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U.S. WNT Set to Face Ireland in Second Match of Achieve Your Gold Tour at 7:30 p.m. ET at Giants Stadium

United States Women’s National Team
Achieve Your Gold Tour
Pre-Game Notes East Rutherford, N.J.
Sept. 17, 2008

U.S. WOMEN LOOKING TO TIE RECORD FOR WINS IN A YEAR: The U.S. Women’s National Team will be shooting to tie a team record tonight at Giants Stadium in the second match of the Achieve Your Gold Tour as the WNT takes on Ireland at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the action as it happens on MatchTracker. The team is sitting on 27 wins under head coach Pia Sundhage in 2008 with an overall record of 27-1-1. In the 30th match of 2008 tonight, a 28th victory would tie the record for most wins in a calendar year for the U.S. Women’s National Team, set in 2004 when the U.S. was 28-2-4. The U.S. Women won 26 games in 2000, with six losses and nine ties, and 25 games in 1999. With nine matches left this year including tonight, the U.S. women will surely shatter that record for wins. The U.S. won the first match of the tour on Sept. 13 in Philadelphia, downing Ireland 2-0 on goals from Natasha Kai and Heather O’Reilly. The remaining seven matches of the Achieve Your Gold Tour have yet to be finalized, but are scheduled to take place all during the fall.

U.S. WNT Achieve Your Gold Tour

Date Opponent Venue; City Kickoff / Result U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Sept. 13 Ireland Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa. 2-0 W Kai, O'Reilly
Sept. 17 Ireland Giants Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J. 7:30 p.m. ET  
Sept. 20 Ireland Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill. 7 p.m. CT  

TOURNAMENT TITANS: Not only will this U.S. team likely demolish the record for wins in an calendar year, but in one of the most successful years in U.S. Women’s National Team history, the U.S. has won all five tournaments it has entered, taking the Four Nations Tournament in China in January, the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March, the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico in April, the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea in June and of course, the Olympic Games in August.

2008 Tournament Championship Games for the USA

Date Tournament Opponent Result U.S. Goal Scorer(s) Venue
Jan. 20 Four Nations China 1-0 W Boxx Guangzhou, China
March 12 Algarve Cup Denmark 2-1 W Kai, Wambach VR de San Antonio, Portugal
April 12 Olympic Qualifying Canada 1-1 T (6-5 in PKs) Lloyd Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
June 21 Peace Queen Cup Canada 1-0 W Hucles Suwon, South Korea
Aug. 21 2008 Olympics Brazil 1-0 W (OT) Lloyd Beijing, China

JERSEY GIRLS RETURN HOME FOR WHAT COULD BE LAST WNT GAME AT GIANTS STADIUM: Four players from New Jersey were on the USA’s 2008 Olympic Team – that’s 22 percent of the team! – and while UNC junior Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.) won’t be on the Achieve Your Gold Tour, team captain Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), midfielder Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.) and Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), will be playing in their home state. Giants Stadium, which is soon to be demolished, is a special place for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. The U.S. opened the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup there in front of 79,972 fans, defeating Denmark 3-0 to start the historic run to the World Cup title. This will be the fifth and last game the U.S. WNT plays at Giants Stadium, having won two games, lost one (1-2 setback to China before the 1999 WWC) and tied one (1-1 draw with Denmark during the 2004 Fan Celebration Tour) and will be looking to end its run at the New Jersey landmark with a victory.

HUCLES IS HUGE IN CHINA: Angela Hucles is having her best year as a member of the U.S. WNT by far and her four goals at the 2008 Olympics will go down as one of the best clutch tournament performances in U.S. history. Heading into the Olympics, she was a reserve who had started just one match in 2008. She had scored three goals for the U.S., two of them late game-winners and a third a spectacular strike from 40 yards against Norway in Fredrikstad. But until 30 minutes were gone in the USA’s final pre-Olympic match, Hucles was heading to China as a role player off the bench. That all changed when Abby Wambach went down with a broken leg. Hucles went into that match against Brazil and helped the USA come away with a 1-0 victory. Thrust into a starting role in China at forward, her college position, but one she had rarely played since, she came up huge for the U.S., leading the team in scoring with four goals in the tournament. The four goals actually came in three consecutive matches, one against New Zealand in the Group G finale, one against Canada in the quarterfinal and two against Japan in the semifinal. Hucles had scored just five over her entire career heading into this year, but now has seven in 2008 as well as a place in U.S. Women’s National Team lore.

U.S. Women’s National Team
Achieve Your Gold Tour Roster By Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 22-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 1-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): 4-Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 14-Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.);
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas);
FORWARDS (2): 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii).

Ireland Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Emma Byrne (Arsenal Ladies), 26-Lynn Bradley (Raheny United);
DEFENDERS (7): 12-Sharon Boyle (Raheny United), 5-Yvonne Tracy (Arsenal Ladies), 2-Meabh De Burca (Salthill Devon), 4-Niamh Fahey (Arsenal Ladies), 3-Alisha Moran (Fulham FC), 13-Ciara McCormack (FK Larvic), 7-Ciara Grant (Arsenal Ladies);
MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Sonya Hughes (Tolka Rovers (FPU), Selina Moyland (University of New Haven), 14-Jemma Connor (West Brom), 17-Mary McDonnell (Boston Renegades), 15-Susan Byrne (St. John’s University), 8-Aine O’Gorman (Stella Maris);
FORWARDS (4): 10-Michele O’Brien (New Jersey Sky Blue), 11-Stefanie Curtis (Bristol Rovers), 9-Katie Taylor (St. Catherines), 18-Denise Thomas (Boston Renegades).

RAMPONE HONORED FOR 200TH CAP: Before the match in her home state of New Jersey tonight, team captain Christie Rampone will be honored for becoming the sixth women in U.S. Soccer history to play 200 times for her country. She earned her 200th in the USA’s final Group G match against New Zealand. Since playing in her first game for the U.S. in 1997, Rampone has started over 85 percent of her matches. She joined legends Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett, Tiffeny Milbrett as the only players in women’s international soccer history to play 200 international matches.

U.S. WNT Quick Hits:

  • Natasha Kai’s 14 goals this year – a career high in a calendar year for the Hawaiian – makes her the eleventh player in U.S. history to score in double figures in a calendar year. Lindsay Tarpley, with 11 goals in 2008, is the twelfth. Mia Hamm scored in double-figures eight times and Tiffeny Milbrett and Kristine Lilly accomplished the feat four times.
  • The match against Ireland at Giants Stadium will be Stephanie Cox’s 50th career match, making her the 37th player to play 50 or more games for the U.S. Women’s National Team. It will also be the 90th career appearance for Heather Mitts.
  • Mitts leads the U.S. in yellow cards this year with three, two of them coming at the 2008 Olympics.
  • Kai leads the team with 14 goals, while Abby Wambach has 13, but of course Wambach missed the Olympics. Wambach still leads the U.S. in overall points in 2008 with 13 goals and 10 assists.
  • With her game-winning goals in the USA’s two 1-0 victories at the Olympics, Carli Lloyd once again proved her worth as a big-game scorer. During the run-up to the Olympics, Lloyd notched massive goals for the USA in two straight matches after also tallying in overtime in the championship game of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico. Her goal looked like a game-winner until Canada tied the game with a few minutes left in OT to send the match to PKs. Lloyd later scored in stoppage time to defeat Australia in wild 3-2 shootout with Australia in Cary, N.C.. She has nine total goals this year, the most ever by a U.S. midfielder in a calendar year who wasn’t named Kristine Lilly or Shannon MacMillan.
  • Carli Lloyd is the only U.S. player to start all 29 games in 2008. Christie Rampone has started 28 while Heather O’Reilly and Shannon Boxx have started 26.
  • Heather O’Reilly has nine assists in 2008, which surpasses her career total during her National Team career from 2002-2007 when she notched eight.
  • U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo has a 20-1-0 record in 2008 and a 57-5-8 all-time record.
  • Tarpley’s 28 goals put her tied for 13th on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
  • Since returning from her year-long rehabilitation from knee surgery against Australia on April 27 of 2008, Heather Mitts made a run to and through the Olympics that has seen her start all 18 games the U.S. has played since then and played 1,416 minutes, sitting out just 303 minutes of those 18 matches.
  • Christie Rampone leads the U.S. WNT in minutes played this year with 2,512 as has started 28 of the USA’s 29 matches.
  • Christie Rampone (204) and Kate Markgraf (191) are sixth and eighth on the U.S. all-time caps list respectively, making them the most capped players on the U.S. roster. They are sixth and 10th overall, respectively, on the all-time caps list in the history of women’s international soccer.
  • Angela Hucles has played 17 matches off the bench for the USA this year, the most games played as a sub for a U.S. player in 2008. Tobin Heath came off the bench 13 times while Amy Rodriguez came off the bench 14 times.