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U.S. Women to Continue Group B Play at Algarve Cup on Friday vs. Finland


Thursday, March 8, 2007
U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from The Algarve, Portugal


U.S. TEAM FACES FINLAND NEXT IN ALGARVE CUP: Coming of a solid 2-1 win over China in its Algarve Cup opener, the U.S. team faces Finland in its second Group B match on Friday, March 9, at Estadio da Nora in Ferreiras, a venue infamous for its windy conditions. The match kicks off at 4:15 p.m. local time (11:15 a.m. ET) and fans can follow live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. With the other match in Group B seeing Sweden down Finland, 3-0, the USA is in second place in the group heading into the second match day of the tournament, behind Sweden on goal difference. The USA had a very light training on Thursday, March 8, lasting just an hour on a sunny, but windy day. Visit the Algarve Cup competitions page for a complete schedule and standings, plus features, podcasts, and exclusive all_access video coverage of the WNT in Portugal.

U.S. WNT 2007 Algarve Cup Schedule - Full Schedule

Date

Match-up

Venue

Kickoff (Local/ET)

March 7  

USA 2, China 1

Estadio Municipal - Silves 

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March 9

Finland vs. USA

Estadio da Nora - Ferreiras

4:15 p.m. / 11:15 a.m.

March 12

USA vs. Sweden

Estadio Municipal - VRS Antonio

8 p.m. / 4 p.m.

       

FINS MAKE SEMIFINAL RUN AT 2005 EUROS: Finland failed to qualify for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, finishing in second place in European Group 3 three points behind Denmark after losing the final match of qualifying 1-0 to the Danes when a win would have put them through to China. The Fins did, however, make an impressive run to the semifinals of the 2005 European Women’s Championship. Finland finished in second place in their group in that eight-team tournament, and could have won the group had they not given up a late goal to England in a 3-2 loss. The Fins followed that up with two excellent results, a 0-0 tie with Sweden and 2-1 win over Denmark. The Germans took apart the Fins, 4-1, in the semifinal, but getting that far was a first for Finland in the European Championship. Finland will host the 2009 European Women’s Championship with hopes of repeating their successes of 2005.

USA vs. FINLAND HISTORY: The USA and Finland have met four times at the Algarve Cup and this tournament was the site of the last meeting between the two teams in 2005, with the Americans coming away with a 3-0 victory. The USA has had great success against Finland over the years, winning all 10 games that have been played between the two countries. Finland has not scored a goal vs. the USA in the last five matches.

USA vs. FINLAND PREVIEW: The USA has always matched up well against Finland, with the Americans’ speed able to counteract the Fins size. Finland will be without several of their main players from the past few years, including former Notre Dame star Anne Makinen, an attacking midfielder, and forwards Laura Kalmari and Minna Mustonen, who played in the WUSA. Still, Finland does have most of its players from its Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign and head coach Michael Kald will be looking for a better result than the 3-0 loss his team suffered in the opening match. The USA would certainly benefit from matching Sweden’s three goals against Finland, but the three points alone would put the Americans in control of their own destiny heading into the final group game against Sweden on March 12. U.S. head coach Greg Ryan made just one substitution in the match against China, sending on Lindsay Tarpley for Heather O’Reilly with 10 minutes left, and it’s likely that several players who were on the bench for the first match could see action against Finland. The game may also feature the first appearance of midfielder Shannon Boxx since her knee injury last summer. If the stadium in Ferreiras holds true to form as one of the windiest venues a soccer player will ever experience – the USA has played two matches in gale forces winds there during past Algarve Cups – that could negatively impact the game. Still, the USA has won all four games it has played in Ferreiras, despite the sometimes bumpy pitchy and windy conditions.

U.S. defender Cat Whitehill on Finland:
“All of the Nordic countries are always tough because you know they are going to contest every fifty-fifty ball and be hard into the tackles and headers. They are probably stinging a bit from their loss to Sweden, so I think they come hard at us from the beginning. As a back line, we have to stay organized because they have a few tricky players, but we did a good job of that against China so we’ll be ready.”

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry, 18-Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Lori Chalupny, 8-Tina Ellertson, 14-Stephanie Lopez, 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone, 22-India Trotter, 4-Cat Whitehill;
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 16-Angela Hucles, 11-Carli Lloyd, 19-Marci Jobson, 12-Leslie Osborne, 10-Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai, 13-Kristine Lilly, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 20-Abby Wambach.

Finland Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Minna Meriluto, 12-Tinja-Rikkaq Korpela;
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Petra Vaema, 4-Maija Saari, 5-Tina Salmen, 6-Miia Niemi, 11-Susanna Lehtinin, 13-Nina Hyvönen, 15-Kati Hakala;
MIDFIELDERS (5): 3-Jessica Julin, 7-Essi Sainio, 8-Katri Nokso-Koivisto, 10-Anna-Kaisa Rantanen, 14-Sanna Malaska;
FORWARDS (4): 9-Sanna Talonen, 16-Heidi Lindström, 17-Taru Laihanen, 18-Annica Sjölund.

GROUP A UPDATE: Group A featured an upset on the first match day as Norway took down world number-one Germany, 2-1, at the Stadium Algarve. Norway got a 14th minute goal from defender Ingvild Stenslend, but Germany’s fine attacking midfielder Renate Lingor, who finished third in the voting for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in 2006, tied the game just four minutes later. Norway’s Melissa Wink got the winning goal in the 69th minute and the Germans will have a lot of heavy lifting to do in order to make the title game. In the other Group A match, Denmark hammered France, 4-0, dominating almost from start to finish. Cathrine Sorensen, Maiken Pape, Johanna Rasmussen and star forward Meret Pedersen scored for the Danes. The win and four goals by Denmark and Norway’s upset make the Norway-Denmark match tomorrow even more intriguing.

GROUP B UPDATE: Sweden had little trouble with Finland, scoring two goals inside of 35 minutes, one from midfielder Therese Sjogran and the other captain Victoria Svensson, before adding a third in stoppage time of the second half from substitute Frida Nordin. Sweden is without two key players at this tournament, one for good. Former Sweden captain Malin Mostrom, one of the best attacking midfielders in the world and a key player on Sweden’s runner-up finisher at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, has retired from international soccer. Star forward Hanna Ljungberg is not on the roster with a hamstring injury.

GROUP C UPDATE: In Group C, host Portugal managed a 1-1 tie with Ireland, equalizing in the 58th minute through Liliana Martins after the Irish had opened the scoring through Stephanie Curtis just eight minutes into the match. The Irish have at least 10 players who are based or playing in the United States. Italy pulled out a 2-1 victory over Iceland as star forward and captain Patrizia “The Scorpion” Panico nailed a game-winner in the 90th minute. Italy had scored in the 23rd minute through Pamela Conti before Iceland tied the match just before halftime on a goal from Margret Vidarsdottir.

VIDEO ALGARVE: Catch up with the U.S. Women’s National Team during their trip to Portugal for the Algarve Cup with all_access video. You can see video of the USA’s first few days in Portugal, a yacht cruise off the coast and highlights of the first match against China (watch).

“I DO”: Aly Wagner said those words last December, and ussoccer.com catches up with the newly married midfielder to get her thoughts on married life, sliced almonds and a fast (but healthy) food empire, in the latest podcast (listen). 

SMASHING DEBUT: Forward Natasha Kai burst onto the international stage at the 2006 Algarve Cup with goals in her first two matches. The Hawaiian speedster didn’t play in the USA’s match against China, but could see action after Finland. In this Center Circle feature, Kai reflects on her first matches in a USA uniform.

INSIDE THE MIND OF A ‘KEEPER: A lot of coaches just leave their goalkeeper alone to do what ‘keepers do. Not ussocer.com! In a special feature for Center Circle, we asked U.S. goalkeepers Hope Solo and Briana Scurry…Five Things You Always Wanted to Know About Goalkeeping, But Were Afraid to Ask.

NEW NAME, SAME GAL: Marci Miller is now Marci Jobson, but she’s still the same fun-loving, hard-tackling midfielder. ussoccer.com’s Center Circle catches up with Jobson in the Algarve to talk about her recent name change, her first name change many years ago and her coaching at Northern Illinois.

ORIGIN IN THE ALGARVE: Briana Scurry’s international career started at the Algarve Cup in 1994. She’s played 159 international matches since then and been a part of six World Championship teams, but Center Circle takes you back to the beginning as Scurry talks about her first cap.

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