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U.S. Women's Olympic Soccer Team to Visit Albuquerque to Face Mexico

CHICAGO (Tuesday, March 9, 2004) — U.S. Soccer announced today that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will play its second domestic match of 2004 against Mexico on Sunday, May 9, at University Stadium on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. MT as fans can watch the U.S. women in their continuing preparation for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

The match will be the first ever for the U.S. Women’s National Team in New Mexico, which will become the 30th state, along with the District of Columbia, to host a U.S. women’s match.  The U.S. Men’s National Team has played in New Mexico just once prior, dropping a 2-0 decision to Chile at University Stadium on April 30, 1994, less than two months prior to the 1994 World Cup.

“We always love to go to new venues and play in front of fans like those in New Mexico and throughout the region that might not have seen the team play live before,” said U.S. WNT captain Julie Foudy. “Albuquerque is a beautiful place and we are looking forward to playing in front of appreciative fans at a fantastic venue.”

Tickets ranging in price levels from $18 to $40 go on sale Friday, March 12, at 8 a.m. MT by calling 505-925-5858 or (toll free) 1-800-905-3315, or by visiting any Raley's or Western Warehouse stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Fans can also get tickets online at  Groups of 20 or more can order discounted tickets through U.S. Soccer by calling 312-528-1290. A limited number of special "Best Seat in the House" seats, which are located only a few feet from the playing field, are also available at $125 [Click here for complete ticket information].

The USA is 12-0-0 all-time versus Mexico, but the two most recent matches have been anything but easy wins. The U.S. came away with a hard-fought 2-0 win on Feb. 29 in Group B play of the final round of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica.  Mexico accidentally put an own goal into its own net in the 10th minute, before forward Abby Wambach headed home a Kristine Lilly cross in the 26th minute for the final result.

Despite the loss, Mexico rebounded to post a huge upset in the semi-finals, defeating Canada 2-1 on March 3 on a pair of goals from star forward Maribel Dominguez. The U.S. qualified for Athens 2004 with a 4-0 semi-final win over Costa Rica, with goals from midfielder Aly Wagner, Wambach and Lilly.

With both teams having won their semi-final games to advance to Athens, the teams met again in the final of the tournament on March 5, with Mexico stunning the U.S. with two goals from Dominguez in the first 15 minutes. The U.S. eventually tied the score in the 79th minute before captain Julie Foudy provided the game winner in the 84th minute for a dramatic 3-2 comeback win for the tournament title.

"The thing I liked about Mexico (in the recent Olympic qualifying) is that they came out and attacked us," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs, who has led the U.S. to an undefeated 7-0-1 record in 2004.  "They have sat back and defended in the past and they didn't do that this time.  Mexico is an improving team and they have some great personality players.  They have enough talent all over the field to be a legitimate team to challenge for spots in world championships."

Mexico is one of the most improved women’s soccer countries in the world since becoming the first Spanish-speaking country to qualify for a Women’s World Cup in 1999.  Mexico plays an exciting style featuring Dominguez, a former Atlanta Beat player in the WUSA, UCLA star Iris Mora and goalkeeper Jennifer Molina.  Mexico’s captain is former Notre Dame and Boston Breakers player Monica Gonzalez, while head coach Leonardo Cuellar was a star for the Mexican National Team and in the North American Soccer League.

The recently renovated University Stadium, which sits at an elevation of 5,500 feet, now seats 37,370 and is home to the University of New Mexico Lobos.  The match in Albuquerque will be the second of six likely domestic matches for the U.S. Women’s National Team from April to July before the 2004 Olympics in Greece, which begins in early August.