U.S. Women's National Team
Olympic Qualifying Notes from San Jose, Costa Rica
Saturday, Feb. 28, 2004
U.S. WOMEN PREPARE FOR "LEAP DAY" GAME VS. MEXICO
or couches in the lobby pecking away at their keyboards.
USA vs. MEXICO PREVIEW
painfully…on two own goals. The USA has won each of the 10 meetings against Mexico, but one of the closest ever matches was the most recent, the two-goal
victory in Dallas last November. The USA defeated Mexico, 3-2, in December of 2000 in Houston. Outside of Texas, the USA has defeated Mexico by an average of
7-0, which includes a 5-0 win on Sept. 7, 2003, before the 2003 Women's World Cup.
MEXICO ON THE RISE
head coach Leo Cuellar's team has looked impressive in Costa Rica, taking apart its first two opponents by pounding in 13 goals (just two less than the USA), many coming off classy combination play. Former Atlanta Beat player Maribel Dominguez and Patricia Perez, a pair of shifty attackers, have combined for 10 of Mexico's goals while feisty UCLA star Iris Mora is always dangerous. Mexico also has a highly skillful midfield featuring the diminutive but crafty Monica Vergara. Mexico's defense is anchored by Monica Gonzalez, a former Notre Dame star and Boston Breakers player. Tall and rangy, the Mexican team captain will be a key to slowing the U.S. attack. Jennifer Molina, a former Colgate University player from Methuen, Mass., is probably the best women's goalkeeper in Mexican history. Both of her parents were born in Mexico City. Mexico features five Mexican-American players who played youth and/or college soccer in the United States.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, APRIL
The U.S. players celebrated April Heinrichs' 40th birthday last Friday by dressing in all black and wearing homemade black veils, holding a mock wake at lunchtime, and sung the birthday song in a somber tone as the 40-years-young coach walked into the lunch room. The team then sang the birthday song with their regular gusto as two cakes were brought in by the hotel staff, and Joy Fawcett's middle daughter Carli helped Heinrichs blow out the two candles, one with a 4 on it and the other with a 0.
COFFEE CONNOISSEURS IN COSTA RICA
Several players went for a quick shopping trip on Saturday afternoon in search of the strong local coffee blends as gifts for those back home (and perhaps for themselves on a morning that features an early training session). The players were searching for a particular brand that they heard was particularly good, but could only find four bags of it at a local store. Typical of the eager and kind Costa Rican shopkeepers, the woman behind the counter offered to order more. The U.S. players ordered around 40 bags, which the shopkeeper will deliver straight to the team hotel next week.
SHE SAID IT:
Mia Hamm to a Haitian defender who insisted on giving the U.S. forward some "up close and personal" attention during the first half of the USA's 8-0 win last Friday.
"Listen, if you're going to keep holding me like that, I might as well introduce myself. I'm Mia."