U.S. WOMEN FACE JAPAN IN OSAKA: The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Japan on Tuesday, May 9, in the second of two matches between the teams. The USA notched a come-from-behind 3-1 victory in the first leg in Kumamoto on May 7 (video highlights) and will finish the tour with a clash at the 50,000-seat Nagai Stadium. The kickoff was moved up a half-hour to 4:00 p.m. local (3 a.m. ET) to give more time before the second match of the double-header featuring the Japanese Men’s National Team against Bulgaria in one of Japan’s final tune-ups for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. On Monday, the USA did a brief walk-through of the imposing Nagai Stadium that hosted matches at the 2002 World Cup, and the atmosphere is sure to be electric on Tuesday as the fans flow into the stadium for the men’s game in what is likely to be a sell-out. The U.S. players had a mellow Monday in Osaka, with a light training in the morning followed by much lounging around their hotel rooms. A few brave souls ventured out for some brief shopping and the inevitable visit to Starbucks. The USA will return to the United States on Wednesday, have one day off, and then resume training at Residency Training Camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Briana Scurry, 18-Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (6): 8-Tina Frimpong, 14-Amy LePeilbet, 15-Stephanie Lopez, 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill;
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 12-Leslie Osborne, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 10-Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): 6-Natasha Kai, 13-Kristine Lilly, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 20-Abby Wambach, 19-Christie Welsh.
GOALKEEPERS (2): 21-Tomomi Akiyama, 12-Miho Fukumoto;
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Hiromi Isozaki, 4-Nao Shikata, 7-Kozue Ando, 5-Kyouko Yano, 22-Nayuha Toyoda, 14-Azusa Iwashimizu, 23-Rumi Utsugi;
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Tomoe Sakai, 10-Homare Sawa, 17-Emi Yamamoto, 19-Shinobu Ohno, 18-Iya Miyama, 13-Maiko Nakaoka,
FORWARDS (5): 11-Mio Otani, 9-Eriko Arakawa, 15-Tomoko Suzuki, 16-Karina Maruyama, 20-Yuki Nagasato.
LET’S PLAY TWO: The first match between the teams last Sunday was an entertaining affair, with end-to-end action, but the USA rebounded from an early let down to score three straight goals in a 3-1 win. It was the first time in the last five meetings between the two teams in which the USA had managed to score at least three goals. Tuesday’s match will be a test of fitness and mental focus for both teams, as tired legs are sure to abound after a tough 90-minute game that was played on a wet field.
U.S. WNT QUICK HITS:
• With her hat trick against Japan on Sunday increasing her career total to 54 goals, Abby Wambach passed National Soccer Hall of Fame member Carin Gabarra (née Jennings) 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’ next cap will be her 50th, making her the 29th U.S. women’s player to reach that milestone
• The USA has still allowed just one goal from the run of play since Greg Ryan took over as head coach, and three total. One came on a penalty kick against Norway at the 2006 Four Nations Tournament in China and Japan scored off a corner kick in the first match of this tour. The only team to score in the run of play was France, at the 2006 Algarve Cup, in a 4-1 U.S. win
• The USA will have played its first nine games of 2006 on foreign soil, before playing its first domestic match of the year on July 15 against Sweden (tickets) in Blaine, Minn. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and covered online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
• With her assist against Japan on May 7, central defender Cat Whitehill equaled her yearly total of the last five years: one. Her next assist in 2006 will mark a yearly career high
• If goalkeeper Briana Scurry plays against Japan, it will be her first game for the USA since Dec. 8, 2004 vs. Mexico. 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 Kristine Lilly has started the match wearing the captain’s band.
• All of the USA’s eight games this year have been against teams ranked in the Top 11 in the world
• Seven players have scored the USA’s 17 goals so far this year with 14 of the 17 goals coming from forwards
• Midfielder Aly Wagner is just four games away from 100 caps. Barring injury, and pending the confirmation of the USA’s July schedule, if Wagner plays in all of the USA’s upcoming games, she could get her 100th cap in Cary, N.C. against Canada (tickets) on July 30. Amazingly, she would be the 18th player to earn 100 or more caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team
• U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has made at least five substitutions in four of the USA’s eight games so far this year
• Wambach leads the USA in minutes played in 2006, playing 723 of the possible 750 minutes so far this year
• The USA has averaged almost three goals a game in 2006 while allowing just 0.36 goals per contest
• Ryan has used 22 players in the eight matches so far this year
WHAT’S IN A (NICK) NAME?: The nickname for the Japanese Women’s National Team is Nadeshiko. The nickname comes from the name of a flower, but is also has a deeper meaning. Yamatonadeshiko also signifies a kind of ideal woman in Japanese culture. Share your thoughts on a nickname for the U.S. WNT at ussoccer.com’s Center Circle.
Stat of Note
Wambach’s hat trick against Japan was the fourth of her career. Only six other players have recorded multiple hat tricks in their careers in U.S. history: Mia Hamm (10), Cindy Parlow (8), Michelle Akers (7), Tiffeny Milbrett (4), MacMillan (3) and Carin Jennings (2). Only Akers and Jennings scored a hat trick in a world championship event, both at the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
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