CHICAGO (Oct. 4, 2006) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan has named the 18-player roster that will face Iceland on Sunday, Oct. 8, at the University of Richmond Stadium in Richmond, Va. The match will be shown live on ESPN2 at 1:55 p.m. ET as the USA plays its final domestic friendly match of the year.
Tickets starting at $16 are on sale through ussoccer.com, all Richmond Ticketmaster outlets (including Hecht’s, Tower Records, and Ukrop’s Supermarket), and by phone at (804) 262-8100. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets by calling U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290. Fans can also purchase tickets at the University of Richmond Stadium box office on Sunday beginning at noon, but only cash will be accepted.
The U.S. women head into the game with a record of 12-0-3 in 2006 and riding a streak of 25 games in which they have gone unbeaten in regulation time (the USA did lose a penalty kick shootout to Germany in the 2006 Algarve Cup Final) that dates back to December of 2004.
The match against Iceland will be the last exhibition or “friendly” of 2006 for the U.S. team before it travels to South Korea for the 2006 Peace Queen Cup Korea, being held from Oct. 28-Nov. 4, in six cities. The USA will then return home to prepare for the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, which will serve as qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA’s matches in the Women’s Gold Cup will be held on Nov. 22 and 26 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
First round matches will be played in Miami, Fla., on Nov. 19, and the winners of those matches will advance to the all-important Women’s Gold Cup semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., taking on either Canada or the USA, who were given byes to that stage of the tournament. The winners of those semifinal matches will advance to China and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The tournament championship and third-place match will take place on Sunday, Nov. 26, at The HDC with the winner of the consolation game earning a spot in a two-game, home-and-away playoff against Asian third-place finisher Japan for the final berth to WWC ’07. The USA will not know its possible semifinal opponent until next Monday, Oct. 9, when CONCACAF determines the tournament’s match-ups through a draw.
For the Iceland match, Ryan named 17 of the 18 players who were on the roster for the 10-0 rout of Chinese Taipei last Sunday. The only change is forward Natasha Kai, who returns to the roster in place of forward Danesha Adams, a UCLA junior who returns to her college team after earning her first cap and getting her first career assist against Chinese Taipei [highlights].
Coming off her fifth career hat trick against Taipei, U.S. forward Abby Wambach is sitting on 62 career goals and leads the team in 2006 with 13 scores. With three goals last Sunday, Wambach moved past Shannon MacMillan into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time U.S. goal-scoring chart.
Ryan also named midfielder and Virginia Beach, Va., native Angela Hucles to the roster. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist, former UVa. star and the Cavaliers all-time leading scorer has played in three matches for the USA this year and got her first start since 2005 last Sunday against Chinese Taipei.
Defender Kate Markgraf also continues her comeback from the birth of her son on July 18 of this year. Last Sunday, Markgraf saw her first action since Oct. 23, 2005, when she started and played the first 63 minutes against Chinese Taipei.
While Adams returns to campus, Ryan named two other players to the roster who are currently involved in collegiate seasons in defender Stephanie Lopez and forward Megan Rapinoe, both from the University of Portland. Both Pilots saw action in the USA’s win on Sunday with Rapinoe notching her first two career goals at the senior level, knocking in the USA’s ninth and 10th scores of the game. Lopez played the second half at left back, earning her seventh cap.
The U.S. last appeared at University of Richmond Stadium on Sept. 20, 1998, when Michelle Akers scored in a 3-0 victory against Brazil. Overall, the U.S. has a 4-0-0 record in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including a pair of victories at George Mason in Fairfax in 1991 and 1994. The last appearance for the U.S. in Virginia came on June 26, 2005, a 2-0 victory against Canada at the Virginia Beach SportsPlex.
The USA and Iceland have met eight times in their history, with the USA holding a 7-0-1 edge in the series, but the meeting on Sept. 25, 2004, produced some shocking results. The U.S. won, 4-3, but Iceland scored its first-ever goals against the USA, all in a six-minute span. The USA has allowed three or more goals in a game just 14 times over the last 21 years, but never has the USA allowed three goals in such a short span. But the Iceland-USA series has a history of strange results.
The two teams played one of the most unusual two-game series in U.S. history in April of 2000 as the USA downed Iceland, 8-0, on April 5 using a team of mostly young players, then tied 0-0 three days later with a team of mostly veteran players as Iceland goalkeeper Thora Helgadottir, a Duke graduate, played a brilliant match. Of the first five matches, they have either been blowouts (6-0 and 8-0) or close games (two 1-0 wins and a 0-0 tie), but the last three have been 4-3, 3-0 and 3-0 U.S. victories. Those results have been positive for such a small soccer country, which features about 300,000 people and a very small number of registered female players, as well as a national stadium in the capital of Reykjavík that seats just 14,000.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry, Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (6): Lori Chalupny, Tina Frimpong, Stephanie Lopez, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone;
MIDFIELDERS (5): Angela Hucles, Carli Lloyd, Marci Miller, Leslie Osborne, Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): Natasha Kai, Kristine Lilly, Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley, Abby Wambach.
Head Coach: Greg Ryan (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Asst. Coach: Bret Hall (St. Charles, Ill.)
GK Coach: Phil Wheddon (Monroe, Conn.)
General Manager: Nils Krumins (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Team Physician: Dr. Jeff Higgs (Richmond, Va.)
Medical Trainer: Gigi Garcia (Miami, Fla.)
Massage Therapist: Scott Street (Atlanta, Ga.)