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U.S. Women' s National Team Ready to Face China in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday, June 16


U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
USA vs. China
Cleveland, Ohio
June 15, 2007


USA SET TO FACE CHINA TO OPEN 2007 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM SEND-OFF SERIES: The U.S. Women’s National Team opens its “2007 Send-Off Series” on Saturday, June 16, against long-time nemesis China in the first of six matches that will take the U.S. women to the brink of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, being held Sept. 10-30 in China. The USA-China clash will be streamed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchACCESS at 7 p.m. ET from Cleveland Browns Stadium in the first-ever match for the U.S. women in Cleveland. The U.S. men played in Cleveland in May of 2006, notching a 2-0 win over Venezuela, host of the upcoming Copa America tournament, and the U.S. women will be trying to keep U.S. Soccer undefeated in the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The U.S. team has been training in Ohio since last Tuesday, holding sessions at the historic Oberlin College, which was founded in 1833, but trained today for an hour at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

2007 Women’s National Team Send-Off Series
Date       Opponent  Venue (City)                                                               Kickoff TV
June 16 China          Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio) 7 p.m. ET ussoccer.com MatchACCESS
June 23 Brazil           Giants Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)              5 p.m. ET ESPN2
July 14   Norway        Rentschler Field (East Hartford, Conn.)             6 p.m. ET ESPN2
July 28  Japan            Spartan Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)                   7 p.m. PT ussoccer.com MatchACCESS
Aug. 12 New Zealand Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)                               12 p.m. CT ESPN2
Aug. 25 Finland         The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)        6:30 p.m. PT ESPN2

RYAN NAMES 18 PLAYERS TO SUIT UP FOR CHINA MATCH: After a final training on the closely manicured pitch of Cleveland Browns Stadium on Friday, U.S. head coach Greg Ryan named the 18 players who will suit up on Saturday for the match against China. Ryan named six defenders, five midfielders and five forwards, led by team captain Kristine Lilly and forward Abby Wambach, both of whom have five goals this year. The U.S. team got some tragic news today as they will be without the services of goalkeeper Hope Solo, whose father passed away last night. Solo, who has played 32 of the 40 matches under Ryan, returned home to Seattle. The U.S. team will wear black armbands during the match and there will be a moment of silence before the game.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.);
DEFENDERS (6): 22-Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), 8-Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), 14-Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 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.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.);
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 13-Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

WINNING AT HOME: The USA handily won its first two domestic games of 2007, defeating Mexico, 5-0, on April 14 in Boston and downing Canada, 6-2, on May 12 in Frisco, Texas. With the two CONCACAF foes vanquished, the USA will now set it sights on Asia and South America in the next two matches. Will the USA continue to pile up goals against China, one of the favorites to win the Women’s World Cup this fall? It will be difficult. The Chinese, led by new head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors are hoping to put the clamps on a U.S. attack which seems to be gelling at the right time. The U.S. team is spending two weeks on the road, the first in Cleveland and the second in New York/New Jersey in preparation for a tasty match against Brazil on June 23 at Giants Stadium in the first meeting between the two teams since the 2004 Olympic gold medal game.

USA STILL NUMBER ONE: The latest edition of the FIFA Women’s World Rankings were released today and the Americans women have remained comfortably in the top spot. The USA now hold a healthy lead over reigning Women’s World Cup champions Germany, increasing its points tally on the back of comfortable victories over Mexico and particularly over neighbouring Canada. For Germany, however, recent wins in the preliminary competition of the UEFA Women’s Championship have failed to atone for a disappointing 2007 Algarve Cup campaign. Sweden has moved from fourth up to third, which means that the USA’s group at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup now includes two of the top-three teams in the world. Norway moves down to fourth. The Chinese, who will face the USA tomorrow, stayed at 11. This edition is the final ranking before the FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in September.

RESIDENCY CAMP NEARS ITS END: The U.S. team is currently based in Los Angeles for 2007 Residency Training Camp, which started in early April, and head coach Greg Ryan has cut his roster to 24 players training at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Ryan will travel all 24 players for the first two matches of the Send-Off Series, but will name 18 to suit up for each match. The U.S. team will have just three more days of training in Los Angeles before ending Residency Camp in late July, as most of the team’s training will be done on the road in advance of the Send-Off Series matches. The Residency Camp roster has fluctuated as new players have come in to be evaluated in the intense and competitive atmosphere, but as the World Cup draws closer, the pool continues to shrink as Ryan gets closer to naming his Women’s World Cup team, which will likely not be finalized until the end of July. When the USA breaks Residency Camp in late July, it will come together for week-long camps prior to the two August matches before leaving for China at the end of the month.

MISS IT? CHECK OUT WE ARE…THE U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ON USSOCCER.COM: U.S. Soccer has produced an in depth look at the U.S. Women's National Team in preparation for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. If you missed it on Fox Soccer Channel, you can still see it by visiting ussoccer.com’s Studio 90 to view the show in its entirety. The 30-minute program features personality profiles of the team’s players, behind-the scenes access and a look at day-to-day life for the U.S. women as they prepare for a six-game tour of the United States this summer in advance of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The show also features a look at the coaching style of Greg Ryan, who has guided the U.S. Women to a 33-0-7 record in three years as the team’s head coach.

LOPEZ RISES UP: U.S. defender Stephanie Lopez is known to be a soft-spoken person, but her role on the U.S. team may have gotten more prominent when Heather Mitts went down with a knee injury. The 21-year-old California took some time out to speak with ussoccer.com’s Center Circle about her development as a player and her potential role in her first Women’s World Cup.

U.S. WNT Quick Hits:

  • The USA has never lost a game in which Kristine Lilly has started the match wearing the captain’s band.
  • In the last four games Lilly has played against China, dating back to the beginning of 2006, she has scored five goals.
  • The first of Lilly’s 122 career goals came against China back on Aug. 13, 1987, about a year after teammate Stephanie Lopez was born.
  • Since the end of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women have gone 33-2-10 against teams that will be participating in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
  • The U.S. Women have played eight games in the state of Ohio, the first two back in 1993 at Galbreath Field in Cincinnati and at Arlin Field in Mansfield. The USA is 7-1-0 in Ohio, falling only to Canada at the end of 2000 in the last of 41 matches the USA played that year. The U.S. women have played four matches at Columbus Crew Stadium, including one at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 3-0 win over North Korea.
  • Will the USA have a young team in the Women’s World Cup? Only two of the top-11 World Cup scorers in U.S. history will be on the team…Kristine Lilly (seven career WWC goals) and Abby Wambach (three career WWC goals).
  • The USA has picked up just eight cautions in nine matches so far in 2007.
  • Abby Wambach needs just four goals to tie Cindy Parlow for fifth on the all-time U.S. scoring list.
  • Abby Wambach (twice) and Kristine Lilly have accounted for the three multiple goal games this year for the U.S. women.
  • Kristine Lilly is the oldest U.S. player on the roster at 35. Briana Scurry, also 35, was born two months later. Stephanie Lopez, age 21, is the youngest player on the roster.

USA vs. CHINA PREVIEW: The USA and China have already met twice this year, the first time in the final game of the Four Nations Tournament in China on Jan. 30 and then just five weeks later on March 7 in the opening game of the Algarve Cup in Portugal. The USA won by 2-0 and 2-1 scores respectively, but for the most part were in control of both matches throughout. The win in China came without five key U.S. veterans who skipped the trip (most notably Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach), but goals from Lori Chalupny and Natasha Kai earned the win in Guangzhou. Playing with a full squad in the 2007 Algarve Cup opener, the USA faced a more determined Chinese side, but still came away with a 2-1 win on goals from Lilly and Carli Lloyd. China is coming off a split of matches against fellow Women’s World Cup participant Argentina in Argentina, winning, 1-0, on June 5, but losing, 1-0, on June 8. In the match prior to that, China tied Women’s World Cup participant Australia, 2-2. The USA is 6-2-2 all-time against China in the United States. The last time the U.S. and China met on U.S. soil was a 4-1 U.S. win on August 27, 2006, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. The USA’s last loss at home to China came a few months before the start of the 1999 Women’s World Cup when the Americans gave up a late goal to lose 2-1 in April of 1999 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That loss ended the USA’s 50-game domestic unbeaten streak. The USA currently is carrying a 41-game overall unbeaten streak during regulation time, and has gone 17 games unbeaten at home.

A Swede in Shanghai
China is transitioning to its third coach in less than six months after Ma Liangxing stepped down due to health issues and a dispute with the Chinese Federation. Wang Haiming, who coached China’s U-19 team to the championship game of the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, took over, but did not have much success in his brief stint as interim coach. China then hired Swedish coaching legend Marika Domanski-Lyfors, the head coach for her native land for over a decade, who coached Sweden to the brink of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup title, only to lose to Germany in overtime. China has had some renewed success under Domanski-Lyfors, but a recent split of two matches in Argentina shows that China still has much work to do.

All-Time Series
The USA’s win at the 2007 Algarve Cup moved its all-time record against China to 18-8-11. In both matches this year against China, the USA came out and attacked with fervor, playing in a 3-4-3 formation for the first time under head coach Greg Ryan, before dropping into a more defensive formation once the Americans had the lead. The match in China, on a large, flat field, contrasted the Algarve Cup game, which featured a smaller pitch and less smooth surface. The Chinese will be focused on creating opportunities for their featured striker Han Duan, who was largely marked out of the match in January, but who scored on a header off a set play in Portugal. That goal was just the second China has scored on the USA in the last seven matches between the teams. The USA will be looking to continue to tap the rich scoring vein of Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach, while continuing to get goals from more attacking players, as Heather O’Reilly, Carli Lloyd, Lindsay Tarpley, Lori Chalupny, Natasha Kai and Lauren Cheney have all scored this year.

U.S. head coach Greg Ryan
On the match vs. China:
“They are going to play a much more open attacking game under this coach (new head coach Marika Domanksi-Lyfors)…instead of keeping eight players behind the ball and defending, they are attacking with five our six and only defending with four or five. So I think what you should expect, and it should be fun, is a much more open, attacking game from both teams.”

On the USA going into the Women’s World Cup as one of the favorites:
“If you look over the long history, we have dominated in the world. The landscape has definitely changed since 1991 when the USA won their first World Championship in China. The teams we are playing against now are so much better. They are putting so many more resources into the game and the players are more athletic. There are five, six, seven teams that can win this thing.”

On the USA’s attitude on this long unbeaten streak:
“We know the expectations are high, we know that everyone is shooting at us, so let’s just embrace that and go out and give it everything we’ve got. We haven’t worried about the pressure, we don’t worry about losing, we just go out and play to win, and so far, it’s worked pretty well.”

On the relationship between the veteran players and the youngsters:
“It’s grown into a fantastic relationship where the veteran players have really embraced the younger ones and welcomed them. They are great mentors and leaders for them. But they also look out on the field and realize that these younger players are great players. They don’t look at them like ‘we’re the good ones and you’re carrying our bags.’ Once we step out on the field, our veterans look across at the young ones and know that that player could be just as good as me today. So, it’s a real respect. The young players had to earn that and the veterans had to help them attain that. (The chemistry) couldn’t be better than it is.”

BOTH TEAMS PREPING FOR 2007 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: Both the USA and China are deep into preparations for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. There will be tremendous pressure on the host country to perform and Chinese head coach Marika Domanksi-Lyfors has said a semifinal berth is a realistic yet challenging goal for her team. The Final Draw was certainly kind to the hosts as games against a talented yet unproven Danish team, a mysterious Brazil side which has not played many matches of late and the underdog Kiwis of New Zealand await in Group D. The USA, on the other hand, is in Group B which features three of the top teams in the world, including arguably the top team from Europe in Sweden and North Korea from Asia.

2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup
USA Group B Schedule
Date         Teams                             Venue Local / Eastern Time
Sept. 11   USA vs. North Korea    Chengdu 5 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Sept. 14   Sweden vs. USA           Chengdu 5 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Sept. 18   Nigeria vs. USA             Shanghai 8 p.m. / 8 a.m.

China Group D Schedule
Date           Teams                                  Venue Local / Eastern Time
Sept. 12    China vs. Denmark            Wuhan 8 p.m. / 8 a.m.
Sept. 15    Brazil vs. China                    Wuhan 8 p.m. / 8 a.m.
Sept. 19    China vs. New Zealand      Tianjin 8 p.m. / 8 a.m.

Stat of Note
Kristine Lilly knows a bit about China. Not only has she visited the country almost 10 times, but this will be the 35th match she has played against China. Odds are that the Chinese will be happy to see her finally hang up her boots one day.

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