CHICAGO (April 20, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Canada twice in July, facing its familiar foe on Sunday, July 19, at Rochester Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., and then again three days later on Wednesday, July 22, at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C.
The matches mark the first meetings between the teams since Natasha Kai scored an overtime game-winner in a 2-1 quarterfinal victory for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics in Shanghai, China, on Aug. 15, 2008.
The game in Rochester kicks off at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN. The match in Charleston kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol. Both matches will be available online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
Coming off the gold medal triumph at the 2008 Olympics, second-year head coach Pia Sundhage will use these matches to help evaluate the top U.S. players, all of whom are currently playing in Women's Professional Soccer, as she continues to mold a team for qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
Tickets for both games go on sale to the public Friday, April 24, at 10 a.m. ET through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Rochester and Charleston areas. Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.
As a sponsor of U.S. Soccer, Visa® is pleased to offer all Visa cardholders access to an advance ticket sale for this match before the sale to the general public. This advance sale starts Thursday, April 23, at 10 a.m. ET and runs until Friday, April 24, at 8 a.m. ET at ussoccer.com. Visa will be the only payment method accepted through the Visa presale and is the preferred card of U.S. Soccer. Terms and conditions apply.
The two games will be the 45th and 46th meetings all-time between the USA and Canada, the most matches against any country the U.S. team has faced in its history. The most recent meeting at the 2008 Olympics was one of the most tension-filled as the USA went ahead 1-0 on an early goal from Angela Hucles before the match was delayed 99 minutes by lightning. Canadian captain Christine Sinclair equalized soon after the resumption of play and despite outshooting the Maple Leafs 34-8, the USA could not manufacture a goal until overtime, when Kai’s diving header off a Shannon Boxx cross sent the U.S. to the semifinal.
Canada has several players competing in WPS, including Sinclair, who currently has 99 career goals. She will have her first chance for the 100th on May 25 against Japan. Canada’s team may have a different look as new head coach Carolina Morace, a legendary Italian player and coach, will face the USA for the first time from the Canadian bench. Morace squared off against the Americans several times as a player and also as head coach of her native country, a post she held from 2000-2005.
“Although we have played Canada many times, I am very happy we’re facing them again,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “Their new head coach Carolina Morace will likely introduce a different playing style. Players who are trying new things for their new coach could be very unpredictable, and we need to respond to that with our tactical skills. It has always been challenging to play our neighbor and I’m looking forward to dealing with their new style which will probably be a little influenced by Italian soccer. I believe it’s also important for us to get to know the new Canada because we will surely play them in World Cup qualification.”
The match in Rochester could mark the return of hometown hero Abby Wambach, who scored 142 goals as a high school All-American and 1997 National High School Player of the Year at Our Lady of Mercy. Wambach has yet to play for the USA since breaking her leg in the final pre-Olympic match, but should get her chance to score her 100th goal in the USA’s games against Japan on May 20 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, (tickets) and May 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (tickets).
The series brings the U.S. women to Rochester for an international match for the fourth time, but it will be only the second game at the Rochester Rhinos Stadium, which opened in 2006 and features an artificial surface. The last time the USA played there was in Sept. 13, 2006, earning a 3-1 victory against Mexico that saw Wambach score twice in front of her hometown fans.
The USA also returns to Blackbaud Stadium for the fourth time and has not allowed a goal in the three previous wins at one of the nicest small soccer-specific venues in the country. The USA last played in Blackbaud in 2005 in a 3-0 win over Mexico – another game in which Wambach scored twice.
The matches will be the last for the U.S. Women’s National Team at home in 2009, but the team is scheduled to gather for training camps and a European tour following the completion of the inaugural WPS campaign.