CHICAGO (Thursday, April 24, 2003) — The U.S. Women’s National Team will face perennial South American champion Brazil on Sunday, July 13, 2003, at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The match will be the last of four internationals for the U.S. women during the WUSA season, leaving just two yet-to-be-announced games for the USA before the team leaves in mid-September for the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The match will kick off at 3 p.m. CT and will be televised live on ESPN.
Advance tickets ranging from $12 to $40 go on sale Friday (April 25) at 10 a.m. CT at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Tower Records and Dillards), by phone at 504-522-5555, and on-line at ussoccer.com. A limited number of On Field Seats, priced at $150, are also available. Information on special discounts for groups of 20 or more can be obtained by calling U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290.
The match is significant as it will be the final game before U.S. head coach April Heinrichs names the 20-player 2003 Women’s World Cup roster. It will also be the first game in the state of Louisiana for the U.S. Women over the 18-year history of the program, as well as the first-ever full international soccer match for a U.S. team in the state.
"Bringing the U.S. Women's Soccer Team to New Orleans helps focus international attention on our city. We greatly appreciate the Saints' efforts in helping to bring this economy-boosting sporting event to the Crescent City,” said New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, acknowledging the game’s co-host, the New Orleans Saints.
Brazil opened South American qualifying yesterday with a 3-2 win over Argentina in Peru in a four-team tournament that also features Colombia and Peru. The top two finishers in that round-robin tournament being held through April 27 in Lima will qualify for the Women’s World Cup. Brazil features four players currently competing in the WUSA in Katia, Pretinha and Sissi of San Jose CyberRays and Daniela of the San Diego Spirit. Katia, one of the world’s top strikers, scored 15 goals last season for San Jose.
“Brazil is a bit of a mystery as we haven’t seen them in two and half years since the Olympics,” said Heinrichs. “Our semifinal match in the Olympics was the most competitive game we’ve every played against Brazil. Obviously, several of their key personalities are benefiting from the WUSA and as a South American country, there is a strong possibility that they may be drawn into our group at the Women’s World Cup.”
Brazil has participated in all three Women’s World Cup, as well as the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, and has advanced to the semifinals in the last three world championships, falling to the USA in the last two. The USA and Brazil played an historic encounter on July 4, 1999, at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto in front of 73,123 fans with the Americans prevailing, 2-0, on goals from Cindy Parlow and Michelle Akers. The two teams met again in Canberra, Australia, at the 2000 Olympics as the U.S. won, 1-0, on a goal from Mia Hamm, which was the most recent meeting between the two teams. Brazil fell to China in the semifinal of the 1996 Olympics.
While Brazil does not play many matches outside its country, the USA and Brazil have a long history dating back to the first meeting in 1986, a 2-1 U.S. win. The USA has compiled a 14-1-2 record against Brazil over the years with the lone loss coming in 1997, a 1-0 setback in Sao Paulo. Brazil has actually made seven trips to the United States over the years, including the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Brazil has participated in two Nike U.S. Women’s Cups, finishing second in 1998 and 1999, and played in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000, where the USA and Brazil played to a 0-0 tie in group play, then met again in the championship game, a 1-0 U.S. win on a goal from Tiffeny Milbrett.
Brazil and the USA also met in group play at the 1991 Women’s World Cup, a 5-0 U.S. win, but the South Americans have improved dramatically since then and now are legitimate challengers for every world championship. The Brazilian Under-19 National Team, captained by Daniela and featuring numerous players that should face the USA in New Orleans, advanced to the semifinals of the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship, falling in penalty kicks to host Canada.
Should Brazil, a heavy favorite in Peru, qualify for the Women’s World Cup, and should Japan and South Korea, likely qualifiers, make it to the Women’s World Cup from the currently postponed Asian Qualifying, the Brazil match will mark the 11th game of the year for the USA against 2003 Women’s World Cup teams.