Wednesday, July 9, 2003
U.S. Women's National Team
Notes from New Orleans, Louisiana
USA vs. BRAZIL IS LAST MATCH BEFORE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP TEAM IS CHOSEN: The USA vs. Brazil match from Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, La., will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday, July 13 at 3 p.m. CT (4 p.m. ET) in what serves as the final match before U.S. Women's National Team head coach April Heinrichs picks the 2003 Women's World Cup Team in mid-August. After this match, the U.S. players who are pros will be with their WUSA clubs until the end of the season. The U.S. team will regroup again on Aug. 20 in San Diego to begin three weeks of training in California (which includes two matches) that will serve as the final pre-WWC action for the Women's World Cup Team. The Brazil match marks the 9th of 2003 for the USA against countries in the Women's World Cup 2003 . The USA is 5-1-2 in those matches so far this year. JP Dellacamera and Wendy Gebauer will call the USA-Brazil match on ESPN. Fans can also follow the game on ussoccer.com MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.
USA vs. BRAZIL HISTORY: The USA is 14-1-2 against Brazil, but while the Americans have had success against the perennial South American champions, the most recent meetings have been highly competitive. Despite rarely playing outside of their country, Brazil was without a doubt the most improved women's soccer nation in the 1990s, and that has carried over into world championship events. Brazil has participated in all three Women's World Cups, as well as the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, and has advanced to the semifinals in the last three world championships, falling to the USA in the last two. The USA and Brazil played an historic encounter on July 4, 1999, at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto in front of 73,123 fans with the Americans prevailing, 2-0, on goals from Cindy Parlow and Michelle Akers. The two teams met again in Canberra, Australia, at the 2000 Olympics as the U.S. won, 1-0, on a goal from Mia Hamm, which was the most recent meeting between the two teams. Brazil fell to China in the semifinal of the 1996 Olympics.
THE USA - BRAZIL'S SECOND HOME: The USA and Brazil have a long history dating back to the first meeting in 1986, a 2-1 U.S. win. The USA's lone loss came in 1997, a 1-0 setback in Sao Paulo, as former national team star and Washington Freedom player Roseli tallied. Brazil has actually made seven trips to the United States over the years, including the 1999 Women's World Cup. Brazil has participated in two Nike U.S. Women's Cups, finishing second in 1998 and 1999, and played in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000, where the USA and Brazil played to a 0-0 tie in group play, then met again in the championship game, a 1-0 U.S. win on a goal from Tiffeny Milbrett. Brazil and the USA also met in group play at the 1991 Women's World Cup in China, a 5-0 U.S. win, but the South Americans have improved dramatically since then and now are legitimate challengers for every world championship. The Brazilian Under-19 National Team, captained by San Diego Spirit midfielder Daniela and featuring numerous players that should face the USA in New Orleans, advanced to the semifinals of the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship, falling in penalty kicks to host Canada.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Brazil will bring some of the world's best players to the Big Easy, including three WUSA players in Katia and Pretinha from the San Jose CyberRays, and Daniela from the San Diego Spirit. But nine players on the Brazilian roster played for their Under-19 team that roared to the semifinals of the first-ever FIFA world championship for youth women last September, meaning that the Brazilians will also have a fine mixture of youth and experience. Goalkeeper Giselle, defender Janaina and Tatiana, midfielders Renata, Michelle and Daniela and forwards Cristiane, Kelly and Marta all played for the U-19s in Canada.
BRAZIL WINS SOUTH AMERICAN QUALIFING: To no one's surprise, Brazil won the 2003 South American Women's Championships held last April in Lima, Peru, but to many pundit's surprise, it wasn't as easy as in years past. Brazil squeaked past Argentina, 3-2, beat host Peru 3-0 and then destroyed Colombia, 12-0, to earn a trip to its fourth Women's World Cup. Katia led the team in scoring, powering in six goals over the three games, including five against Colombia, while Pretinha added four scores. Marta, Brazil's scoring star at the U-19 World Championships, had a hat trick vs. Columbia.
PEARCE COULD BECOME 15TH PLAYER TO EARN 100 CAPS FOR U.S. WOMEN: If she plays against Brazil on Sunday, defender Christie Pearce will become the 15th, and most unlikely, player to earn 100 caps for the USA. She debuted against Australia in 1997 and quietly the rugged, powerful and fast defender has amassed 99 games for the United States. The only player in U.S. Women's National Team history to make an impact on the team coming from a small soccer school - Monmouth in New Jersey - Pearce played basketball and soccer in college, where she starred in both. She is the best all-round athlete ever in Ocean County, where she played basketball, soccer and field hockey (and even a little lacrosse) for Point Pleasant Boro High School in Point Pleasant, N.J. A forward all her life in soccer, she switched to defender for the national team and three years later started all five games for the USA at the 2000 Olympics. A knee serious knee injury kept her out of the national team for more than a year, but she is back to 100-percent and competing for a starting spot.
MILBRETT THREE AWAY FROM 100 GOALS: Tiffeny Milbrett has 97 career goals and with three more, will become just the fifth player in the history of international soccer to score 100 goals. Mia Hamm (139), Italy's Elisabetta Vignotto (107), Italy's Carolina Morace (105) and Michelle Akers (105) are the only four to have accomplished the feat.
STAT OF NOTE: In the last 10 matches between the USA-Brazil, Brazil has scored just three goals and has been shutout eight times.