U.S. Women Will Face European Power Sweden Live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. CT
at National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn.
CARSON, Calif. (July 11, 2006) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan has named the 18-player roster that will face Sweden on July 15 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., in the first domestic match of the year for the USA.
The clash between the USA, which is second in the current FIFA world rankings, and Sweden, ranked fifth, will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. CT. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The match marks the 14th time the U.S. women have played in Blaine, Minn., the most games ever hosted by any city in the United States. The USA heads into the match having played nine matches abroad so far this year, compiling a record of 6-0-3.
Tickets are available online at ussoccer.com, at all Minnesota and Wisconsin area Ticketmaster outlets (including Cash Wise Foods, Hy-Vee Foods, and Marshall Field’s) and by phone at 651-989-5151. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets by logging onto ussoccer.com or calling 312-528-1290.
The two teams have not met since the 2004 Algarve Cup in Portugal when Sweden defeated the USA, 3-1, in the final match of group play. Sweden will come into the match well prepared as they are in the middle of their domestic club season and at the tail end of their Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign. Sweden needs just one win from its last two matches in Group 2 of European qualifying to secure their spot at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.
The USA has had success against Sweden over the years, piling up a 12-3-5 record against the 2003 Women’s World Cup runner-up, but the last nine matches have been highly competitive, with the USA holding an edge at three wins, two losses and four ties.
The match marks the return of Dayton, Minn., native Briana Scurry to her home state. Scurry, who has played 155 times for the United States, as well as in three Women’s World Cups and two Olympics, holds every goalkeeping record in U.S. history, including a staggering 71 career shutouts. Hope Solo has been the USA first-choice goalkeeper in 2005 and 2006, starting eight of the nine matches and posting five shutouts.
Ryan named two goalkeepers, six defenders, five midfielders and five forwards to the roster. Nine players were members of the gold medal-winning 2004 Olympic team. Leading the way for the USA are veterans Kristine Lilly, Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, Heather Mitts, Aly Wagner and Cat Whitehill, but the USA will be without defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx, who has not yet recovered from hip surgery. Twenty-three-year-old Leslie Osborne and 30-year-old Marci Miller may see time in place of Boxx, who has started 58 of the 59 games she has played for the USA. In addition to Wagner, the USA’s other attacking midfielders are Lindsay Tarpley and Carli Lloyd, who has just nine caps and is looking for her first career goal.
Lilly, who holds the world record with 308 international appearances for the USA, leads the team in scoring this year with five goals, bumping her career total up to 109. She also has four assists. Wambach has five goals and three assists.
The only uncapped player on the U.S. roster is forward Megan Rapinoe. The rising sophomore at the University of Portland, who scored 15 goals and had 13 assists last year to help the Pilots to an undefeated season and the NCAA title, also starred on the U.S. team that finished third at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. The Redding, Calif. native had an excellent tournament in Thailand, scoring three goals, including one in the third-place match victory against Brazil. She only came into Residency Training Camp in the middle of May, but has made enough of an impression on the coaching staff to make her first WNT roster.
Sweden will be without two of its top players as forward Hanna Ljungberg has a hamstring injury and midfielder and captain Malin Mostrom has a previous commitment. Still, Sweden brings some veteran stars including defenders Jane Tornqvist, Hanna Marklund and Karolina Westberg, all of whom have played more than 100 matches for their country. Sweden has one of the top goalkeepers in the world in Caroline Jonsson and at least two world-class attacking personalities in Victoria Svensson, who won the Silver Ball as the second most outstanding player at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Lotta Schelin, a rising star who has scored five times in Women’s World Cup qualifying.
The USA will arrive in Minnesota on Wednesday, July 12, and train at the NSC on Thursday and Friday before facing Sweden on Saturday. The USA has not lost in Blaine since 1987.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Tina Frimpong (Vancouver, Wash.), Amy LePeilbet (Reno, Nev.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (5): Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Marci Miller (St. Charles, Ill.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.);
FORWARDS (5): Natasha Kai (Kakuku, Hawaii), Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).
Head Coach: Greg Ryan - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Asst. Coach: Bret Hall - St. Charles, Ill.
GK Coach: Mark Dougherty - Littleton, Colo.
General Manager: Nils Krumins - Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Team Physician: Dr. Scott Powell - Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Medical Trainer: Julie O’Connell - Chicago, Ill
Massage Therapist: Scott Street - Atlanta, Ga.
Massage Therapist: Kara Mirarchi - Boston, Mass.
Equipment Manager: Zac Herndon - Long Beach, Calif.
Team Security: Mark Pharris - Atlanta, Ga.
Press Officer: Aaron Heifetz - Long Beach, Calif.