U.S. Women Set To Finish Two Game Set Against Mexico at Rio Tinto Stadium
United States Women’s National Team
March 30, 2010
U.S. WOMEN ARRIVE IN UTAH TO FINISH TWO-GAME SET VS. MEXICO: After a solid 3-0 victory against Mexico on March 28 in San Diego, the U.S. Women’s National Team has traveled to Salt Lake City in preparation for facing Mexico again on March 31 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Rio Tinto, the home of MLS champion Real Salt Lake, will be hosting the U.S. WNT for the first time. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. MT on ESPN2 and will be the 50th match for U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage at the helm of the U.S. team. The U.S. players will return to their WPS clubs immediately after the game to prepare for the opening of the WPS season on the weekend of April 10 and 11. The U.S. team will not come together again until mid-May to prepare for the clash with Germany on May 22 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio (6 p.m. ET on ESPN2). The USA is riding a 42-game unbeaten streak in domestic matches (39-0-3).
U.S. WNT 2010 Schedule & Results
|Date||Opponent||Time / Result||TV / U.S. Goal Scorer(s)||Venue|
|Feb. 24||Iceland||2-0 W||Own Goal, Cheney||VR de SA, Portugal|
|Feb. 26||Norway||2-1 W||Wambach (2)||Olhao, Portugal|
|March 1||Sweden||2-0 W||Cheney (2)||Ferreiras, Portugal|
|March 3||Germany||3-2 W||Lloyd, Wambach, Cheney||Faro, Portugal|
|March 28||Mexico||3-0 W||Rodriguez, Boxx, Cheney||San Diego, Calif.|
|March 31||Mexico||7 p.m. MT||ESPN2||Sandy, Utah|
|May 22||Germany||6 p.m. ET||ESPN2||Cleveland, Ohio|
USA vs. MEXICO – 10 THINGS TO WATCH FOR…
- With 24 players to choose from in camp, but only 18 making the game roster, will U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage shake up her lineup from the last match? Hope Solo started in goal vs. Mexico on March 28, with Cat Whitehill, Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet and Meghan Schnur on the back line, Heather O’Reilly, Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Yael Averbuch in the midfield and Abby Wambach and Amy Rodriguez up top. Heather Mitts is still out with a quad injury and will not play.
- With a game under her belt in San Diego after not playing for Mexico for several years, will the greatest female Tricolor player – Maribel Dominguez – regain her old form and threaten the U.S. net?
- Will it snow in Sandy, Utah on game day? The weather forecasters say…maybe.
- Will Kristine Lilly start a game for the U.S. National Team for the first time since Oct. 20, 2007, when she started against…you got it…Mexico? If she does start, it would be her 328th time in the starting lineup, far and away a U.S. and world record.
- Will Abby Wambach score her 19th career goal against Mexico? She came very close several times on March 28. If she does, it will give her 105 for her career and tie her with the great Michelle Akers for third on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
- Will any of the uncapped field players get their first game with the full National Team? D Brittany Taylor, F Alex Morgan and D Whitney Engen are still looking for first caps. Kelley O’Hara became the 195th player to earn a cap for the U.S. WNT on March 28 vs. Mexico when she came on for Heather O’Reilly in the second half. Since Pia Sundhage took over the U.S. team in the fall of 2007, she has given 10 players their first cap, but just three of them are on the roster for the Mexico games. Sundhage’s first-cappers are: Rachel Buehler, Tina DiMartino, Tobin Heath, Ali Krieger, Ella Masar, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kendall Fletcher, Christine Nairn, Meghan Schnur and O’Hara.
- Which U.S. players are in the best form and poised to have great WPS seasons? The club campaign kicks off just 10 days after USA-Mexico clash.
- Will Utah remain one of the 23 U.S. states in which the WNT has never lost a game? The WNT is 1-0-0 in Utah, having defeated Ireland 5-0 at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah back in 2003.
- Which young forward will lay a stake to a starting spot next to Abby Wambach? Both Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney scored against Mexico on March 28. Young forwards Morgan and Casey Nogueira await their chance.
- Sundhage wants to see excellent possession and dynamic flank play. Will the crosses be flying into the Mexico penalty area from the very wide expanses of the Rio Tinto playing surface, either from the midfielders or overlapping outside backs?
LePEILBET BOUNCES BACK, HIGH: Last summer U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage needed to take a look at some central defenders and called in Amy LePeilbet of the Boston Breakers for the USA’s match against Canada in late May. The 28-year-old LePeilbet played very well in training and during the match, getting the start in her first game for the USA since Sept. 13, 2006. LePeilbet earned 23 caps over 2004-2006, more than half of them in 2006 before she was felled by an ACL injury in July of 2006 (which wasn’t diagnosed until November) and she had surgery in December of that year. She had come into one training camp before the Canada game, but was still recovering from the surgery. Now, eight months later, she has started eight of the last nine games for the USA (she had to sit out the Norway game at the Algarve Cup with a migraine) and in that short time emerged as a player who can perform at the highest levels in the biggest of games. With LePeilbet, Rachel Buehler, Christie Rampone and Cat Whitehill available as center backs, and with Sundhage giving looks to uncapped Whitney Engen and Brittany Taylor, the U.S. team looks to be well-stocked at center back for the run to the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
THE CLUBS THEY ARE A CHANGIN’: Seven U.S. players called up for the Mexico matches changed WPS clubs during the off-season. Shannon Boxx and Stephanie Cox went to the St. Louis Athletica and the Boston Breakers in the expansion draft after the Los Angeles Sol ceased operations, while Carli Lloyd and Heather Mitts played out their one-year contracts with the Chicago Red Stars and the Breakers, switching to Sky Blue FC and the Philadelphia Independence, respectively. Lori Lindsey was taken by first by Philly in the expansion draft after being a full-time starter in 2009 with the Washington Freedom while Amy Rodriguez was traded from the Breakers to the Independence for both of Philly’s 2010 first round draft picks. Goalkeeper Jill Loyden, who backed up Hope Solo on the St. Louis Athletica last year, was traded to the Chicago Red Stars and has a good chance to start.
LILLY PLAYS IN FOUR DECADES: Kristine Lilly was already the oldest player ever to earn a cap for the U.S. Women’s National Team when she did so at 37 years, 145 days on Dec. 13, 2008 against China, but on March 28 against Mexico, she became the only player in U.S. history, and though unconfirmed, likely in world history, to appear for her national team in four different decades. Lilly came on in the 32nd minute and played the rest of the way, putting in some quality work on the left flank and almost scoring several times. Lilly earned 15 caps in 1980s, 176 in the 1990s and 151 from 2000-2009. The former U.S. captain is the second all-time leading scorer in world history with 129 goals and has played in five FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, the most of any female player.