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U.S. Women To Open 2009 Domestic Schedule With Olympic Semifinal Rematch Against Japan at Pizza Hut Park


CHICAGO (March 16, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will open its 2009 domestic schedule on May 20 with a match against surprise 2008 Olympic semifinalist Japan on Wednesday, May 20, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and fans can follow the action live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The game is the first in a two-game series. The U.S. will also host Japan on May 23 in Sandy, Utah, at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $80, plus special VIP On-Field seats for $125, go on sale to the public Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. CT through ussoccer.com, by phone at                1-800-745-3000        , all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Dallas Metroplex (including Fiesta, Macy’s and FYE stores), and the Pizza Hut Park ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call                312-528-1290        . Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages which include a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

As a sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Visa® is pleased to offer all Visa cardholders access to an advance ticket sale for this match before the sale to the general public. This advance sale starts Thursday, March 19, at 10 a.m. CT and runs until Saturday, March 21, at 8 a.m. CT at ussoccer.com. Visa will be the only payment method accepted through the Visa presale and is the preferred card of U.S. Soccer. Terms and conditions apply.

This marks the first meeting between the two countries since the dramatic 2008 Olympic semifinal encounter in Beijing, won 4-2 by the USA. The Americans fell behind 1-0 in that game, but stormed back to score four goals before Japan pulled a one back in stoppage time. The USA also edged Japan 1-0 in a must-win game during group play.

The game will mark the first international match during the inaugural WPS season, which begins March 29. Several Japanese players will also be playing in the league this year.

“These will be interesting games, not only because my coaching staff and I will get the chance to watch many players in the WPS before picking our roster, but also because of the way Japan played during the Olympics,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “The way they move the ball around is to be admired and emulated and, I am sure these will be very entertaining matches for the fans and the players.”

The USA’s last match in Texas was at Pizza Hut Park was a rousing 6-2 defeat of Canada on May 12, 2007. The U.S. Women have played seven matches in Texas, all at different stadiums, and Frisco will become the first repeat venue.

The USA and Japan have had a long history dating back to 1986, the second year of the U.S. program’s existence. The USA played Japan in the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cups as well as the quarterfinal stage at the 2004 Olympics. Japan has never defeated the USA, but tied three straight matches played between 2000 and 2004.

Japan is expected to feature its all-time greatest player, midfielder Homare Sawa, who is playing for the Washington Freedom in WPS. Midfielder Aya Miyama (Los Angeles Sol) and forward Eriko Arakawa (FC Gold Pride) also had excellent Olympic tournaments in China.

The U.S. team just completed another run to the final of the prestigious Algarve Cup, where Sweden edged the Americans on March 11 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in regulation. At the tournament, the U.S. posted victories against Denmark, Iceland and Norway as Hope Solo was named the tournament’s top player, allowing one goal in four games. The U.S. Women are scheduled to play two more domestic matches in July, which will be announced in the near future, and after that will not come together again until after the WPS season.

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