CHICAGO (Wednesday, March 12, 2003) – The U.S. Women's National Team will continue its 2003 Women’s World Cup preparations with a match on Saturday, April 26, against African champion Nigeria at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be televised live on ESPN at Noon ET and is part of a WUSA doubleheader featuring the host Washington Freedom taking on the Atlanta Beat at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Tickets for the doubleheader ranging in price levels from $20 to $40 go on sale Thursday (March 13) at 10 a.m. ET at all Washington-Baltimore area Ticketmaster outlets, at the RFK Stadium box office, on-line at www.ussoccer.com, and by phone at 202-432-7328 (Washington), 410-481-7328 (Baltimore), 703-573-7328 (Northern Virginia) and 800-551-7328 (out-of-state). Washington Freedom full season ticket packages (which include a ticket for the doubleheader) and group discounts are available through the Freedom at 202-547-3137.
The U.S. Women have played Nigeria just twice in their history, both coming in world championship events. The USA faced Nigeria in the second game of the first round at the 1999 Women’s World Cup, allowing a goal just seconds into the match before storming back for an historic 7-1 victory in front of a sold-out crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago. At one point in the game, the USA scored on five consecutive shots. The two teams also met in the “Group of Death” at the 2000 Olympics with the USA coming away with a 3-1 victory in Melbourne, Australia. Those two games are the only meetings with an African team in the 18-year history of the U.S. Women’s National Team program.
The April 26 match will be the fifth appearance for the U.S. Women at RFK Stadium, home of the WUSA’s Freedom and D.C. United of Major League Soccer. Long a popular venue for the U.S. men, this will be the first U.S. Women’s match at RFK since 1998, when the USA defeated New Zealand, 5-0, in the first part of a doubleheader that also featured the send-off match for the U.S. men to the 1998 World Cup. The U.S. WNT has won all four of their matches at RFK Stadium, playing there for the first time on Aug. 6, 1995, a sudden death overtime victory over Norway in the Nike U.S. Women’s Cup, which was also the first-ever live television broadcast of a domestic women’s match.
Nigeria will bring a strong team to Washington, D.C., as the Super Falcons qualified for their fourth consecutive Women’s World Cup this past December by winning the African Women’s Championships convincingly at home. The team’s run to the African title included a 5-0 victory over South Africa in the semifinals and a 2-0 triumph over fellow African qualifier Ghana in the championship game.
“We don’t play Nigeria often, but every time we do, you can see how much they’ve improved,” said forward Tiffeny Milbrett, who scored twice in the victory at Soldier Field. “It’s always exciting, and a bit nerve-wracking, to see how much better they are, because they have the potential to be one of the best teams in the world. It will be a great game for us, not only to face a different style of play, but also for Women’s World Cup preparation as we could face an African team in our group.”
The U.S. Women are currently in Portugal where they will begin play in the 2003 Algarve Cup on Friday (March 14) against Canada. The U.S. will also square off in the annual tournament against Norway on Sunday (March 16) and Sweden on March 18, before playing a placement game on March 20.