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U.S. Women to Face Canada Live on Fox Soccer Channel on Monday at 7 p.m. ET


U.S. Women’s National Team Game Notes
Toronto, Canada
Friday, May 22, 2009


CHANGE IN SCHEDULE SENDS U.S. WOMEN TO CANADA FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2001: After Japan pulled out of its North American tour, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will now play just one match in May, a quickly organized but potentially interesting and entertaining clash with Canada on May 25 at BMO Field in Toronto. Japan was previously scheduled to play Canada at BMO on May 25, but now the USA filled the slot for a match that will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel at 7 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow online on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

TRI-SERIES STARTS IN TORONTO: This match will essentially be the first of a three-game summer series with Canada as the USA was previously scheduled to face its northern neighbor on July 19 in Rochester, N.Y, (tickets) and on July 22 in Charleston, S.C. (tickets). The U.S. team started its 2009 schedule in March at the Algarve Cup in Portugal where it advanced to the championship game before falling in penalty kicks to Sweden. These will be just the fifth game of the year for the USA as the players have of course been busy with the inaugural season of Women’s Professional Soccer. With the onset of the new league, each international match takes on greater importance, as the players must show head coach Pia Sundhage that they are worthy of investment for the run to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. Each game also gives Sundhage more information as she puts together a squad to qualify for the sixth Women’s World Cup. The U.S. team has lost one match in regulation time since Sundhage took over at the end of 2007, that coming into the opening game of the 2008 Olympics, a match from which the USA famously rebounded to win the gold medal. Sundhage has compiled a record of 36-1-3 overall as head coach of the USA.

U.S. WNT 2009 Schedule
Date        Opponent    Time             TV          Venue
May 25    Canada        7 p.m. ET    FSC       BMO Field; Toronto, Canada
July 19    Canada        3 p.m. ET    ESPN    Rochester Rhinos Stadium; Rochester, N.Y.
July 22    Canada        8 p.m. ET    FSC       Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

EYE TOWARDS GERMANY: With the glorious run to the 2008 Olympic gold medal fading into warm memories, the focus now shifts to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. The two-time defending champions, hosting on their own soil, will be favorites to hoist a third consecutive trophy, but the Americans will hopefully have something to stay about that. There is no doubt that the Germans will run a fantastic Women’s World Cup, scheduled for June 26-July 17, 2011, in nine cities: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen. The venues are spread out all over Germany. Almost all of the cities with host four matches, but unlike past Women’s World Cups, there will be no doubleheaders. The largest stadium is in Berlin (74,244), which will host just the opening game featuring the Germans. The smallest stadium is in Bochum, which seats 23,691. The Women’s World Cup Final will take place in Frankfurt (49,240) on July 17. The dates and venues for CONCACAF qualifying have yet to be determined, but the competition will likely be held at the end of 2010.

ABBY’S BACK, GOAL 100 IN SIGHT: This match marks the return of Abby Wambach to the U.S. lineup for the first time since she suffered a broken leg against Brazil on July 16, 2008, in the USA’s final game before the Olympics. Wambach did train with the U.S. team in January before Sundhage chose the Algarve Cup roster, but the 5-foot-11-inch forward was just starting to play again and did not participate fully in training until the final days of the camp. Wambach was on 99 career goals when she was injured against Brazil and will be looking for her historic 100th career score in Toronto. Wambach has never played a match in Canada as the last time the USA played there, Wambach was still 14 months away from making her international debut. If she gets her 100th goal, she will join a quartet of U.S. Soccer legends in the elite 100-goal club: Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (129), Michelle Akers (105) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100). It has been a long road back for Wambach, who has a titanium rod in her left leg, but the striker has been going full out with the Washington Freedom and has two goals thus far during the young WPS season.

LAST TIME IN TORONTO: While the USA and Canada have played 44 times in their histories, the most meetings with the USA by any country other than Norway (45 games), the USA’s trip to Canada is certainly rare. Of the 44 matches, just four have been played in Canada, 25 have been in the United States and 15 at neutral sites. The last time the USA played in Canada was June 30, 2001, in the first match of a two-game Independence Day Series with Canada (which celebrates their independence on July 1). The first match was played at the old Varsity Stadium and ended in a 2-2 draw in front of 9,023 fans, which at the time was the largest crowd ever to watch the Canadian women’s team in Canada. The USA won the return leg, 1-0, in Blaine, Minn. The USA is 3-0-1 against the Maple Leafs in matches played in Canada. This will be the first-ever game for the U.S. women at BMO Field. The U.S. men have never played a game there. The U.S. Men’s Under-20 National Team did play two games there during the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. This will be the second match for Canada’s women at BMO Field. A July 10, 2008, clash between Canada and Brazil drew 13,554.

2009 SCHEDULE BUILT AROUND WPS: The U.S. Women’s National Team will have a relatively light schedule in 2009 due to the inaugural season of WPS, playing three domestic matches during the summer followed by a ramping up of activity in the fall that will likely include two training camps and a trip to Europe for matches in October.

WELCOME BACK: The overall impact of the WPS on the U.S. WNT has yet to be fully determined, but it is clear that three players called into this event earned their roster spots through solid play early in the club season. With Kate Markgraf sidelined due to pregnancy, Sundhage needs to take a look at some central defenders, and Amy LePeilbet of the Boston Breakers and Brittany Bock of the Los Angeles Sol have distinguished themselves early on. LePeilbet earned 23 caps for the USA over 2004-2006, more than half of them in 2006 before she was felled by an ACL injury in July of 2006, but it wasn’t diagnosed until November of 2006 and she had surgery in December of that year. She has come into one training camp since then, but was still recovering from injury and now looks to be fit and ready to take another shot at earning a steady place on U.S. rosters. Bock was a standout player during her college years at Notre Dame and an important part of the USA’s 2006 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team, but her one previous call-up to a national team training camp did not result in a game roster spot. Showing tremendous versatility for the Sol, playing in the midfield, at outside back or center back, she has earned a call-up to the WNT where she will likely get a look in the center of the defense. Marian Dalmy of the Chicago Red Stars was a member of the USA’s 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team, seeing action in just two matches, but she got the start in the third-place match victory over Brazil and put in an excellent performance. However, she was injured in that game, forcing her to the sidelines for almost a year after undergoing an articular cartilage repair. Dalmy, a tall and swift outside back, will be looking to show Sundhage she has the qualities to be a part of the U.S. attack down the flanks.

OPPONENT CAPSULE: Canada
Current FIFA World Ranking: 11
USA overall record vs. Canada: 37-3-4
Last Meeting vs. USA: Aug. 15, 2008 (2-1 U.S. win in OT in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics)
Head Coach: Carolina Morace
Key Players: Christine Sinclair, Karina LeBlanc, Martina Franko, Kara Lang, Melissa Tancredi

USA vs. CANADA Fast Facts: There really are no secrets between these two countries, who met five times in 2008 … Two of those matches were U.S. routs, a 4-0 win in the first match of the year at the Four Nations Tournament in China (it was also Pia Sundhage’s first-ever win at the helm of the U.S. team) and a 6-0 thrashing in Washington, D.C., in May that was one of the best performances of the year for the U.S. women … The other three matches were tight affairs, including a penalty kick victory in the championship game of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico, a match in which U.S. ‘keeper Nicole Barnhart was the hero … The USA also picked up a 1-0 victory in the championship game of the Peace Queen Cup in June in Suwon, South Korea, which saw Angela Hucles score the winning goal in second half stoppage time on a mistake from Canadian GK Erin McLeod … Finally, in the most recent meeting, the USA persevered through a 99-minute lightning delay to win the quarterfinal match in overtime at the Beijing Olympics, 2-1, on a diving header from substitute Natasha Kai off a great cross from Shannon Boxx … Canada has a new head coach in Italian legend Carolina Morace, who scored 104 goals in an international career that spanned 153 matches … This will be her first home match as head coach for the Canadians … Canada is riding a six-game home unbeaten streak (3-0-3) … Interesting to see will be whether Canada’s trademark long-ball style under long-time head coach Even Pellerud will be undergoing a transformation … Like the USA, Canada has played four matches so far this year, all in Europe … Canada finished second at the Cyprus Cup in March, tying New Zealand 1-1, defeating Holland, 2-1, defeating Russia, 2-0 and then falling in the championship game to England, 3-1 … Christina Julien scored her first-ever international goal during the tournament and Melissa Tancredi added one as well while Christine Sinclair tallied four times to increase her career total to 99 and in a women’s international soccer first, two players will be shooting for their 100th career goals in the same game … Just three of Abby Wambach’s 99 goals have come against Canada and she didn’t score her first until goal No. 57 on a penalty kick on July 30, 2006, in Cary, N.C. … Eight of Sinclair’s 99 goals have come against the USA …In the last 10 matches between the two teams the USA has out-scored Canada 27-5 … Canada’s roster features six players playing in WPS.

Stat of Note
Abby Wambach should get three chances this summer against Canada to score her 100th goal, starting with the Memorial Day matchup at BMO Field in Toronto. The previous four U.S. players to score 100 goals have done it against four different countries. Mia Hamm scored her 100th goal against Russia. Kristine Lilly scored her 100th against New Zealand. Michelle Akers scored her 100th against Portugal and Tiffeny Milbrett scored her 100th against Ukraine.

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