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U.S. Women Prepare for 2006 Peace Queen Cup Championship Match vs. Canada

United States Women’s National Team
Notes from Seoul, South Korea
2006 Peace Queen Cup
Nov. 3, 2006

U.S. WOMEN FACE CANADA FOR 2006 PEACE QUEEN CUP CHAMPIONSHIP: The U.S. Women’s National Team traveled almost 6,000 miles across the world for the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea and in the championship game will be playing...Canada. That’s akin to going on an Australian vacation and finding your next door neighbor in the adjacent hotel room. However, the USA-Canada rivalry has developed into a great one over the last few years and the match will surely be worthy of the final in this major competition. Canada wasn’t even supposed to be in this tournament, but when North Korea dropped out, the Canadians were invited to take their place and ran rough-shod over the Group A teams – South Korea, Italy and Brazil – to earn a spot in the title game. The USA and Canada could meet again in less than a month at the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, which will serve as Women’s World Cup qualifying for the CONCACAF region. Both the USA and Canada will play semifinal matches on Nov. 22 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and would meet in the regional championship match on Nov. 26 if both teams win their semifinal games. The teams will meet for sure on Nov. 4 at Seoul World Cup Stadium for the Peace Queen Cup title. Kickoff is for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. local time / 11:30 p.m. Friday ET.

THIRD FINAL FOR RYAN: This USA-Canada match will mark the third tournament final U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has coached with the USA, having led the USA to the 2005 and 2006 Algarve Cup championship games, both against Germany. The USA defeated Germany in the 2005 Algarve Cup Final and fell in penalty kicks in the 2006 title game after drawing 0-0 in regulation. The USA also played a de facto championship game in the 2006 Four Nations Tournament in China last January as the final group match between the USA and China decided the round-robin competition with the USA coming away with a 2-0 win.

JUST A JOG AND STRECH: The U.S. team did not train on the field on Friday, Nov. 3, instead they jogged and stretched at the hotel gym, loosening up for their fourth match in seven days. The game will surely be a test for both the USA and Canada, with the number of games in such a short period in addition to the fact that, like most USA-Canada clashes, the match will surely be physical and combative.

WE MEET AGAIN: The USA and Canada have already met one time this year, that being a 2-0 U.S. win on July 30 in Cary, N.C. The hard-fought match saw Abby Wambach score a penalty kick at the stroke of halftime while Natasha Kai added a goal in the 80th minute. Five players who played in that match for Canada are not on the Peace Cup roster; collegians Aysha Jamani and Amanda Cicchini and three players currently in a dispute with the Canadian Soccer Association: Christine Latham, Sharolta Nonen and long-time star and captain Charmaine Hooper. The USA will not have four players who played in that match, all forwards, in Christie Welsh, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe and most likely Abby Wambach, who sprained her ankle against the Netherlands in the last match.

USA Road to the Peace Queen Cup Final
Results – Group B            U.S. Goal Scorers
USA 1, Denmark 1             Kristine Lilly
USA 2, Australia 0              Kristine Lilly, Natasha Kai
USA 2, Netherlands 0       Lindsay Tarpley, Cat Whitehill

Canada Road to the Peace Queen Cup Final
Result – Group A                   Canada Goal Scorers
Canada 3, Italy 2                    Christine Sinclair (2), Jodi-Ann Robinson
Canada 3, South Korea 1     Christine Sinclair (3)
Canada 4, Brazil 2                  Christine Sinclair, Randee Hermus, Martina Franko, Rhiann Wilkinson

USA vs. CANADA HISTORY: The USA and Canada renew a rivalry in the Peace Queen Cup title game that has become as heated as any in the world, but it wasn’t always that way. It was certainly a one-sided affair for the first 15 years the teams played, as the USA racked up 21 straight wins and 22 victories in 23 games from 1986-2000, Canada has experienced a resurgence in the new millennium, one that has seen them move up to No. 10 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. In November of 2000, Canada picked up its first win over the USA in a decade and a half, but it has proven to be a blip on the radar, as the USA has won eight of the last 11 games (and six in a row) with two ties since then, and the one loss came with a very young team at the 2001 Algarve Cup. Still, all the matches in the last two years have been highly competitive (outside of a game in Washington, D.C., when Canada brought a young team), and the match will no doubt be a difficult one for both sides. The USA has defeated Canada in three CONCACAF qualifying events for the Women’s World Cup, winning the regional title games in 1991, 1994 and 2002, when the USA notched a dramatic sudden death overtime win on a goal from Mia Hamm on a muddy, fog-shrouded pitch at the Rose Bowl in the championship of the 2002 Women’s Gold Cup. In three of the last four meetings the USA has managed just two goals per game, but Canada has failed to score over those four matches. The match will mark the 37th meeting between the two teams, the second most of any opponent in U.S. Women’s National Team history. Only Norway (39) has played the USA more times. Amazingly, of the 36 meetings between the two teams, only four have been in Canada. Twenty-three of the games have been played in the USA and nine have been on neutral ground. The USA and Canada have played at least once a year every year since 1993.

U.S. Women's National Team Results vs. Canada from 2000-2006
Date              Score         U.S. Goal Scorers                   City                      The Skinny
May 7, 2000    4-0 W        Parlow, Foudy, Welsh, Milbrett  Portland, Ore.         Nike U.S. Women’s Cup
June 2, 2000    9-1 W       Fair (2), MacMillan, Parlow (3),   Sydney, Australia    Ouch
                                      Milbrett (3)
July 1, 2000     4-1 W        Milbrett, MacMillan (2), Hamm   Louisville, Ky.        Women’s Gold Cup
Aug. 20, 2000   1-1 T         Lilly                                       Kansas City, Mo.    Pre-Olympic tussle
Nov. 11, 2000  1-3 L         Milbrett                                   Columbus, Ohio      40th game in 2000
March 11, 2001 0-3 L          --                                          Lagos, Portugal      Young team at Algarve
June 30, 2001   2-2 T         MacMillan, Milbrett                   Toronto, Canada     First of two-game series
July 3, 2001     1-0 W        Milbrett                                  Blaine, Minn.           During WUSA season
Nov. 9, 2002    2-1 W (ot)  Milbrett, Hamm                       Pasadena, Calif.     Final of Gold Cup
March 14, 2003 1-1 T         Wagner                                  Olhao, Portugal       Algarve Cup
April 26, 2003    6-1 W       Foudy, Lilly, MacMillan (4)        Washington, D.C.   Canada had young team
Oct. 11, 2003    3-1 W       Boxx, Lilly, Milbrett                  Carson, Calif.         WWC 2003 Third-Place Match
Feb. 3, 2004     2-0 W        Tarpley, Fawcett                     Shenzhen, China     Four Nations Tourney
July 3, 2004     1-0 W         Mitts                                     Nashville, Tenn.      Mitts’ first goal
June 26, 2005   2-0 W        Chalupny, Welsh                     Virginia Beach, Va. First home win for Ryan
July 30, 2006    2-0 W        Wambach, Kai                        Cary, N.C.            Fourth straight shutouts vs. Maple Leafs

USA vs. CANADA PREVIEW: Canada dominated all three of its matches so far in the Peace Queen Cup, and with 10 goals is the highest scoring team in the tournament. Canada, however, gave up five goals in group play, tied with two other teams for second most in the tournament. Only South Korea gave up more with six. Group B proved to be much stingier in the goals department as just 10 were scored over the six matches. Group A featured 20 goals in its six matches. In Group A, only one team failed to score in a game, when South Korea lost to Brazil, 1-0. In Group B, there were shutouts in four of the six games and the Netherlands failed to score a goal in three losses.

Both Teams Having Excellent 2006 Campaigns
Canada has picked up some excellent results this year, beating Sweden and France in 2006 while compiling a 9-1-4 record. Canada’s only loss in 2006 is to the USA. The U.S. team is 15-0-4 in 2006 and 23-0-5 under head coach Greg Ryan. Nineteen of the 20 players on the U.S. roster have played in the Peace Queen Cup with the only exception being defender Amy LePeilbet, who is carrying a slight injury. USA-Canada games are never attractive affairs and one would expect this one to be similarly physical, with the USA’s backs and midfielders challenged to repel Canada’s long-ball style. Canada’s head coach, Even Pellerud, is one of just four coaches to win a Women’s World Cup title, doing so with his native Norway in 1995, and his team’s direct style of play is reflective of his Scandinavian background. Canada is always a tough team to score against, but if the USA can match the physicality of their northern neighbors, the USA’s superior speed and ball possession abilities have usually spelled victory.

Sinclair So Dangerous
The USA will certainly have to focus on containing star striker Christine Sinclair, the leading scorer in this tournament with six goals and scorer of a remarkable 39 goals in 2005 when she led Portland to the NCAA title and won the MAC Hermann Trophy in a landslide. The 2006 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year nominee is lethal in the penalty box, but has not scored on the USA since 2003 when she got her country’s lone goal in the USA’s 3-1 win in the Women’s World Cup third place match. Almost all of Canada’s players played college soccer in the United States, and two currently do, in Brittany Timko (a senior at Nebraska) and Robin Gayle (a junior at UNC).

U.S. head coach Greg Ryan on playing in a tournament final:
“It’s just another great experience for this young team and without Abby on the field, it means we’re even younger, so I think it’s a great opportunity. So far, whenever we’ve had a challenge in front of these players, they’ve gone after it. I am very confident that they will step up tomorrow and play great. The more (tournament finals) you get to play, the more experience you get for your players, you season the young players, and you get stronger. That process has been going on for a couple of years now and things continue to look good for us.”

U.S. Roster (Hometown - caps):
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn. -- 158), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash -- 34);
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo. -- 27/2), 8-Tina Frimpong (Vancouver, Wash. -- 16/0), 14-Amy LePeilbet (Crystal Lake, Ill. -- 23/0), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich. -- 151/0), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio -- 60/2), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J. – 153/4), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala. – 96/11);
MIDFIELDERS (6): 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va. – 57/5), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J. -- 18/1), 23-Joanna Lohman (Silver Spring, Md. – 7/0), 21-Marci Miller (St. Charles, Ill. – 11/0), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis. – 27/1), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif. – 106/21);
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii – 14/6), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn. – 316/115), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich. – 56/13), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y. – 82/64), 19-Kacey White (Arlington, Tex. – 1/0).

Canada Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Leisha Alcia, 22-Erin McLeod;
DEFENDERS (5): 4-Sasha Andrews, 9-Candace Chapman, 11-Randee Hermus, 7-Isabelle Morneau, 6-Sophie Schmidt.
MIDFIELDERS (9): 3-Melanie Booth, 10-Martina Franko, 2-Kristina Kiss, 8-Diana Matheson, 5-Andrea Neil, 14-Melissa Tancredi, 17-Brittany Timko, 13-Amy Walsh, 18-Robin Gayle.
FORWARDS (4): 15-Jodi-Ann Robinson, 12-Christine Sinclair, 19-Amy Vermeulen, 16-Rhian Wilkinson.

NOT FIRST TRIP TO SOUTH KOREA FOR RYAN: While this is the first trip to South Korea for the U.S. Women’s National Team, it is not the first trip for U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan. In 1979, while playing in the NASL for the New York Cosmos, Ryan came to Asia on a post-season tour with the Cosmos that took the team, in part, to Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and South Korea. The Cosmos played the Korean National Team in two games and to Ryan’s recollection, lost both.

CLICK ON ALL_ACCESS VIDEO AND JOIN THE USA IN SOUTH KOREA: The first-ever trip to South Korea for the U.S. Women’s National Team has been busy and eventful. To see video of the USA’s journey, including a special trip to the DMZ, a feature on Leslie Osborne’s debut as a runway model, and highlights and reaction from the games, go to all_access video on

RARE RED CARD: Kristine Lilly’s dubious red card against the Netherlands was just the sixth in the 21-year history of the U.S. Women’s National Team spanning 380 matches, which should be worthy of some sort of Fair Play Award, especially considering Briana Scurry’s red card at the 1995 Women’s World Cup was one of the strangest in World Cup history. She was ejected from the first-round match against Denmark for stepping out of the penalty area on a punt. Mia Hamm famously played the last few minutes in goal for the USA. The other U.S. red cards were to Michelle Akers (1991), Thori Bryan (1994 for her part in a brawl against Trinidad & Tobago), Julie Foudy (1996) and most recently before the Lilly ejection, to Kylie Bivens (2003). It should be noted that not only had Lilly never before been sent off in her pervious 315 career games, but she’s only received 13 yellow cards over that span as well, an average of one every 24 matches.

SEOUL WORLD CUP STADIUM: The Peace Queen Cup championship game will be played at the spectacular 64,000-seat Seoul World Cup Stadium, site of three games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, including Senegal’s opening game upset of France and Germany’s 1-0 win over Korea in the semifinal in one of the biggest events in Korean sports history. The venues for the Peace Queen Cup have all been excellent, from the organization, to the playing surfaces to the fans in the stands, and the Seoul WC Stadium will no doubt serve as an excellent back drop for the title game.

RAMPONE TIES AKERS ON ALL-TIME CAPS LIST: When she came on in the 66th minute of the USA’s win over the Netherlands, defender Christie Rampone earned her 153rd cap for the USA, tying Michelle Akers for 13th on the all-time caps list. Rampone, who debuted in 1997 as Christie Pearce against Australia, has quietly put together one of the most distinguished careers for a defender in U.S. history. She remains the only player from a small soccer school – Monmouth in New Jersey – to make an impact on the national team.

Stat of Note
The USA has played 19 games this year and allowed just nine goals. It is the lowest number of goals ever allowed in a calendar year by the USA when playing at least 19 matches.