Friday, Oct. 14, 2005
U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Fullerton, Calif.
U.S. TEAM READY TO WALTZ WITH MATILDAS: The matches between the USA and Australia women’s soccer teams have historically rarely been as graceful as a waltz, with bodies usually flying as players go hard into tackles and head balls all game long. The U.S. women are excited to face a team that tied them in the Olympics while the Australians begin a three-game tour of the USA that will also include a game against Mexico mid-week in El Paso, Texas. After taking Wednesday off following double-days on Monday and Tuesday, the U.S. had intense but progressively shorter trainings on Thursday and Friday as the team tapers into their eighth match of 2005. The USA will train at Titan Stadium on Saturday. The USA is 7-0-0 so far this year and has yet to allow a goal. Fans that can’t make it out to Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton can watch the clash with Australia (tickets) on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. PT live on ESPN2 or follow the game on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The USA travels to Charleston, S.C., on Monday to prepare to face regional rival Mexico at Blackbaud Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 23. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 and Telemundo. Of course, fans can also follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
RYAN PICKS 18: U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has chosen the 18 players from the 24 in training camp to suit up for the match against the Aussies. The match should mark the 298th cap for U.S. captain Kristine Lilly as she continues her run to the unimaginable 300th cap. Two of the USA’s center midfielders, Aly Wagner and Shannon Boxx, have recovered well from procedures to clean out some torn meniscus and are both fit and ready for selection. The match also could feature the second cap of midfielder Marci Miller, who, earlier in the year, became the oldest U.S. player ever to earn her first cap at the age of 29. She is currently the head coach at Northern Illinois University. The USA’s leading scorer this year is Christie Welsh (seven goals) while Danielle Fotopoulos will look to keep her string of multiple goal games going after scoring twice in each of the last two matches. Following are the rosters for both teams:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Kristin Luckenbill, 18-Hope Solo; DEFENDERS (5): 23-Tina Frimpong, 14-Amy LePeilbet, 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Cat Reddick; MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 3-Lorrie Fair, 11-Angela Hucles, 13-Kristine Lilly, 17-Marci Miller, 10-Aly Wagner; FORWARDS (5): 6-Danielle Fotopoulos, 8-Shannon MacMillan, 16-Tiffeny Milbrett, 20-Abby Wambach, 19-Christie Welsh.
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Melissa Barbieri, 18-Lydia Williams; DEFENDERS (6): 2-Kate McShea, 3-Karla Reuter, 4-Thea Slatyer, 5-Cheryl Salisbury, 6-Rhian Davies, 7-Heather Garriock; MIDFIELDERS (7): 9-Alicia Ferguson, 10-Joanne Peters, 11-Kylie Ledbrook, 13-Lana Harch, 14-Collette McCallum, 15-Sally Shipard, 19-Leah Blayney; FORWARDS (5): 8-Sarah Walsh, 12-Kathryn Gill, 16-Caitlin Munoz, 17-Selin Kuralay, 20- Joanne Burgess.
WATCH OUT FOR WAMBACH: Abby Wambach missed the USA’s 7-0 victory over Ukraine on July 10 as she was attending a wedding, but it was obvious the team didn’t need her goal-scoring prowess in that match. She returned to the lineup in the USA’s 3-0 victory over Iceland, and picked up two assists, but has not found the net since March 13 against Denmark in the Algarve Cup. In a testament to her overall game, Wambach leads the USA in assists this year with five, but will surely be itching to get back on the score sheet in the two October matches, something that does not bode well for the U.S. opponents. Few players in the world, if any, had a better 2004 than Wambach, who has developed into one of the most dangerous attackers in women’s soccer. Wambach, who scored a team-leading 31 goals over the last 30 matches she played in 2004, brings a physical game to the pitch. The 31-goal performance marked the second highest total in a calendar year by a U.S. player and she is one of only five players to score 20 or more goals in a year, joining Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly and Tiffeny Milbrett.
AUSTRALIA MOVIN’ ON UP: Australia is preparing to embark on the boldest and most difficult challenge in its women’s soccer history as the Matildas change confederations from Oceania to Asia, and will now battle some of the world’s top teams for a spot in the 2007 Women’s World Cup. The 2006 Asian Women’s Championship will serve as WWC qualifying and is slated for July 21-30, 2006, at a venue to be determined. Australia toured Asia last July in preparation for their World Cup qualifying campaign, playing six matches in 15 days. In their most positive results, the Aussies defeated China, 2-1, with a 93rd minute winning goal from star midfielder Joanne Peters and also managed a 0-0 draw with South Korea.
SERMANNI RETURNS TO THE STATES: Australia is led by head coach Tom Sermanni, who is in his second stint at the helm of the Matildas after coaching the national team from 1994-97, which included a match against the USA at the 1995 Women’s World Cup in Sweden. Sermanni is very familiar with almost all of the U.S. players as he coached in the WUSA all three years of its existence. He was an assistant coach for the San Jose CyberRays when they won the inaugural WUSA title in 2001 and was head coach of the New York Power in the final season of the WUSA in 2003. "This is another important preparatory event for the team as we continue our build-up towards next years qualifiers," said Sermanni. "It is part of our game plan to compete against high-quality opposition wherever possible and this tour allows us to do exactly that. The players will also benefit by having time together as a squad."
EYE ON CONCACAF QUALIFYING: While the U.S. team will not enter CONCACAF qualifying for the 2007 Women’s World Cup until the fall of 2006 in a country yet to be determined, U.S. head coach Greg Ryan will use the next year to formulate a team that will attempt to qualify for the fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA, of course, has participated in the previous four tournaments, winning twice, and had to go through qualification three times – participating in CONCACAF qualifying events in Haiti in 1991, in Canada in 1995 and in the USA in 2003. Even though the 2003 Women’s World Cup was moved to the USA due to the SARS outbreak in China, the USA had already qualified. CONCACAF will get 2.5 spots in the 2007 Women’s World Cup with the third place finisher squaring off against the third-place finisher from Asia for the final berth. Following are the Confederations and their respective spots for the 16-team 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup:
2007 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP BERTHS BY CONFEDERATION
Host: 1 Berth (China)
Asia: 2.5 Berths
Africa: 2 Berths
South America: 2 Berths
CONCACAF: 2.5 Berths
Oceania: 1 Berth
Europe: 5 Berths
USA vs. AUSTRALIA PREVIEW: Australia has not had much success against the USA in the 18-year history between the two teams, losing 15 consecutive matches before drawing 1-1 in group play at the 2004 Olympics. The two teams also played right before the Olympics in Blaine, Minn., with the USA coming away with a 3-1 victory as Mia Hamm, Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach tallied. Australia had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal from Danielle Small after just five minutes, but the USA stormed back with three unanswered. The USA has failed to score at least three goals in just four of the 16 meetings between the two teams, but the Aussies, bolstered by their tie with the USA at the Olympics and entrance into a new confederation, will be looking to write some new history. The most recent match between the two teams was a hard-fought affair in which the USA controlled most of the game before allowing a late equalizer. The USA needed win or a draw to take first place in the group. Abby Wambach was suspended for the match after receiving yellow cards in the first two group games. Following is a summary of the Olympic match against the Matildas:
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM OLYMPIC GAME REPORT
Competition: 2004 Olympics – Group G
Venue: Kaftanzolglio Stadium; Thessaloniki, Greece
Date: August 17, 2004; Kickoff – 6 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET
Weather: 85 degrees; sunny, clear
1 2 F
USA 1 0 1 Kristine Lilly (Julie Foudy) 19'
AUS 0 1 1 Joanne Peters (Heather Garriock) 82'
USA: 1-Briana Scurry; 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Cat Reddick, 14-Joy Fawcett, 15-Kate Markgraf; 7-Shannon Boxx (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 67), 10-Aly Wagner (8-Angela Hucles, 74), 11-Julie Foudy (Capt.), 13-Kristine Lilly; 12-Cindy Parlow, 9-Mia Hamm (17-Heather O’Reilly, 67).
Subs Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone, 6-Brandi Chastain, 18-Kristin Luckenbill. Suspended: 20-Abby Wambach
Head Coach: April Heinrichs.
AUS: 1-Cassandra Kell; 2-Rhian Davies, 3-Sacha Wainwright, 4-Dianne Alagich (11-Lisa De Vanna, 62), 5-Cheryl Salisbury (Capt.); 13-Thea Slatyer (12-Karla Reuter, 43), 6-Sally Shipard, 8-Heather Garriock, 10-Joanne Peters, 17-Danielle Small (14-Gillian Foster, 67); 7-Sarah Walsh.
Subs Not Used: 18-Melissa Barbieri, 9-Kylie Ledbrook, 15-Tal Karp, 16-Selin Kuralay.
Head Coach: Adrian Santrac
Statistical Summary: USA AUS
Shots: 14 8
Shots on Goal: 3 4
Saves: 3 2
Corner Kicks: 3 4
Fouls: 11 13
Offside: 3 2
AUSTRALIA HAS TALENT, EXPERIENCE AND DEPTH: Australia has two players on the roster that played in the WUSA in talented midfielder Joanne Peters and towering defender Cheryl Salisbury (Australia’s cap and goals leader with 107 caps and 39 goals), one of the few backs in the world who can look down on Abby Wambach. Both Peters, a long-time staple of the Matilda midfield, and Salisbury played for New York under Sermanni. Peters, who has 77 caps and 18 goals, currently plays her club soccer in Sweden for KIF Orebro, the club Kristine Lilly and Kate Markgraf played for earlier this year. Eight of the 14 players who played against the USA in the Olympics are on the Australia roster for this match, including captain Salisbury, Peters and Heather Garriock. It was Garriock who assisted Peters on the team's lone goal against the U.S. in the Olympics. Goalkeeper Cassandra Kell, who held the USA to one score, is not on the roster, leaving the top spot Melissa Barbieri, also a member of the 2004 Olympic Team. Australia has a bunch of young players as Sermanni looks to re-build his team for a run to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but none younger than 17-year-old Sally Shipard, a revelation for the Matildas at the 2004 Olmpics at the age of 16. The lanky midfielder hails from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Other young talent on the Aussie roster includes dynamic midfielders Kate McShea (22) and Alicia Ferguson (24), who has 34 caps, but first played for Australia at the age of 15. Australia also features young and crafty forward Selin Kurulay (20), a member of the Young Matildas who played at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Champions in Thailand and is currently playing for former U.S. U-19 head coach Mark Krikorian at Florida State. She has a team-leading 11 goals for the 9th-ranked Seminoles. The Matildas have one other player at a university in the USA in midfielder Leah Blayney, a starter for Auburn who has three goals this season. Veteran defenders Salisbury, Heather Garriock and Rhian Davis, give the Matlidas some experience and toughness in the back, but while Australia has long managed to match the USA on intensity and strength, they’ve had a tough time matching the USA’s speed and skill.
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