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U.S. Women's National Team Takes on Brazil on June 23 at Giants Stadium


U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
USA vs. Brazil
East Rutherford, N.J.
June 23, 2007

U.S. WOMEN FACE BRAZIL IN FIRST MEETING SINCE 2004 OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL GAME: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team plays the second match of the six-game 2007 Send-Off Series against Brazil (tickets) at Giants Stadium on June 23 (5 p.m. ET kickoff live on ESPN2). A venue steeped in WNT history The Meadowlands was the site of the landmark opening game of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 3-0 win over Denmark. The Send-Off Series will take the USA to the brink of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, being held Sept. 10-30 in China. The USA handily won its first three domestic games of 2007, defeating Mexico 5-0 on April 14 in Boston before downing Canada, 6-2, on May 12 in Frisco, Texas. Last weekend, the USA defeated China, 2-0, on two second half headers from leading scorer Abby Wambach. This game against Brazil contains some added intrigue as it will be the first meeting between the two teams since the memorable 2004 Olympic gold medal game, won 2-1 in overtime by the USA.

2007 Women’s National Team Send-Off Series
Date         Opponent         Venue (City)                                                                    Kickoff TV
June 16   China               Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio)        2-0 W
June 23   Brazil                Giants Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)                     5:00 p.m. ET ESPN2
July 14     Norway             Rentschler Field (East Hartford, Conn.)                    6:00 p.m. ET ESPN2
July 28     Japan               Spartan Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)      7:00 p.m. PT ussoccer.com MatchACCESS
Aug. 12    New Zealand  Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)                                           12:00 p.m. CT ESPN2
Aug. 25    Finland             The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)                  6:30 p.m. PT ESPN2

RYAN NAMES 18 PLAYERS TO SUIT UP FOR BRAZILMATCH: After training on the artificial surface of Giants Stadium on Friday, U.S. head coach Greg Ryan named the 18 players who will suit up on Saturday for the match against Brazil. Ryan named two goalkeepers, six defenders, five midfielders and five forwards, led by team captain Kristine Lilly and leading scorer Abby Wambach. Ryan made just one change from the 18 that suited up against China last weekend, replacing defender Marian Dalmy with defender India Trotter. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, who left the team last week after the death of her father, has re-joined the squad, but will not suit up. Should goalkeeper Briana Scurry get the starting nod, it will be the first time she has started two matches in a row since the end of 2004, when she played against Ireland on Oct. 23 and Denmark at Nov. 3, coincidentally, at Giants Stadium.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 21-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.);
DEFENDERS (6): 8-Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), 14-Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 24-India Trotter (Plantation, Florida), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.);
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

Brazil Women’s National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Andrea (Transp. Alcaine - Spain), 12-Barbara (Sport Club do Recife - Recife),
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Jatobá (Olympique Lyonnaise - France), 3-Aline (Unisantana - São Paulo), 4-Tania (SAAD E.C. - São Paulo), 5-Pitty (Cepe de Caxias - Rio), 16-Renata Diniz (Cepe de Caxias – Rio), 17-Dani (Santos F.C. - Santos), 19-Michele (Botucatú F.C. - São Paulo), 20-Bagè (Botucatú F.C. - São Paulo)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Maicon (SAAD E.C. - São Paulo), 7-Daniela (Unaffiliated), 8-Renata Costa (Botucatú F.C. - São Paulo), 10-Formiga (New Jersey Sky Blue - USA), 18-Ester (Cepe de Caxias - Rio);
FORWARDS (5): 9-Katia (Olympique Lyonnais - France), 11-Cristiane (VFL Wolfsburg - Germany), 13-Grazielle (Botucatú F.C. - São Paulo), 14-Cristiane Pezzato (VFL Wolfsburg – Germany), 15-Maurine (Cepe de Caxias - Rio)

JERSEY GIRLS REPRESENT: The U.S. team will take the field at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday against Brazil with three New Jersey products on the roster. Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick) and Carli Lloyd (Delran) are three of the finest players ever produced by the state, and all three figure to play major roles at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This will be the first time Lloyd and O’Reilly will get to play at New Jersey’s largest and most famous stadium while Rampone has played there twice. Check out a special feature on the Jersey Girls on tomorrow’s edition of ussoccer.com’s Studio 90.

LET’S PLAY TWO: The U.S. Women’s National Team match vs. Brazil (5 p.m. ET on ESPN2) will be the second game of a unique doubleheader also featuring the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. the Chilean U-20 Men’s National Team (2:15 pm ET on ussoccer.com’s MatchACCESS). Head coach Thomas Rongen’s U-20s are in the final preparations for the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Canada from June 30-July 22 and feature numerous rising young talents including team captain Freddy Adu, forward Josmer Altidore of the New York Red Bulls and forward Johann Smith of the Bolton Wanderers. The gates at Giants Stadium will open to the public at 2 pm and the USA-Chile U-20 game will kick off at 2:15 pm. Due to “major construction,” a fair, and other events that will be taking place at the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford during the June 23 weekend, fans are strongly encouraged to arrive early, especially those picking up will call tickets.

EIGHTH ON TURF: The match against Brazil will mark the eighth game in its history for the U.S. on an artificial surface. The USA has played indoors (at the Pontiac Silverdome on grass in 1993 in a test run for the 1994 World Cup) and on hybrid grass-plastic surfaces (in Tromso, Norway in 2000, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle), but rarely on a fully artificial surface. The USA’s first game on the fake stuff was not until 2003 when the USA defeated Ireland, 5-0, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. The USA has also played on artificial surfaces in Louisville, Ky. at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, in Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, PGE Park in Portland, Ore., Foxborough Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., as well as Giants Stadium.

U.S. WNT Quick Hits:

  • Defender Kate Markgraf has moved into a tie for 11th on the all-time U.S. caps list with Cindy Parlow at 158. 
  • Abby Wambach has moved past Shannon MacMillan into 6th on the all-time points list with 73 goals and 31 assists. With 73 goals, Abby Wambach is just two goals from tying Cindy Parlow for fifth on the all-time goals list. 
  • Kristine Lilly has 96 career assists, just four away from becoming just the second player in U.S. history to set up 100 goals. Mia Hamm (144 assists) is the other. 
  • Since the end of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women have gone 34-2-10 against teams that will be participating in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. 
  • The U.S. Women have played five games in New Jersey, and has a 3-1-1 record in the Garden State. This includes three previous games at Giants Stadium: a 2-1 loss to China in April before the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the historic 3-0 win over Denmark in the opening game of the 1999 Women’s World Cup and a 1-1 tie with Denmark in November of 2004 on the “Fan Celebration Tour” after the Olympics. 
  • U.S. head coach Greg Ryan made just two substitutions against China on June 16. The only game this year in which he made less was the 2-1 win over China on March 7 at the Algarve Cup, when he made just one. He’s made three or more subs in every other game in 2007. 
  • Heather O’Reilly, who scored against Canada on May 12, giving her 10 goals for her career, became the 21st player in U.S. history to score in double figures.

MISS IT? CHECK OUT WE ARE…THE U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ON USSOCCER.COM: U.S. Soccer has produced an in depth look at the U.S. Women's National Team in preparation for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. If you missed it on Fox Soccer Channel, you can still see it by visiting ussoccer.com’s Studio 90 to view the show in its entirety. The 30-minute program features personality profiles of the team’s players, behind-the scenes access and a look at day-to-day life for the U.S. women as they prepare for a six-game tour of the United States this summer in advance of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup (watch now). The show also features a look at the coaching style of Greg Ryan, who has guided the U.S. Women to a 34-0-7 record in three years as the team’s head coach.

ONE-V-ONE: Ever wonder what goes through a defender’s head when faced with a game-changing one-v-one situation? You can find out by reading “On An Island - Surviving the One-v-One Battle “ on ussoccer.com as several U.S. defenders talk about how to approach the most dangerous of situations and how to make them, well, not so dangerous.

USING HER HEAD: Those who know women’s soccer know that Abby Wambach is lethal with her head. But how many of her 73 goals has she scored with her noggin and how many have come with the feet? An analysis shows that she has scored 33 of her 73 goals with her head, a remarkable 46 percent. The USA is also 45-1-1 in games in which Wambach scores, which means, to no one’s surprise, it would be wise to get the ball to her head.

USA vs. Brazil History
Brazil has a long history of participating in FIFA world championships, playing in all four Women’s World Cups to date and all three Olympic Games. Brazil finished third in the 1999 Women’s World Cup and famously pushed the USA to the brink of defeat in the 2004 Olympic gold medal game before falling 2-1 in overtime on an Abby Wambach header. The USA has had much success against Brazil over the years, going 18-1-2 since the first meeting back in 1986 in just the 10th game in the history of the U.S. women’s program. Brazil’s lone win came in 1997 in Brazil, a 1-0 victory on a goal by one of Brazil’s most famous players, Roseli. While the USA has managed to win 18 of the 21 meetings, of the eight meetings since 2000, the USA has won by more than two goals just twice, and by just one goal four times, a fact that makes one wonder how Brazil would fare if its dearth of international matches wasn’t so glaring.

Olympic Redux
The USA played Brazil twice at the 2004 Olympics in Greece. Their first meeting came in the opening round when the Brazilians were clearly the better team in the first half, before the USA rallied to take back the game, scoring twice after the break for the 2-0 win. In the Olympic gold medal game, Brazil hit the post twice in the second half before a gutsy American team scored in overtime and held on for an historic victory for several now retired U.S. legends. The teams have met twice in Women’s World Cup play: a 2-0 win on July 4, 1999, in the semifinal of the Women’s World Cup and a 5-0 opening round win at the 1991 Women’s World Cup.

A Look at Brazil
This match is as much of a mystery as any the USA will play this year. The teams haven’t met since the 2004 Olympic gold medal game, just two months shy of three years ago, and Brazil has been all but inactive during that time. The Brazilians did attend the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea last fall, but sent a team without many first choice players. Still, Brazil managed to defeat South Korea, 1-0 and tie Italy 1-1, before losing to Canada 4-2 in a sloppy game. That tournament was preparation for the 2006 South American Women’s Championships, which served as qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The roster Brazil brings to the USA features 13 players that participated in qualifying, a tournament held in late November of last year in Argentina that saw Brazil lose to the hosts for the first time ever and finish second in the tournament, still good enough for a berth to China and WWC. At South American Qualifying, Brazil won Group B easily with a 4-1 victory over Paraguay, a 2-0 win over Peru, 6-1 thumping of Bolivia and a 6-0 rout of Venezuela. Those results put Brazil in the final phase, where they beat Uruguay and Paraguay by the same 6-0 score, before being surprised by the Argentines, 2-0. The loss hurt more than Brazil’s pride, as Argentina earned a berth to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing while Brazil faces a play-off against an African team to get in. Brazil is 8th in the latest FIFA women’s world rankings, but has no doubt fallen due to its lack of international play. Brazil will take much of this roster to the Pan-American games being held in Rio de Janeiro from July 13-25.

Russia Bronze
Four of Brazil’s players played against the U.S. U-20 team in the third-place match at the FIFA U-20 World Championship in Russia last fall. Most notably was goalkeeper Barbara, who saved two penalty kicks against the USA in the shootout during the third-place match, including the USA’s eighth shot, to give Brazil the bronze medal. Brazil’s captain at that tournament was Renata Costa, an excellent defensive midfielder, who is also an important player for the senior team.

Estrangeiras
Like their legendary men’s team, Brazil exports women’s soccer players too. Six of Brazil’s players are playing in Europe, including two at Olympic Lyonnaise (former WUSA star Katia and Jatoba), the club for which U.S. National Team players Hope Solo, Aly Wagner and Christie Welsh played in 2005. Katia, who missed the 2004 Olympics with a knee injury, but played for Brazil at the 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cups, was one of the top players in the WUSA while playing with the San Jose CyberRays, helping the team to the inaugural WUSA title.

No Marta, Yes Katia
Marta, the 2006 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year (despite not playing for Brazil during all of 2006) will not be with Brazil for this match as she is playing with her Swedish club Umea, one of the top teams in Europe. In fact, Umea rarely releases Marta for any international competition and did not allow her to play in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship last fall in Russia. Marta is scheduled to play in the Pan-Am Games, but will miss the first match due to her club commitments. Brazil still has two devastating forwards, however, in Cristiane, a veteran of the 2004 FIFA U-20 WC and the 2004 Olympics, and Katia, who has long been of the most dangerous one-on-one players in the world. Cristiane led Brazil during the South American qualifying tournament with 12 goals. Daniela was second with six. Both Katia and Cristiane are as dangerous on the ball as any forwards the USA has faced this year. Brazil also brings veteran midfielder Daniela Alves, who played with the San Diego Spirit in the WUSA, as well as long-time midfielder Formiga, who is playing in the W-League this summer for the New Jersey Sky Blue. Despite Brazil’s lack of international fixtures, the team has experience. Nine of the players on the roster played for Brazil in the 2004 Olympics and 11 played in the 2003 Women’s World Cup, meaning the Brazilians will in no way be intimidated by the world’s top-ranked team.

U.S. head coach Greg Ryan

On how facing a team like Brazil with its unique style can positively impact the development of the team:
“It’s very important because we’ve done very well against European teams and some of the Asian teams, and Brazil throws something at you that you don’t face (often), with so much skill and composure and creativity on the field. I don’t think we’ve played two strikers with the pace that we’re going to face tomorrow in Katia and Cristiane, and for the World Cup, they will have Marta probably playing attacking midfield underneath those two, so it’s a great experience (for the U.S. team).”

On how a game against a team like Brazil can help the USA grow:
“What you hope to get from these games is that it exposes any weaknesses you have, and Brazil is the kind of team that will expose problems on the field for us. Some of things you anticipate ahead of time, and you are thinking ‘ok, this may be a problem for us, let’s see if Brazil can expose it’. If it is, they will.”

On if Brazil is a contender for the Women’s World Cup title despite its lack of international matches recently:
“Absolutely. If the other players just defend and keep the score down, those three (Katia, Cristiane and Marta) will put the ball in the net.”

Stat of Note
Lindsay Tarpley is the only player in the history of international women’s soccer to score in an Olympic gold medal game and a FIFA youth world championship Final. She scored the eighth goal of her international career against Brazil in the 2004 Olympic Gold medal game, and scored the winning “golden goal” against Canada in overtime to give the USA a 1-0 win and the title at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.

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