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U.S. WNT Set to Square Off vs. Canada in Sunday's CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup Final

United States Women’s National Team
CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup
Notes from Carson, Calif.
Nov. 25, 2006

WITH BERTH TO CHINA SECURED, USA FOCUS ON CONCACAF TITLE: The U.S. Women’s National Team will play its final match of 2006 on Sunday, Nov. 26, and while the American women secured their berth to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Mexico last Wednesday in the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup semifinals, the stakes for the Gold Cup title game are still high. The USA and Canada will square off for the second time in the past three weeks as the teams met just 18 days ago in the championship game of the Peace Queen Cup, with the U.S. team coming away with a 1-0 win in Seoul, South Korea, on a goal from Kristine Lilly. On the line in the Women’s Gold Cup Final are not only regional bragging rights, but the CONCACAF championship and the USA’s streak of 31 consecutive games unbeaten, an all-time record set with the win over Mexico. The USA has won every CONCACAF title is has contested, beating Canada three times and Brazil once, in 2000, when they were a guest team. Canada won the 1998 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament when the USA did not participate as it had already been given a berth to the 1999 Women’s World Cup as host.

USA QUALIFIES FOR ITS FIFTH WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: In the semifinal of the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup last Wednesday, the USA came away with the 2-0 victory over Mexico in a pressure-packed “one game and you’re in” match for a Women’s World Cup berth and have now successfully qualified for four Women’s World Cup tournaments, having also won CONCACAF qualifying events in 1991, 1994 and 2002. This was the most expeditious route the USA has ever taken to the Women’s World Cup as the team played five matches in qualifying in 1991, four in 1995 and five again in 2002. The Mexico-Jamaica third-place match, which will take place before the USA-Canada clash, carries even more importance as the winner will keep alive its Women’s World Cup dreams, and face Japan in a two-game home-and-away playoff for the final spot in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup Schedule
The Home Depot Center - Carson, Calif.
(All matches live on Fox Soccer Channel)

November 26, 2006
Mexico vs. Jamaica (Third Place) 3:00 p.m. PT
USA vs. Canada (Championship) 5:30 p.m. PT

November 22, 2006
Canada 4, Jamaica 0
USA 2, Mexico 0 

U.S. Roster - 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup (Hometown - Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn. - 158), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash. - 36);
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo. - 29/2), 8-Tina Frimpong (Vancouver, Wash. - 17/0), 14-Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif. - 8/0), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich. - 152/0), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio - 62/2), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J. - 155/4), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala. - 98/11);
MIDFIELDERS (5): 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va. - 58/5), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J. - 20/1), 7-Marci Miller (St. Charles, Ill. - 12/0), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis. - 29/1), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif. - 108/21);
FORWARDS (6): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii - 16/6), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn. - 318/116), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J. - 51/8), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich. - 58/13), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y. - 83/66), 19-Danesha Adams (Shaker Heights, Ohio- 1/0).
Head Coach: Greg Ryan

Canada Roster - 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Leisha Alcia (Ottawa Fury), 22-Erin McLeod (Vancouver Whitecaps);
DEFENDERS (5): 3-Melanie Booth (Univ. of Florida), 4-Sasha Andrews (Vancouver Whitecaps), 7-Isabelle Morneau (Laval Comets), 9-Candace Chapman (Vancouver Whitehcaps), 11-Randee Hermus (Vancouver Whitecaps);
MIDFIELDERS (8): 2-Kristina Kiss (No club), 5-Andrea Neil (Vancouver Whitecaps), Sophie Schmidt (Vancouver Whitecaps), 9-Diana Matheson (Ottawa Fury), 13-Amy Walsh (Laval Comets), 14-Melissa Tancredi (Atlanta Silverbacks), Brittany Timko (Vancouver Whitecaps), 18-Robin Gayle (UNC);
FORWARDS (5): Martina Franko (Vancouver Whitecaps), Christine Sinclair (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jodi-Ann Robinson (Vancouver Whitecaps), Rhian Wilkinson (Ottawa Fury), Amy Vermeulen (Ottawa Fury).
Head Coach: Even Pellerud

USA vs. CANADA HISTORY: This will be the fourth time the USA and Canada have met in the championship game of a CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, but like in 1994 and 2003, both teams head into the title game having already qualified for the Women’s World Cup via semifinal wins. The USA has won the three previous match-ups in the championship game, but the 1991 CONCACAF qualifying title game in Haiti was the only one in which there was a Women’s World Cup berth on the line. This will be the third meeting between the teams in 2006, with the USA winning, 2-0, on July 30, in Cary. N.C., and then, 1-0, just 18 days later in Seoul, South Korea, in the championship game of the Peace Queen Cup. The USA-Canada rivalry is 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 #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 half, but it has proven to be a blip on the radar, as the USA has since won nine of 12 games (and seven in a row) with two ties, 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 Women’s Gold Cup championship will no doubt be an intense and highly competitive match. The USA has defeated Canada in the championship of the 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, 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 last four meetings between the teams, the USA has managed less than two goals per game, but Canada has failed to score at all. The match will mark the 38th 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 37 meetings between the two teams, only four have been in Canada. Twenty-three of the games have been played in the USA and 10 have been on neutral ground. The USA and Canada have played at least once a year every year since 1993.

CONCACAF QUALIFYING HISTORY: The USA has participated in the previous four Women’s World Cup tournaments, winning twice, but had to go through qualification just three times - participating in CONCACAF qualifying events in Haiti in 1991, in Canada in 1994 and in the USA in 2002. Even though the 2003 Women’s World Cup was moved to the USA due to the SARS outbreak in China, the USA had already qualified. The U.S. Women’s National Team has never lost or tied a Women’s World Cup qualifying match and has a record of 15-0-0 through three complete CONCACAF Qualifying tournaments and one game at the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup. Qualifying History

U.S. WOMEN SET TEAM RECORD: With the win over Mexico on Nov. 22, the U.S. Women’s National Team has gone unbeaten in 31 consecutive matches, setting an all-time team record. The streak dates back to the final game of 2004 against Mexico on Dec. 8, 2004, which was also the final match for Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett. Who would have thought that the retirement of some of the legends of women’s soccer would be the starting point for an historic streak? The U.S. team went unbeaten under Tony DiCicco in 30 matches (29-0-1) from February 10, 1996, through Oct. 9, 1997. The 2006 squad tied that record with the win over Canada at the Peace Queen Cup. During the current streak of 31 matches, the USA is 26-0-5. Thirty of those matches have been under current U.S. head coach Greg Ryan.

O’REILLY STAYS IN CHAPEL HILL, ADAMS AND LOPEZ ON ROSTER: U.S. head coach Greg Ryan named three college players to the roster for the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup. All three joined the U.S. camp after their third-round matches more than a week ago in the NCAA Tournament, and returned to their college teams this past weekend for NCAA quarterfinals. In the quarters, Danesha Adams and her UCLA Bruins defeated the University of Portland, 2-1, last Friday night in Westwood, while Heather O’Reilly’s UNC Tar Heels took down Texas A&M, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill. Stephanie Lopez’s Portland Pilots were on the painful end of the UCLA score and the defending NCAA champions are done. O’Reilly, who played 26 minutes against Mexico, will not return to the roster as she will stay in Chapel Hill with her college team. The veteran of the group, having won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, while scoring the winning goal in overtime of the semifinal match against Germany, O’Reilly has 51 caps for the USA. Lopez and Adams, who were both a part of the American team that finished in fourth place at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship, will be on the roster for the Canada match although neither played against Mexico and Adams did not dress for the match. Lopez has eight caps while Adams, who won the Bronze Ball as the third best player in Russia, has just one, earned against Chinese Taipei on Oct. 1 of this year.

JUST THREE OF 16 BERTHS LEFT FOR CHINA ’07: European qualification is complete with Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and England winning their tough groups for berths to China. As host, China is in as well, with Australia and North Korea qualifying from Asia and Nigeria and Ghana qualifying from Africa. The USA and Canada qualified last Wednesday, Nov. 22, from CONCACAF. Brazil has qualified as well, with Argentina soon to follow. The only berths remaining to be filled are the Oceania representative and the winner of the CONCACAF vs. Japan two-game series.

Host: China
Asia: Australia, North Korea, (Japan)*
Africa: Nigeria, Ghana
South America: Brazil + 1
CONCACAF: USA, Canada (Mexico or Jamaica)*
Oceania: 1 Berth
Europe: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, England

*Japan will face third-place finisher in CONCACAF for final berth to WWC ’07.

Stat of Note
Abby Wambach’s 17 goals in 2006 is tied (with Shannon MacMillan) for the 9th best scoring year in U.S. history. Three of those years were put in by Mia Hamm (19 in 1995, 18 in 1997, 20 in 1998), one by April Heinrichs (19 in 1991), one by Michelle Akers (39 goals in 1991), one by Tiffeny Milbrett (21 goals in 1999), one by Kristine Lilly (20 goals in 1999) and one by Cindy Parlow (19 in 2000).

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