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U.S. WNT Ready To Face China Dec. 13 at The Home Depot Center

U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Carson, Calif.
Dec. 12, 2008

U.S. WOMEN FINISH POST-OLYMPIC TOUR WITH TWO GAMES AGAINST CHINA: In what has been a record setting and emotional year for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, the squad will finish up the 2008 schedule with the final two matches of the Achieve Your Gold Tour, taking on China on Dec. 13 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (6 p.m. PT) and on Dec. 17 at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. (7:30 p.m. ET). Fans can follow both games on’s MatchTracker. The USA is 31-1-2 in 2008 and if they win or draw the final two games will set a record for best winning percentage in a calendar year in which the team played 10 or more matches. The U.S. team has already set a record for wins in a calendar year.

U.S. WNT Achieve Your Gold Tour

Date Opponent Venue; City Time / Result U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Sept. 13 Ireland Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa. 2-0 W Kai, O'Reilly
Sept. 17 Ireland Giants Stadium; E. Rutherford, N.J. 1-0 W Kai
Sept. 20 Ireland Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill. 2-0 W Chalupny, Markgraf
Nov. 1 Korea Republic University Stadium; Richmond, Va. 3-1 W Hucles, O'Reilly, Tarpley
Nov. 5 Korea Republic Paul Brown Stadium; Cincinnati, Ohio 0-0 T --
Nov. 8 Korea Republic Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla. 1-0 W O'Reilly
Dec. 13 China PR The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. 6 p.m. PT  
Dec. 17 China PR Ford Field; Detroit, Mich. 7:30 p.m. ET  

BOXX COMES HOME: The match at The Home Depot Center will be the fifth at the stadium for U.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx, who grew up just minutes away in Torrance, Calif. Boxx has scored in all four appearances with the U.S. National Team at The HDC. She was also named to the short list for FIFA Women’s Player of the Year this year. Boxx has just one goal this year, but it came against China at the Four Nations Tournament in Guangzhou last January, giving the USA a 1-0 victory and the tournament title.

RARE RECORD FOR RAMPONE: U.S. captain Christie Rampone leads the USA in minutes played this year with 2,886. She has already played more minutes than any other U.S. player in a calendar year in U.S. history and if she plays all 180 of the next two games will become the first player to surpass 3,000 minutes played in a year.

WHO IS THAT PLAYER WEARING NUMBER 13?: These matches mark the return to the U.S. roster of long-time legend Kristine Lilly, the only woman to play in all five Women’s World Cup tournaments. Lilly took most of 2008 off as she gave birth to her first child, a daughter, last June. Lilly is by far the world’s all-time leader in caps at 340, but has not played for the USA in over a year, last appearing on Oct. 20, 2007, in a 1-1 draw with Mexico. During 2007, she was the USA’s second leading scorer with 12 goals and eight assists. She is still the second all-time leading scorer in world history with 129 goals, although Germany star Birgit Prinz is fast approaching Lilly’s total. The 37-year-old former U.S. captain will be playing for the Boston Breakers in the inaugural WPS season this coming spring.

LLOYD, O’REILLY SHOOT FOR DOUBLE-DOUBLE: U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd has nine total goals this year, the most ever in a calendar year by a U.S. midfielder who wasn’t named Kristine Lilly or Shannon MacMillan. She also has nine assists. If Lloyd can score one more goal and get one more assist in the final two matches, she will become just the sixth player in U.S. history to record double figures in goals and assists in a calendar year. Mia Hamm did it five times and Abby Wambach has done it twice, including this year. Carin Gabarra (1991), Shannon MacMillan (2000) and Tiffeny Milbrett (1999) each did it once. U.S. midfielder Heather O’Reilly has nine goals and 10 assists this year and is just one score away from joining the exclusive double-double club. Her goals and assists this year are both career highs in a calendar year.

KAI IS “TK”O-ED: U.S. forward Tasha Kai, who is the USA’s leading scorer this year with 15 goals and eight assists, is not with the USA for these two matches due to illness. The powerful forward has played in 28 games this year, starting 20 and has scored a goal for every 106 minutes she was on the field in 2008. Defender Stephanie Cox and midfielder Aly Wagner are with the squad, but will not play in the matches due to recoveries from a hamstring and calf injuries, respectively. In addition, forward Lauren Cheney was supposed to join the squad for these matches, but due to recovering from her long college season as well as finals at UCLA, she will also not come in with the team.

A-ROD IN THE HOUSE: Olympic gold medal-winning forward Amy Rodriguez will join the USA for these two matches against China after missing the previous six AYG games due to commitments to her college team. Rodriguez recently finished her senior season at USC where she helped the Trojans to the third round of the NCAA tournament. A-Rod played a key role in the USA’s gold medal triumph, starting the last five games of the Olympics while scoring one goal. Rodriguez is up to 29 caps for the USA with six goals, all scores this year. With Abby Wambach still recovering from her broken leg and Natasha Kai not in camp, Rodriguez will provide some much-needed punch on the forward line.

HOME SWEET HOME: The U.S. women have played eight games at The Home Depot Center, U.S. Soccer’s National Training center and site of several Residency Training camps for the team, but the USA has not played at its home base in a while. The last appearance for the U.S. WNT at The HDC was a 4-0 win against Finland on Aug. 25, 2007. The nearly 16 months between that appearance and the Dec. 13 game marks the longest span between WNT games at the venue since it opened in 2003. Overall the U.S. is a perfect 8-0-0 at the stadium. The U.S. played at The HDC following their 2004 Olympic title, holding the final game of the Fan Celebration Tour there that saw off legends Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm.

Current FIFA World Ranking: 12
Overall Record vs. USA: 8-21-11
Last Meeting vs. USA: March 5, 2008 (4-0 U.S. win at the Algarve Cup in Portugal)
Head Coach: Shang Ruihua
Key Players: Zhang Yanru, Weng Xinzhi, Zhang Na, Xu Yuan, Han Duan, Liu Huana, Zhou Gaoping.

USA vs. CHINA Fast Facts: The two teams have met twice this year, those matches coming in back-to-back games that ended the Four Nations Tournament in China on Jan. 20 and started the Algarve Cup in Portugal on March 5 … The USA won both encounters, with a Shannon Boxx header providing the 1-0 margin of victory at the Four Nations while Lindsay Tarpley, Tobin Heath, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd tallied in Portugal … These two games against China will be the 35th and 36th of the year for the USA, marking the second-most active year in WNT history, behind only 2000 when the team played 41 games … These will also be the 42nd and 43rd all-time games against China, the second most ever for an opponent against the USA behind Canada and Norway, which has each played the USA 44 times … China is coming off a quarterfinal loss at the 2008 Olympics, falling 2-0 to Asian rival Japan in what many see as a changing of the guard atop Asian women’s football … China did win its first-round group, defeating Sweden in a huge victory, downing Argentina and tying Canada … China is without some of its stars from the Olympics, but still has top forward Han Duan (who scored against the USA at the 2007 Algarve Cup) and its usual cadre of talented midfielders … The USA has gone unbeaten in its last 28 games against teams from Asia, a streak that includes 20 wins and six ties (it also includes matches against Australia, which move several years ago from the Oceania to the Asia confederation) … The last time the USA lost to a team from Asia was at the 2003 Four Nations Tournament in China, a 2-0 loss to the Chinese … The last time the USA met China, their head coach was Frenchwoman Elisabeth Loisel, who parted ways with China shortly after its 4-0 loss to the USA at the Algarve Cup … China’s head coach is 64-year-old Shang Ruihua, who guided the team through the 2008 Olympics and is no stranger to the program … He has been coaching for 35 years in China and led China to fifth place at the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991 in his home country … He also led China's U-19 team to second place up at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas)
FORWARDS (3): Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.).

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Zhang Yanru, 18-Weng Xiaojie
DEFENDERS (5): 15-Zhou Gaoping, 5-Weng Xin Zhi, 2-Yuan Fan, 4-Wang Kun, 14-Liu Hua Na
MIDFIELDERS (7): 3-Zhang Ying, 19-Gao Yan, 12-Wang Dan Dan, 17-Gu Ya Sha, 6-Zhang Na, 7-Bi Yan, 16-Zhang Rui
FORWARDS (4): 8-Xu Yuan, 10-Liu Sa, 9-Han Duan, 11-Lou Jiahui.

Stat of Note
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo has a 21-1-0 record in 2008 and a 58-5-8 all-time record. U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart is 7-0-2 and has played in 12 matches this year, starting eight, but has allowed just one goal, that coming in a 3-1 victory over South Korea on Nov. 1 in Richmond, Va.