U.S. Women’s National Team
USA vs. Mexico
Pre-Game Notes from Foxborough, Mass.
April 13, 2007
U.S. WOMEN BEGIN 2007 DOMESTIC SCHEDULE ON USSOCCER.COM’S MATCHACCESS: The U.S. Women’s National Team will play its first domestic match of 2007 against Mexico at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, April 14 in the USA’s first appearance in Boston since the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The match, which is the first game of a doubleheader also featuring the hometown New England Revolution against Toronto FC, will be broadcast live on ussoccer.com’s MatchACCESS. Online coverage starts at 4:45 p.m. ET with kickoff slated for 5 p.m. Fans can also follow the match live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
U.S. WNT Quick Hits:
• Since March of 2005, the U.S. team has allowed 14 total goals, just six from the run of play and eight off set plays. Of those eight, three were penalty kicks, two came from corner kick and three were off free kicks. Those amazing defensive statistics mean that over the last 38 matches since 2005 when Ryan took over, the team has a sparkling Goals Against Average of just 0.36.
• Hope Solo has moved past Siri Mullnix into second place on the all-time wins list for goalkeepers (27) and in career shutouts (22). With four more games, she will move past Mullinix and become the second most-capped goalkeeper in U.S. history, behind, of course, Briana Scurry.
• The USA has never lost a game in which Kristine Lilly has started the match wearing the captain’s band.
• This will be the sixth ever match the U.S. women have played on an artificial surface. The last match on the fake stuff was also against Mexico, on Sept. 13, 2006, a 3-1 U.S. victory at PAETEC Park in Rochester, N.Y.
• Six players have scored the USA’s 11 goals so far this year, with six goals coming from forwards and five from the midfield, representing a much more balanced attack than in 2006, when 46 of the 57 goals came from forwards. Five of the 11 goals not scored by forwards last year came from defender Cat Whitehill.
• Whitehill leads the USA in minutes played this year with 593. Lori Chalupny has played 551, followed by two defenders, Heather Mitts at 540 and Stephanie Lopez at 525. Several U.S. veterans, including Lilly and Abby Wambach, did not go to the Four Nations Tournament in January.
• The USA has five players with 100 or more caps on the roster.
• Lilly has 163 more caps than her next closest teammates, Scurry and Christie Rampone, who have 160 each, just under half of Lilly.
• Wambach has 68 goals in 88 games, still the best goals-per-game ratio in U.S. history.
USA’S ROAD TO CHINA STARTS IN NEW ENGLAND: This will be the first of eight domestic games the U.S. women will play before leaving in late August for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the opponent will certainly be familiar. The USA has played Mexico three times since Greg Ryan took over as head coach in March of 2005, winning all three matches. The teams met most recently last November in qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup as Wambach’s two goals guided the U.S. to a 2-0 win in the semifinal of the 2006 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup. The first four of the USA’s Women’s World Cup preparation matches are set, with the venues, dates and opponents of the last four soon to be confirmed. [SCHEDULE/TICKETS]
GET OUT THE FOAM FINGER, USA IS NUMBER-ONE: In the latest FIFA Women’s World Rankings, announced in late March just after the 2007 Algarve Cup, the U.S. women rose to the number-one ranking in the world after sitting behind Germany for most of three years since the Germans won the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Germans took over the top ranking from the USA after defeating the Americans, 3-0, in the semifinal of that tournament, and then beating Sweden, 2-1, in OT in the championship game.
WNT ON HARVARD YARD, ER..FIELD: The U.S. women trained at Harvard University to prepare for Saturday's match. While we're not sure if any of the U.S. players had the grades to get admitted to Harvard, they did enjoy their practice there, and team captain Kristine Lilly met an old friend. Check out the highlights as ussoccer.com's all_access video covered the action (watch).
LOCK AND LLOYD: Carli Lloyd’s rocket shot produced four goals as well as tournament MVP and Top Scorer awards at the recent Algarve Cup in Portugal. The U.S. midfielder, who leads the USA in scoring after seven matches this year, is looking to keep that momentum going against Mexico on Saturday, and talks about her breakthrough tournament with Center Circle.
COLD AS ICE, ALMOST: The U.S. team has encountered some cold, nasty weather in Boston and U.S. head coach Greg Ryan opted to cancel training on Thursday, April 12, instead putting the team through a light workout in the hotel gym. While the forecasted snow has held off, Boston did get a nice dousing of icy cold rain and game time temperatures for the Mexico match will likely be in the 40s, more than 30 degrees colder than the climate at the USA’s Residency Training Camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The Mexicans certainly won’t be enjoying the weather either. It will be in the low 80s in Mexico City this weekend.
CAT CAPS: Defender Cat Whitehill earned her 100th career cap in the first match of 2007 against Germany at the Four Nations Tournament in China and will be honored for the achievement in a pre-game ceremony before the Mexico match. Whitehill is the 19th U.S. women’s player to join the Century Club, but is just the fifth player to earn 100 caps who has played exclusively as a defender.
U.S. UNBEATEN RUN AT 39 GAMES; STARTED WITH MEXICO: The U.S. team has not lost a match in regulation time since Greg Ryan took over as head coach in March of 2005, a streak of 38 consecutive matches. The only setback occurred in the championship game of the 2006 Algarve Cup when the USA fell in penalty kicks to Germany after regulation and overtime produced a 0-0 tie. That game officially counts as a draw. Under Ryan, the team has a 31-0-7 record, which includes six tournament titles. The USA is working on an overall 39-game unbeaten run, (shattering the previous record of 30 games) that stretches back to the last game of 2004 on Dec. 8, when, in the final match for Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett, Brandi Chastain and Cindy Parlow, the USA defeated Mexico, 5-0, at The Home Depot Center. 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.
RESIEDENCY CAMP UNDERWAY: The U.S. team is currently based in Los Angeles for Residency Training Camp as Ryan has a roster of 33 players training almost daily at The Home Depot Center. The team will be in and out of camp for four months, traveling to matches with 18-player rosters while the remainder stay behind to train. The roster will fluctuate slighting during the four months as new players come in to camp to be evaluated in the intense and competitive atmosphere. Ryan will likely not name the 21-player 2007 Women’s World Cup Team until the end of July. The USA breaks camp in late July and will come together for week-long camps prior to the two August matches before leaving for China at the end of the month.
U.S. Roster – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): 22-Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), 8-Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), 14-Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.);
FORWARDS (5): 25-Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).
Head Coach: Greg Ryan
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Pamela Tajonar (Mexico F.C.), 20-Sophia Perez (San Diego Sunwaves);
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Elizabeth Gomez (Mexico F.C), 3-Rubi Sandoval (Mexico F.C.), 4-Leticia Villapando (UC Riverside), Janelly Farias (Arsenal F.C.), 13-Lulu Gordillo (Andrea’s Soccer), 15-Luz Saucedo (Mexico F.C.);
MIDFIELDERS (5): Monica Vergara (Mexico F.C.), 7-Evelyn Lopez (Mexico F.C.), 8-Fatima Leyva (Mexico F.C.), 11-Tania Morales (Chivas de Guadalajara), 14-Arelli Martinez (ITESM Guadalajara);
FORWARDS (5): 9-Maribel Dominguez (L’Euromat L’Estartit), 10-Guadalupe Worbis (Meztisas), Christine Nieva (Univ. of Houston), 17-Monica Ocampo (Gancelas Univac), Carmen Padilla (California Storm).
Head Coach: Leo Cuellar
U.S. TEAM AWAITS WWC FINAL DRAW: The U.S. team is anxiously awaiting the results of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Draw which will be held on April 22 in Wuhan, China. The U.S. team will not know its travel schedule, opponents or venues for the first round until that time, but there are a few things that we do know. China is seeded in Group D at D1 and will be based in Wuhan. Defending Women’s World Cup champion Germany is seeded into Group A at A1 and will be based in Shanghai. If the USA is seeded, a virtual lock with the new world ranking, the Americans will be at either B1 or C1. All teams will play their first and second matches of group play in the venue to which they are assigned, then all teams will travel for their third (and final) first-round match. The 16-team tournament will be staged at five stadiums in five cities: Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Wuhan. Four of the venues are in the eastern part of China, while Chengdu is in central China. Tianjin is the northernmost venue and is approximately 125 miles southeast of Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympic Games. The Opening Match (Sept. 10) and Women’s World Cup Final (Sept. 30) will both be played in Shanghai at the Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium.
COLLEGE KIDS GET THE CALL: U.S. head coach Greg Ryan named two players with college eligibility remaining to the roster for the Mexico match in defender Stephanie Lopez and forward Lauren Cheney, as well as uncapped Marian Dalmy, who finished her career at Santa Clara last fall. All three have been participating in the beginning of Residency Training Camp that started last week at The HDC. Lopez is by far the most accomplished of the trio having played for the USA in the past two FIFA U-19 and U-20 World Cups and has 16 senior team caps. She played a major role in the USA’s 2007 Algarve Cup title run last March and has shown signs of consistently working herself into the starting lineup. Cheney has been a standout for the U.S. U-20s and U-21s over the past few years, but failed to score a goal during the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. She rebounded with a great freshman year for UCLA, scoring 19 goals, and now will get a chance to earn her second career cap after getting her first with a start against Germany at the Four Nations Tournament in China last January. Dalmy makes her first-ever roster after joining training camp as Kate Markgraf’s slow recovery from injuries opened a roster spot. The 5-foot-9 Dalmy was the 2006 WWC Player of the Year for Santa Clara, where she played numerous positions, but saw most of her time at right back.
USA vs. MEXICO HISTORY: The USA and Mexico met an amazing five times in 2004, just once in 2005 - that coming in late October in the final match of the year - and twice in 2006, including the key Women’s World Cup qualifier. The five games in 2004 tied a record for second-most matches against a single country in a calendar year (the USA played China five times in 1991, Canada five times in 2000 and Norway eight times in 2000). The USA is 18-0-0 all-time vs. Mexico. While the USA and Mexico certainly do not have the same kind of rivalry that is seen on the men’s side, the passion still runs deep. The USA’s meeting with Mexico in the championship match of the 2004 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament was one for the ages, a 3-2 come-from-behind win for the USA after Maribel Dominguez had staked her country to a 2-0 lead after just 15 minutes. Mexico has only scored six goals against the USA over those 18 matches, and four of them came in a pair of 3-2 wins for the USA, one in 2000 and one at 2004 Olympic qualifying.
A LOOK AT MEXICO: 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, but the failure to qualify for the last two Women’s World Cups, losing two-game playoffs to Japan both in 2003 and 2007, has put a bit of a damper on the program. Mexico, which shocked Canada to qualify for the 2004 Olympics, now has its sights set on Olympic qualification for Beijing ’08 (Mexico was also the first Spanish-speaking country to qualify for the Olympic women’s soccer tournament when they made it to Greece, advancing to the second round at the 2004 Olympics). Mexico and Japan squared off on March 10 and 17 of this year with the aggregate score deciding the berth to China. Mexico lost the first match in Japan, 2-0, and came back to win the return leg, 2-1, but it wasn’t enough as Japan went through to China by a 3-2 score.
“Mari-gol” Leads Mexico
Mexico plays an exciting style featuring a unique mixture of Mexican-Americans and homegrown talent, but Mexico is at its best when star forward Maribel Dominguez is on the top of her game. Mexico’s greatest-ever player in its young history has scored an amazing 53 goals in 69 games, dozens more than any other player. Young star Monica Ocampo, who played very well at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia, is showing signs that Dominguez may get some help in the goal scoring department. Ocampo scored on the USA in her team’s 3-1 loss on Sept. 13, 2006, in Rochester, N.Y. In fact, Dominguez has scored three of Mexico’s six all-time goals against the USA. Former college stars Iris Mora (UCLA) and Monica Gonzalez (Notre Dame) each have one, while Ocampo has the other.
Who will Stop the Wambach?
Gonzalez, usually charged with shadowing Wambach, is not on the roster and Mexico will be hard-pressed to find another player who can stay with the powerful U.S. forward. Mexico will have to rely on rugged defenders Elizabeth Gomez and Rubi Sandoval, who played her college soccer at Cal State Fullerton, to slow the U.S. attack. Mexico does have two quality goalkeepers in Pamela Tajonar and Sophia Perez. Each played one of the matches in the playoff against Japan.
Support for Dominguez
Mexico’s midfielders are experienced, crafty and quick, but lack size. Monica Vergara is a veteran at 23-years-old with 79 appearances but has scored just one goal. Evelyn Lopez has played 56 times and scored five goals, but like Vergara, is a shade over 5-foot-2. At 26, midfielder Fatima Leyva has been one of Mexico’s most effective players for quite a while now. She has played 84 games, but with just two goals. Mexico’s hopes will rest on Dominguez, their captain, a quality game from their goalkeeper and support in the attacking third from Ocampa and Guadalupe Worbis, who is the second leading scorer behind Dominguez with 11 goals in 51 games. Mexico has always struggled with the USA’s athleticism, and while they have improved, the young Tricolores will be hard-pressed to slow the U.S. attack.