME GOAL SCORER LIST: Abby Wambach is currently sitting on 105 career goals and needs just more to move past the legendary Michelle Akers into sole possession of third place on the USA’s all-time scoring list. Currently, the list goes like this: Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (129), Michelle Akers (105) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100). Wambach is within striking distance of Lilly, although the U.S. veteran’s recent call-ups may give her the chance to increase her total. With Germany’s Birgit Prinz certainly playing at least through the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she has a good chance to catch or pass Hamm, while Wambach would have some work to do to surpass 150 goals, especially with the national team schedule scaled back now due to WPS. Wambach has scored against Germany in the most recent two games between the countries, which were her first two goals against Germany in her international career.

SUNDHAGE AND NEID MEET AGAIN: The international playing careers of U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage and Germany head coach Silvia Neid ran somewhat parallel courses with the Swedish international and German international crossing paths on more than several occasions. None was bigger than in first round play at the 2005 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sweden. In its first game of the tournament, Sweden had been upset 1-0 by Brazil and was on the verge of elimination in its own country when it fell behind Germany 2-0 after 42 minutes. The Swedes mounted a furious comeback in the second half, scoring three times, including an 80th minute penalty from Sundhage that tied the score. Malin Andersson scored the dramatic winner in the 86th minute. Both Sundhage and Neid played the entire 90 minutes. Both teams would eventually advance out of the group, but Sweden fell in the quarterfinal to China in penalties and the Germans advanced to the championship with consecutive wins against England and China, only to fall to Norway 2-0 in the title game. Sundhage and Neid both played in the 1996 Olympics, which marked the final international matches for both players, who then launched what have become extremely successful coaching careers. Neid’s 48 goals are still fifth in Germany history while Sundhage’s 71 are second in Swedish history.

U.S. WNT head coach PIA SUNDHAGE
On Germany’s playing style:
“I’m very impressed with the way Germany solves the flank play. They have a solid defense and I would say it’s a little conservative and compact but the interesting thing is how they transition from defending to attacking. They have some personalities in their flank players and they can switch sides and that makes a difference. All of the sudden our left back is dealing with a different player with different qualities. When they link up with the forward they’re hard to defend. When you play against them you have to rethink things because they swing the ball around. You have to stay focused at all times and work with the back four because [Germany] is so good in the attacking third. I also think that they connect well with wall passes and diagonal runs, and they have a lot of options going into the attacking third. They’re very interesting.”

On the team’s mindset heading into Saturday’s match:
“Our team is full of true competitors, and I think the German team is as well. We are excited about the opportunity. We’re ranked No. 1 and they’re No. 2 right now so it’s very exciting for us to get that kind of quality match and I think both teams love playing against each other and hate playing against each other at the same time. In turn, it makes us each better and stronger.”