U.S. WOMEN AT BLACKBAUD STADIUM: The U.S. women have played twice previously in South Carolina, with both games coming at Blackbaud Stadium. The USA defeated Mexico 7-0, on Jan 12, 2002, in a driving rainstorm and then defeated Iceland 1-0, on Feb. 16, 2003, in a match that saw a first-minute goal from Mia Hamm stand up over 90 minutes.
CUELLAR “DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE”: Mexico shocked many in their home country by qualifying for the 2004 Olympics with a 2-1 victory over Canada in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica at the beginning of 2004. The win created a huge story back in Mexico, and much credit should be given to head coach Leo Cuellar, a former NASL star and captain of the Mexican National Team who earned 41 caps for his country. Cuellar played for the San Diego Sockers, the San Jose Earthquakes and the Golden Bay Earthquakes in the NASL, scoring 14 goals and picking up 54 assists in a career that spanned six years (1979-1984), when he played with a now-famous wild “afro” hairstyle. After six years of work, Cuellar put together a Mexican team that was fitter and more confident than ever before, with some talented players all over the field. With his qualification for the Olympics, Cuellar in a sense “bought” four more years of support as his squad shoots for the 2007 Women’s World Cup in China.
• Kate Markgraf is the only player to have played every minute of every match for the USA this year.
• The USA has seven players on the training camp roster with less than 10 caps, but eight players with 50 or more caps.
• U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has used 30 players in the USA’s eight matches this year. Nine of those players have played one match.
• Five players have received yellow cards this year, but no players have more than one.
• The USA’s last match against Mexico came on Dec. 8, 2004, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., a 5-0 U.S. win.
• U.S. head coach Greg Ryan will choose 18 players from the 24 in camp to suit up against Mexico. Only two of those players are looking for their first cap, Stacey Tullock and Nancy Augustyniak.
• Augustyiniak is getting married in Charleston in about two weeks. Markgraf got married in Charleston two years ago on Halloween.
• Like the last match in December, Mexico will be without it’s top two forwards in Maribel Dominguez and Iris Mora, who is playing her senior season for UCLA and has five goals and nine assists.
• The USA scored 41 goals against Mexico in the first five meetings between the two teams, but have scored 35 in the last 10 meetings.
• The USA has never played Mexico in Mexico. They have played 11 times in the USA, once in Haiti, once in Canada and twice in Costa Rica.
• Mexico is the first Spanish speaking country to qualify for a Women’s World Cup (1999) and an Olympics (2004).
: The U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Charleston, S.C., late, and some even later, on Monday night after the majority of the team had their flight delayed in Atlanta. Five players and some staff arrived around 11 p.m. (on a different flight), but the rest didn’t get in until close to 1 a.m. after their flight was held for two hours for a group of 80 people coming in from St. Thomas and returning home to Charleston. The U.S. players took the opportunity to have a casual dinner in Atlanta until the very tanned and courteous group from the Charleston Chamber of Commerce finally arrived at the gate. The U.S. team got to sleep in on Tuesday morning and held training at 1 p.m. on a muggy afternoon at the Patriots Point Athletic complex. The team ended training with a 20-minute scrimmage and one of the new arrivals, forward Heather O’Reilly, stamped her presence on the game with two goals. The U.S. team will train once a day for the next four days in preparation for Mexico (tickets) on Sunday, Oct. 23, at Blackbaud Stadium. The match kicks off at 1 p.m. ET (Live on ESPN2 and Telemundo), or follow live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
TRIO JOINS U.S. CAMP: O’Reilly, a junior at UNC where she has scored 14 goals and nine assists so far, will miss just one match, a Thursday tussle with N.C. State. Two more players joined the U.S. team on Monday, both from the San Francisco Bay area in former Santa Clara midfielder Leslie Osborne (10 caps) and former Stanford goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart (3 caps).
LILLY GOING FOR 299: U.S. captain Kristine Lilly will earn her 299th career cap when she hits the field against Mexico, putting her on the brink of the historic and near unthinkable 300 caps. The U.S. women have played 351 matches in their history. Lilly has played in 298 of them, about 85 percent. Lilly’s 24,091 career minutes are just under 2,000 minutes less than the COMBINED career minutes of all four of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s National Soccer Hall of Fame inductees: April Heinrichs, Shannon Higgins, Carin Gabarra and Michelle Akers. With 104 career goals, she is also nearing another milestone, as one more tally will tie her with Michelle Akers for second on the USA’s all-time list behind Mia Hamm. She is just four goals away from becoming the second-leading goal scorer in the history of women’s international soccer.
During the time Kristine Lilly has spent on the field for the U.S. Women’s National Team, you could have:
• Run 114 marathons (at 3:30 pace)
• Flown from California to China 25 times
• Watched 800 episodes of Seinfeld
• Played every minute for every U.S. player at every Women’s World Cup
• Driven across the United States eight times
• Juggled a soccer ball one million, four hundred-forty thousand times
• Flown to the moon and back, twice
• Climbed Mt. Everest 20 times
• Swam the English channel 40 times
• Watched her play 266 complete soccer matches
REDDICK FIRES UP COUGARS: U.S. defender Cat Reddick took some time out of her evening on Tuesday night to speak pre-game with the College of Charleston Cougars (the USA is practicing at their game field) before their big match against cross-town rival Charleston Southern, with the winner getting the much-coveted Silver Cup. Reddick spoke about how she missed college soccer, how the underclassmen needed to play for the seniors so they could go out winning their final match against their rival and how the best thing about competing was playing for your teammates. Final Score: College of Charleston 2, Charleston Southern 0. Big props to senior Kristin Rhyne for scoring both goals.