On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9, the U.S. Women's National Team hit the field for the first time since the end of July, as U.S. head coach Greg Ryan put 22 players through a series of high-intensity short-sided games at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Midfielder Marci Miller and forward Danielle Fotopoulos were the only two players absent, as both participated in college matches. Miller, the head coach at Northern Illinois, led her Huskies in a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to the University of Buffalo. Fotopoulos, an assistant at Florida, saw her Gators shutout Vanderbilt, 3-0. Both will be present for the USA's double-day of training on Monday.
The U.S. team trained to the crunching guitar riffs during a sound-check for the Green Day concert being held later in the evening at the Home Depot Center and on a field covered with confetti, resembling an Argentinean First Division match, that had blown over from the concert festivities the night before.
Ryan will choose 18 players to suit up against Australia, nicknamed the Matildas, as the USA looks to avenge a 1-1 tie suffered during group play at the 2004 Olympics.
Australia, led by former WUSA players Joanne Peters and Cheryl Salisbury, and former WUSA coach Tom Sermanni, arrive in the United States on Thursday.
Ryan has a roster packed with veteran players such as midfielder Kristine Lilly, the USA's team captain who will be going for her 298th cap on Sunday, and rock-solid defender Kate Markgraf. Several young players also looking for a chance to shine include forward and high school senior Lauren Cheney, midfielder Carli Lloyd, and defender Amy LePeilbet. Several WUSA veterans will also be competing for some playing time in defender Kylie Bivens, a member of the 2003 Women's World Cup Team, midfielder Stacey Tullock and Miller.