U.S. WNT Set to Close Out July Schedule on Sunday vs. Canada in Cary, N.C.
United States Women’s National Team
July 28, 2006
OH CANADA, U.S. WOMEN READY FOR RIVAL: The U.S. Women’s National Team takes on Canada this Sunday, July 30, meeting one of its oldest rivals in a series that has spanned 20 years and 36 matches. This will be the third domestic match of the year for the USA, and concludes a three-game stretch in the month of July. After playing the first nine matches of the year outside of the United States, the U.S. Women’s National Team came home to face Sweden in the first stateside match of year on July 15 in Minnesota, coming away with a dramatic 3-2 win in boiling temperatures. The match saw three goals in the last four minutes, including two in stoppage time, the final tally coming from Kristine Lilly who rifled her shot under the crossbar with seconds left after Abby Wambach had flicked a header into the box off a throw-in. Last weekend, led by Cat Whitehill’s two goals, the USA downed Ireland, 5-0, in San Diego. Before the Sweden game, the USA had not played an international match since 1-0 win vs. Japan on May 9 in Osaka, where the lone goal came from Natasha Kai. The Canada game is the third of what could be as many as seven domestic matches for the USA in 2006 leading into qualifying for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. CONCACAF qualifying this year will take the form of a six-team CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup, to be staged in the USA in late November with dates and venues to be announced.
THE WAGNER 100: U.S. midfielder Aly Wagner, a 2004 Olympic gold medallist, enters Sunday’s match sitting on 99 career caps, and will become the next U.S. player to hit 100 career appearances if she plays against Canada. Wagner would become the 18th U.S. player to play 100 times for her country. The San Jose, Calif., native battled knee injuries early in her career, and was in the Residency Training Camps for the 1999 Women’s World Cup and 2000 Olympics, before making her first World Championship roster for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
(Hometown – caps/goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn. - 155), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash - 29);
DEFENDERS (6): 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo. – 19/2), 8-Tina Frimpong (Vancouver, Wash. – 12/0), 14-Amy LePeilbet (Crystal Lake, Ill. – 20/0), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio – 52/2), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J. – 146/4), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala. – 91/9);
MIDFIELDERS (5): 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J. - 11/0), 15-Marci Miller (St. Charles, Ill. – 6/0), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis. – 20/0), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich. – 49/9), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif. – 99/20);
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii – 7/4), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J. – 48/8), 16-Megan Rapinoe (Redding, Calif. – 1/0), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y. – 74/56), Christie Welsh (Massapequa Park, N.Y. – 38/20).
Canada Roster (Hometown – caps/goals):
GOALKEEPERS: 1-Karina LeBlanc (Calgary, AB - 50), 22-Erin McLeod (Calgary, AB – 17);
DEFENDERS: 2-Christine Latham (Calgary, AB – 48/15), 3-Melanie Booth (Burlington, ON - 17/0), 4-Sasha Andrews (Edmonton, AB - 31/3), 6-Sharolta Nonen (Vancouver, BC - 62/1), 9-Martina Franko (Squamish, BC - 8/2), 11-Randee Hermus (Langley, BC - 69/5), 16-Sophie Schmidt (Abbotsford, BC - 13/2);
MIDFIELDERS: 5-Andrea Neil (Vancouver, BC - 113/22), 13-Amy Walsh (St. Bruno, QC - 71/5), 17-Brittany Timko (Coquitlam, BC - 49/0);
FORWARDS: 10-Charmaine Hooper (Ottawa, ON - 130/71), 12-Christine Sinclair (Burnaby, BC - 77/56), 18-Aysha Jamani (Calgary, BC - 10/7).
USA UNBEATEN AT SAS: The U.S. Women’s National Team has played two matches at SAS Soccer Park in its history, both at the 2002 Nike U.S. Women’s Cup. The American women have not been back to North Carolina since those games, but U.S. Soccer has had a strong presence here as the U.S. MNT conducted its pre-World Cup preparations at SAS Soccer Park last May. In the previous games at SAS, the USA won both games by 4-0 scores vs. Australia and Italy. U.S. forward Heather O’Reilly scored her first goal for the senior National Team on Oct. 6, 2002, against the Italians. The USA has actually played eight matches in North Carolina, two in Cary, two in Charlotte, three in Davidson and one in Greensboro, and has never lost in the state, piling up a record of 7-0-1.
CAROLINA CONNECTION: The U.S. team has deep ties with North Carolina as numerous Women’s National Team players have played at either the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina State or Duke. On the current team, young stars Cat Whitehill, Lindsay Tarpley and Lori Chalupny recently finished their college careers at UNC, while forward Heather O’Reilly has one more season of eligibility remaining. [all_access video: O’Reilly on UNC and WNT - Pt. 1 … Pt. 2] U.S. captain Kristine Lilly, who continues to build on her world-record 309 caps, also attended UNC, graduating in 1993. Some of the most legendary players in U.S. history played their college ball with the Tar Heels, including Mia Hamm, Tisha Venturini, 2006 NSHOF inductee Carla Overbeck and Cindy Parlow. Lorrie Fair and Tiffany Roberts, another pair of UNC alums, both rank in the top-20 in all-time caps for the USA.
WNT PHOTOS FOR FANS AVAILABLE AT ussoccerphotostore.com: Ever say, “I would love an 8 X 10 of Kristine Lilly” or wish you had some cool color photos of one of your other favorite Women’s National Team players, but your disposable camera just won’t get it done? Or you live in Florida and the team is in California? For fans of the U.S. Women's National Team, U.S. Soccer has introduced an easy and affordable way to collect high quality prints of the team's most popular players. Whether it’s Abby Wambach or Kristine Lilly or Lindsay Tarpley, fans can order framed or unframed high quality prints of their favorite players at ussoccerphotostore.com. All of the photography featured at ussoccerphotostore.com is courtesy of International Sports Images led by U.S. Soccer photography manager John Todd.
PARLOW HANGS’EM UP: Former U.S. forward Cindy Parlow has officially announced her retirement from the international game. The two-time winner of the Hermann Trophy and M.A.C. Player of the Year awards, she was hounded by back and head injuries towards the end of her international career. The 5-foot-11 Parlow steps away from the game with 158 matches played for the USA, and 75 career goals, good for fifth all-time. At 18, Parlow was the youngest-ever Olympic gold medallist for the USA (and won two golds, in 1996 and 2004) as well as the youngest-ever Women’s World Cup champion (1999). She is currently second on the all-time career hat trick list with eight (behind only Hamm), and scored several huge goals for the USA during her career, none bigger than in the opening minutes of the semifinal victory vs. Brazil at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. No doubt the finest player ever out of the state of Tennessee, she has a street named after her at the soccer complex in her hometown. Parlow was the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 1998, and also represented the USA at various youth levels during her teenage years. She retires at age 28 as one of the greatest goal scorers in U.S. history behind only Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett on the all-time chart. She played her last match for the USA on Dec. 9, 2004, against Mexico at The Home Depot Center in what was also the final game for Hamm, Joy Fawcett and Julie Foudy.
USA vs. CANADA HISTORY: On Sunday, the USA and Canada renew a rivalry that has become as heated as any in the world, but it wasn’t always that way. It was certainly a one-sided affair for the first 15 years the teams played, as the USA racked up 21 straight wins and 22 victories in 23 games from 1986-2000. However, Canada has enjoyed a resurgence in the new millennium, and have moved up to #11 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. In November of 2000, Canada picked up its first win vs. the USA in a decade and half, but it has proven to be a blip on the radar, as the USA has won seven of the last 10 games (and five in a row) with two ties since then, and the one loss came with a very young team at the 2001 Algarve Cup. Still, all the matches in the last two years have been highly competitive (outside of a game in Washington, D.C., when Canada brought a young team) and Sunday’s match will no doubt be a difficult one for both sides. The USA has defeated Canada in three CONCACAF qualifying events for the Women’s World Cup, winning in the regional title games in 1991, 1994 and 2002, when the USA notched a dramatic sudden death overtime win on a goal from Mia Hamm on a muddy, fog-shrouded pitch at the Rose Bowl. In the last three meetings the USA has managed just two goals per game, but Canada has failed to score. The match will mark the 36th meeting between the two teams, the second most of any opponent in U.S. Women’s National Team history. Only Norway (39) has played the USA more times. Amazingly, of the 35 meetings between the two teams, only four have been in Canada. Twenty-two of the games have been played in the USA and nine have been on neutral ground. The USA and Canada have played at least once a year, every year since 1993.
USA vs. CANADA PREVIEW: Canada is coming off an excellent 4-2 win against Sweden on July 18 that saw the ageless Charmaine Hooper score three times. Canada features some of the world’s top young players (and one of the world’s top veteran players in Hooper). Canada has played six matches so far in 2006, going 5-0-1 with wins vs. Mexico, Holland, Italy and Sweden. USA-Canada games are never attractive affairs, and one would expect this one to be similarly physical. Expect the USA to have their backs to the wall as they attempt to repel Canada’s long-ball style. Canada’s head coach, Even Pellerud, is one of just four coaches to win a Women’s World Cup title, doing so with his native Norway in 1995, and his team’s direct style of play is reflective of his Scandinavian background. Canada is always a tough team to score on, but if the USA can match the physicality of their northern neighbors, the USA’s superior ball possession abilities and speed usually spell victory. Hooper, still going strong at 38 despite the birth of her first child last year, is her team’s emotional leader and always a force to be reckoned with due to her competitive fire. While Hooper may be coming to the end of her career, young Christine Sinclair is just getting started. As a senior last season at the University of Portland, she had one of the best years in college soccer history, leading the Pilots to the NCAA championship in 2005 with an amazing 39 goals. The two-time Hermann Trophy award winner has 55 career goals in just 77 games for Canada, a strike rate very similar to that of Wambach. She won the Golden Ball (MVP) and Golden Boot (top scorer) at the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship in her home country. Canada’s defense will have a bit of a different look this time out as thundering forward Christine Latham, the former University of Nebraska star who was the 2003 WUSA Rookie of the Year with the San Diego Spirit, switches to center back. Paired with long-time defensive stalwart Sharolta Nonen, the center of the Canadian defense will be extremely physical and almost impossible to penetrate on air balls. Latham has 15 career goals in her 47 caps, including three scores at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Both teams may play 4-3-3 formations, although Canada’s at times looks much more like a 4-5-1. Both teams have world-class strikers and excellent goalkeepers, but the Americans may have the advantage with a more talented midfield and more experienced defenders. As in almost all USA-Canada meetings, the match should be rough and tumble, with the victor being the team more willing to sacrifice their bodies at both ends of the field.
U.S. WNT QUICK HITS:
• With her hat trick against Japan on May 7, giving her 54 career goals (she now has 56), Wambach passed National Soccer Hall of Fame member Carin Gabarra to move into 7th place on the all-time U.S. goal scoring chart. Next up for Wambach…Shannon MacMillan, who has 60 career goals
• Heather Mitts earned her 50th cap against Japan on May 9, making her the 29th U.S. woman to reach that mark
• If she plays against Canada, Tarpley will earn her 50th career cap. She is just 22 years old
• With her assist against Japan on May 7, Whitehill equaled her yearly total of the last five years: one. Her next assist in 2006 will mark a new one-year high. More impressively, she has scored three goals in the last two games, giving her nine for her career and moving her into third place on the USA’s all-time scoring list for defenders behind Joy Fawcett and Brandi Chastain. If Whitehill scores against Canada, she will become just the second defender in U.S. history to score in three straight games. Brandi Chastain accomplished the feat in 2002
• If goalkeeper Briana Scurry plays against Canada, it will be her first game for the USA since Dec. 8, 2004. She is still, by far, the most capped goalkeeper in U.S. history with 155 games
• The USA has never lost a game in which Lilly has started the match wearing the captain’s band. However, in the absence of Lilly and Boxx, look for Wambach to captain the USA for the second time after having first worn the armband last week against Ireland. Or it could be Aly Wagner getting the honor for her 100th game
• Eight players have scored the USA’s 26 goals so far this year, with 20 coming from forwards
• U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has made at least five substitutions in seven of the USA’s 11 games so far this year
• Wambach leads the USA in minutes played this year with 968 out of a possible 1020
• Two of the five all-time leading goal scorers against the U.S. are expected to start for Canada on Sunday. The leaders: Charmaine Hooper, 10 in 25 games (Canada); Hege Riise, 10 in 32 games (Norway); Christine Sinclair, 6 in 15 games (Canada); Marianne Pettersen, 6 in 17 games (Norway); and Sun Wen, 6 in 21 games (China)