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U.S. Women's National Team to Close Out Series vs. Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 20

U.S. Women’s National Team
Albuquerque, N.M.
Oct. 19, 2007

U.S. WOMEN END 2007 WITH MEXICO IN ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.: Coming off two big wins over Mexico (5-1 in St. Louis, Mo., and 4-0 in Portland, Ore.), a U.S. Women’s National Team that is a bit banged and bruised will face the Mexico Women for the third time in eight days when the teams kick off Saturday at University Stadium on the campus of the University of New Mexico. The USA carries a 19-1-3 record for 2007 into the game, which will be the first on grass during this three-game series. The 22nd meeting between the USA and Mexico kicks off at 4:30 p.m. MT and fans can follow the action on’s MatchTracker. While the USA has outscored Mexico, 9-1, over the two games so far this series, the Mexicans have played good soccer in spurts before the Americans blew open both games with second half flurries. After playing in a dome in St. Louis, and in cold, wet weather in Portland, the U.S. team is looking forward to an excellent pitch and breezy temperatures in the low 70s on Saturday, a fine environment to end the year in front of what surely will be an appreciative New Mexico crowd. The U.S. women last played in Albuquerque in 2004, a 3-0 win over Mexico in the run-up to the Athens Olympics.

2007 Women’s National Team Mexico Series
Date        Opponent     Venue (City)                                                      Kickoff/Score
Oct. 13     Mexico          Edward Jones Dome (St. Louis, Mo.)         5-1 W
Oct. 17     Mexico          PGE Park (Portland, Ore.)                             4-0 W
Oct. 20     Mexico          University Stadium (Albuquerque, N.M.)    4:30 p.m. MT

LAST GAME FOR LILLY…IN 2007: Everywhere the U.S. team has gone in 2007, U.S. captain Kristine Lilly has been asked about when she will officially hang up her boots. In her 21st year on the National Team, Lilly has surely earned some rest, but with just 10 months until the Olympics, she currently has no plans for retirement. She will, however, take the next few months to make a final decision on her soccer future. Hopefully fans have not seen the last of Lilly, who has played in a record five Women’s World Cups and all three Olympic women’s soccer tournaments. The world record holder in international appearances, she will play in her astronomical 340th game on Saturday against Mexico. Amazingly, she has started 326 of the games, coming off the bench just 14 times in her career that has spanned three decades, four U.S. Presidents and eight world championships. Lilly has also scored 129 career goals, 29 behind all-time record holder Mia Hamm, and while her statistics are certainly impressive, it’s her consistency over those years which has defined her career. She has 12 goals in 2007, second on the team to Abby Wambach, and has scored against China, Denmark, Brazil, Japan, Canada and England, among others, all teams that participated in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

U.S. captain Kristine Lilly

On coming to Albuquerque, where the team has played just once before:
“We’re glad to be back in Albuquerque. It’s a great field and it’s a great stadium and it shows that we care about our fans all over the country. It’s great for the U.S. team to get to as many places as we possibly can, because we are their team and coming to areas where they maybe don’t see us as much is important. We want to thank them for the support, show them who they are supporting and get them to know us a little bit better.”

On what this three-game series vs. Mexico means to the U.S. team:
“I think, mainly for us, it’s an opportunity to come back and thank our fans. When we were in China, people were getting up at 5 a.m. to watch us on TV, so we want to thank them. Yeah, we’re disappointed with third place, but we have never failed to finish below third place in any Women’s World Cup and that’s still a great accomplishment. We’re here to celebrate our World Cup and thank our fans.”

On the importance of the team coming back strong for the Olympics:
“Even if we got first (in the WWC), it would still be important. Our goal every time we compete is to be the best. We learned a lot in this World Cup and I think we can play better. As a team, we know we can play better, and I think that pretty much sums it up. Our games weren’t 90-minute full, great games. We had moments, and we need more moments to be champions. We’ve got 10 months (until the Olympics), so we’ve got time, and we just need to enjoy playing because we know what we need to do to win.”

PORTLAND 4-0: The first match of this three-game series saw Mexico play a great first 20 minutes in St. Louis, getting a goal just three minutes in, before the USA tied the game in the first half and then scored four goals after the break. The second match also had interesting and significant moments. The game saw a goal directly off a corner kick from Kristine Lilly that slapped off the hands of the Mexican goalkeeper, Abby Wambach’s 20th goal of the year made her the first player to score 20 or more goals twice in a calendar year. Natasha Kai got her first goal since January and Carli Lloyd scored her second goal in the last two games, despite playing just 23 minutes over those two matches. While the USA is carrying some injuries, if the first two games are any indication, the match in Albuquerque should certainly be entertaining for the fans.

DINGED DEFENDERS: The U.S. team is a bit short on defenders for the final match of this three-game series. Kate Markgraf is not on the roster in New Mexico due to a prior commitment, but her ankle injury suffered in Women’s World Cup kept her out of the first two matches and would have caused her to miss the third as well. Marian Dalmy tweaked her knee in the first Mexico match and is doubtful for the game. Stephanie Lopez returned to her college team at the University of Portland after the Women’s World Cup and was not scheduled to play in any of the three matches. (She has two matches with UP this weekend). Tina Ellertson pulled a quad muscle in Portland and is also doubtful, leaving two healthy defenders on the U.S. roster in Cat Whitehill and Christie Rampone. The USA should be fine however, as the team has often played in a three-back alignment, while Lori Chalupny can certainly play defender, Angela Hucles filled in admirably in the back during last match and Leslie Osborne can also play in the defense.

WAMBACH GETS 20TH GOAL OF 2007: Abby Wambach scored her 20th goal of 2007 on Oct. 17 in Portland, marking just the sixth time in the 22-year history of the program that a player has scored 20 or more goals in a calendar year. The goal also meant that she is the first player to accomplish this feat twice, as she scored 31 goals in 2004. Mia Hamm had nine years of double figure goals, but scored highs of 18 (1997), 19 (1995) and 20 (1998) during her historic career. If Wambach grabs two more goals against Mexico on Oct. 20, it will be the third highest scoring year in U.S. history. Wambach has scored her 20 goals in 20 games played in 2007.

Top-10 Yearly High for Goals in WNT History
  Year Player Goals
1. 1991 Michelle Akers 39
2. 2004 Abby Wambach 31
3. 1999 Tiffeny Milbrett 21
4. 1998 Mia Hamm 20
  1999 Kristine Lilly 20
  2007 Abby Wambach 20
7. 1995 Mia Hamm 19
  1991 April Heinrichs 19
  2000 Cindy Parlow 19
10. 1997 Mia Hamm 18

Stat of Note
Kristine Lilly holds the U.S. record for consecutive starts, with 62 from January 20, 1996, through September 20, 1998.