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U.S. Women to Face Canada for 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Title

U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Friday, April 11, 2008

U.S. WOMEN TO FACE CANADA FOR 2008 CONCACAF OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TITLE: While the pressure of qualifying for the Olympics is off, as the USA and Canada both won their semifinal games at the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the two old rivals will meet for the championship on Saturday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. MT. Although Mexico certainly distinguished itself with some excellent soccer during the tournament, the match-up in the final should not be a surprise. The USA and Canada have met in the championship game of four previous CONCACAF qualifying tournaments. In fact, the only time a CONCACAF qualifying tournament did not end in a USA-Canada final was four years ago when Mexico upset the Canadians in the Olympic qualifying semifinal in San Jose, Costa Rica. This time, Canada was not be denied, getting a 25th minute goal from Melissa Tancredi and then withstanding a furious Mexican attempt to equalize in front of a sold-out crowd. Fans can follow the USA-Canada match live on’s MatchTracker. Log onto for more information on the U.S. team and the qualifying tournament.

HELE ME HOOHIWAHIWA KAI’s GOALS: We think that means Celebrate Kai’s Goals in Hawaiian, but were not sure. Nevertheless, you can log onto an exclusive Q&A with the U.S. forward, who has four goals so far in the qualifying competition, to read about her finding her form in the last two months, playing up top with Abby Wambach and why shopping on the road is tough for her.

COSTA RICA POST-GAME VIDEO: Check out the latest all_access video for a review of the USA-Costa Rica game that qualified the USA for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might also want to check out the video from Stephanie Cox’ birthday/pinata party the team threw for her here in Mexico.

April 9 USA 3, Costa Rica 0
April 9 Canada 1, Mexico 0

Third Place Game                          Kickoff (Local)
April 12 Mexico vs. Costa Rica    5 p.m. MT

Final                                                       Kickoff (Local)
April 12 USA vs. Canada                   7:30 p.m. MT

Road to the CONCACAF Women’s Olympics Qualifying Championship Game

Date      Opponent   Score         U.S. Goal Scorers
April 4   Jamaica       6-0 W        Lloyd, Cheney, Wambach (2), O'Reilly, Heath
April 6   Mexico          3-1 W        Kai (2), Wambach
April 9   Costa Rica  3-1 W        Kai (2), O’Reilly

Date      Opponent     Score       U.S. Goal Scorers
April 2    T&T               6-0 W        Filigno, Hermus, Lang, Robinson, Sinclair, Tancredi
April 6    Costa Rica  1-0 W        Tancredi
April 9    Mexico          1-0 W        Tancredi

Current FIFA World Ranking: 9
Overall Record vs. USA: 3-34-3
Last Meeting vs. USA: Jan. 16, 2008 at the Four Nations Tournament (4-0 U.S. win)
Head Coach: Even Pellerud
Key Players: G Erin McLeod; D Candace Chapman, D Martina Franko, D Randee Hermus, D Clare Rustad, M Diana Matheson, M Rhian Wilkinson, F Christine Sinclair, F Melissa Tancredi, F Kara Lang.

USA vs. Canada Fast Facts: The USA and Canada met most recently in the first match of 2008 for both teams, a 4-0 U.S. win at the Four Nations Tournament in China that was also the first match under new head coach Pia Sundhage … The USA scored all four goals in the second half, two by Amy Rodriguez and two by Lindsay Tarpley, in just a 27-minute span … Both teams brought young players to China, and have also done for this tournament, but each team is stocked with experienced players that will be their team leaders in the Olympics … Canada’s entry into the Olympics is their first for soccer in 24 years and first-ever for their women’s team … The USA-Canada games are always physical matches, but both teams are likely hoping that a repeat of the weather from the USA’s semifinal is not in the forecast when high winds and dust whipped the players all match … This will be the 41st meeting between the neighbors, tying with Norway for most-ever games played against the USA … Canada features one of the world’s top strikers in Christine Sinclair, who is fast approaching 100 career goals, but Canada’s hot foot belongs to former Notre Dame star Melissa Tancredi, whose goal against Mexico was her third game-winner in the past three games.. Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod posted her third-straight clean sheet against Mexico and played an excellent match to help her team to the Olympics ... Canada is the only team in the tournament that has not conceded a goal … Almost the entire Canadian roster played college soccer or will play college soccer in the United States, including Sinclair, who led the University of Portland to two NCAA titles … Six different players have scored the USA’s 12 goals thus far in this tournament, most by any team … Canada, which has gutted out two straight 1-0 wins, has eight goals scored by six different players in Jonelle Filigno, Randee Hermus, Kara Lang, Jodi Ann Robinson, Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi.

2008 U.S. CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Nicole Barnhart, 18-Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Rachel Buehler, 17-Lori Chalupny, 14-Stephanie Cox, 13-Tobin Heath, 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill;
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 16-Angela Hucles, 11-Carli Lloyd, 12-Leslie Osborne, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 10-Kacey White;
FORWARDS (5): 8-Lauren Cheney, 6-Natasha Kai, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 19-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach.

2008 Canada CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Karina LeBlanc, 18-Erin McLeod;
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Kristina Kiss, 3-Melanie Booth, 5- Robyn Gayle, 6-Sophie Schmidt, 9-Candace Chapman, 10-Martina Franko, 11-Randee Hermus, 19-Alexandra Marton;
MIDFIELDERS (4): 4-Clare Rustad, 8-Diana Matheson, 13-Amy Walsh, 17-Brittany Timko;
FORWARDS (6): 7-Rhian Wilkinson, 12-Christine Sinclair, 14-Melissa Tancredi, 15-Kara Lang, 16-Jonelle Filigno, 21-Jodi Ann Robinson.

11 DOWN, ONE TO GO: With the USA and Canada qualifying for the 2008 Olympics on April 9, there is just one spot left in the 12-team tournament. All that is left to decide is the Brazil vs. Ghana playoff on April 19 in Beijing prior to the Olympic Final Draw. Brazil finished second in South American Women's World Cup Qualifying in 2007, which also served as 2008 Olympic qualifying, and Ghana finished second in African qualifying, meaning the two countries will square off for the final berth. Whether the USA gets a top seed in the three-group tournament has yet to be determined, but with the current No. 1 world ranking and as defending Olympics champs, it is likely.

2008 Beijing Olympics Berths by Confederation
Host: China
Africa: Nigeria
Asia: Japan, North Korea
Europe: Germany, Norway, Sweden
Oceania: New Zealand
South America: Argentina
Playoff: Brazil vs. Ghana

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage previews CONCACAF Championship Match:

On the pressure of qualifying being off, but still getting ready mentally for the championship game:
“I use the word final. The final is something that every player wants to play, regardless of the opponent. That is the word I use to motivate them and we will find things in the game to work on.”

On using the game in the growth process to the Olympics:
“We have things in the attack and defending to work on every game, so it doesn’t matter what kind of game it is.”

On if she will make changes to the starting lineup:
“It is difficult for some of the players to play four matches in such a short time, so we will get some of the (other) players a chance to play.”

On Canada:
“They are very physical and play direct, so you have to be aware of your defensive line all the time. I think that’s the biggest issue. You have to prepare for that big ball coming in behind the back line. You also have to win the tackle. In the attack, they put good pressure on the ball carrier so you have to switch the point of attack and find the right moment to penetrate.”