5) "MARK THAT CALENDAR"
WNT vs. China – Sunday, August 1 @ 3 p.m. ET
[LIVE on ESPN2 and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker]
A stern reminder about an upcoming U.S. Soccer-related event, whether you plan to check it out live and in person, on the "telly" or that wacky world wide web.
After experimenting with an unusual lineup to mixed results in the first half of a 3-1 win over Australia, it will be interesting to see which 11 players U.S. WNT head coach April Heinrichs puts out at Rentschler Field on August 1 in the team’s last exhibition before leaving for Greece.
Not that the U.S. looked bad with Brandi at defensive midfield or Lilly up top in a 4-3-3 with Parlow and Tarpley, but it’s safe to say that they didn’t look like the well-oiled machine we’re used to with Shannon Boxx winning every ball in site and the tandem of Mia and Abby wreaking havoc all over the final third of the field.
Considering the send-off match is against such a big rival like China, expect Sunday’s starters to be the real deal in what could quickly turn from a fairly innocent friendly to an all-out battle. With this match representing the last pre-test before it all begins on Aug. 11, neither team will want to head into the Olympics with a loss (or even a draw), so expect a spirited match in a stifling Hartford sun that could very well mimic the conditions in Athens.
And with Connecticut being the home state of Kristine Lilly, expect to see the entire population of Wilton, her hometown, in the stands cheering on the U.S. "Iron Woman" as she racks up her 349,567th cap.
Fans can follow the match live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET or on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by PHILIPS Electronics.