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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Women Strike Gold in Athens


WAMBACH GOAL IN 122th MINUTE HELPS VETERANS GO OUT ON TOP IN ATHENS: The U.S. Women’s National Team and its living legends realized their destiny Thursday with an overtime strike from Abby Wambach to defeat Brazil 2-1 in the Gold Medal match at the 2004 Olympic Games and reclaim its place as the top team in the world.  With the Athens Olympics serving as the last world championship event for some of the U.S. veterans, the match against Brazil was a dramatic dogfight. With Brazil attacking in waves early, the U.S. got a crucial goal on a blast from distance by 20-year-old Lindsay Tarpley on an assist by Brandi Chastain. Brazil tied the game in the 73rd minute, but Kristine Lilly served a perfect corner kick to Wambach to head home the winner in the 22nd minute of overtime. The winner came for an exhausted U.S. team in the 112th minute, when Wambach found enough energy to out-leap Monica on the Lilly corner kick and snap a header from 12 yards out that flew past Andreia. Brazil captain Juliana tried to head the ball off the line, but it popped off her head and into the roof of the net. Easily the biggest goal of Wambach’s young international career, she finished the Olympics with four goals.
WNT Results  – 2004 Olympics
Date          Opponent*          Result    U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 11     Greece     3-0 W    Boxx, Hamm, Wambach
Aug. 14     Brazil     2-0 W    Hamm, Wambach
Aug. 17     Australia    1-1 T    Lilly
Aug. 20     Japan (QF)    2-1 W    Lilly, Wambach
Aug. 23     Germany (SF)    2-1 W (OT)    Lilly, O’Reilly
Aug. 26     Brazil (Final)        2-1 W (OT)    Tarpley, Wambach

U.S. WOMEN TO CRISSCROSS NATION THIS FALL IN HONOR OF RETIREES: Following the U.S. Women’s National Team’s emotional 2-1 Gold Medal overtime victory over Brazil, U.S. Soccer has unveiled plans to host a 10-game “Fan Celebration Tour” that will kick off on Sept. 25 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y., home to U.S. Olympic hero Abby Wambach. The tour marks one last chance for fans of the U.S. Women's National Team to see retiring players like Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm on the international soccer stage as they celebrate a legacy that includes two Women's World Cup championships, two Gold Medal victories and top three finishes in each of their seven FIFA world championship events. The U.S. will face Iceland in the first match of the tour in Rochester. It will be the WNT's sixth meeting with the northern European nation, going unbeaten (4-0-1) in their previous five meetings. The match will be just the second visit to Frontier Field for the WNT, with the first match a 4-0 victory over Russia on Sept. 18, 1998, in which Hamm scored her 100th international goal. The remaining dates, venues and opponents on the tour will be released in the near future and fans are encouraged to log on to ussoccer.com to register to receive the latest ticketing information as it becomes available.

ARENA NAMES ROSTER FOR SEPT. 4 MATCH IN FOXBORO: U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena has called 23 players into camp to train for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Panama. The U.S. first meets El Salvador on Saturday, Sept. 4 in Foxboro, Mass. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World and Telemundo.  The team then travels to face Panama four days later at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez on Wednesday, Sept. 8 in Panama City.  Kickoff for that match is set for 8 p.m. CT, and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World and tape delayed on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.  Fans can follow both matches live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. Nine players on the roster started in the USA’s 1-1 draw against Jamaica on Aug. 18, the opening match of semifinal round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
MNT Roster

GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard (Manchester United), Kasey Keller (Tottenham Hotspur), Jonny Walker (MetroStars); DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Cory Gibbs (Dallas Burn), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Eddie Pope (MetroStars), Greg Vanney (SC Bastia); MIDFIELDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Landon Donovan, (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Gaven (MetroStars), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Lewis (Preston North End), Clint Mathis (Hannover 96), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City Wizards); FORWARDS (4):Conor Casey (FSV Mainz), Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes), Eddie Johnson (Dallas Burn), Brian McBride (Fulham FC)

TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR HOME MATCHES ON SEPT. 4 IN BOSTON, OCT. 13 IN D.C.: Tickets for the U.S. Men's National Team's first home qualifier against El Salvador on Sept. 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., are still on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets throughout New England (including all Filene's stores), and by calling 617-931-2000 (Boston), 413-733-2500 (Western Mass.), 207-775-3331 (Maine), 603-868-7300 (New Hampshire) or 401-331-2211 (Rhode Island). Substantial group discounts are available by calling 877-GET-REVS (877-438-7387) for more information. Tickets for the match, which kicks off at 4 p.m. ET and will be followed by the New England Revolution taking on the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS action, range from $35 to $125. Tickets are also on sale for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s second home qualifier versus Panama on October 13 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Advance tickets from $30 to $75 are available at ussoccer.com, through all Washington-Baltimore Ticketmaster outlets (including Hecht’s stores), and by phone (Washington 202-397-7328; Baltimore 410-547-7328; Northern Virginia 703-573-7328; out of state 1-800-551-7328).  Group discounts are available through D.C. United at 202-587-5000.
MNT FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – Semifinal Round
Date       Opponent       Venue; City                                    Kickoff (local)    TV
Sept. 4    El Salvador    Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.    4 p.m. ET    FSW, Telemundo (live)
Sept. 8    Panama          Estadio Rommel Fernández; Panama City    8 p.m. CT    FSW (live), Telemundo (11:30pm ET/PT)
Oct. 9    El Salvador    Estadio Cuscatlan; San Salvador, El Salvador    7:30 p.m. MT    TBD
Oct. 13    Panama    RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.    7:30 p.m. ET    ESPN2 (10 p.m. ET), Telemundo (11:30pm ET/PT)
Nov. 17    Jamaica    Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio    8 p.m. ET    ESPN (9:30 p.m. ET), Telemundo (11:30pm ET/PT)

-- GROUP 1 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING UPDATE --
Group 1 Standings
Teams            GP   W     L         T     Pts    GF GA    GD
El Salvador     1    1    0    0    3    2    1    +1
USA               1    0    0    1    1    1    1    0
Jamaica          1    0    0    1    1    1    1        0
Panama          1    0    1    0    0    1    2    -1
Group 1 Results
Date    Match-Up     Venue
Aug. 18    USA 1, Jamaica 1    National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica
Aug. 18    El Salvador 2, Panama 1    Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador
Group 1 Schedule
Date    Match-Up     Venue    Kickoff (local)
Sept. 4    USA vs. El Salvador    Foxboro Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.     4 p.m. ET
Sept. 4    Jamaica vs. Panama    National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica    8 p.m. ET

Sept. 8    Panama vs. USA    Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama    9 p.m. ET
Sept. 8    El Salvador vs. Jamaica    Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador    9:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 9    El Salvador vs. USA    Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador    7:30 p.m. MT
Oct. 9/10    Panama vs. Jamaica    Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama    TBD

Oct. 13    USA vs. Panama    RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.    7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13    Jamaica vs. El Salvador    National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica    TBD

Nov. 17    USA vs. Jamaica    Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio    8 p.m. ET
Nov. 17    Panama vs. El Salvador     Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama    TBD

– 2004 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATE –

K.C., CHICAGO TO CLASH AT ARROWHEAD ON SEPT. 22 FOR 2004 OPEN CUP TITLE:  The Kansas City Wizards and the defending champion Chicago Fire advanced to the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final last week after shutting out their opponents in home matches last week. The two teams will now meet on Sept. 22 at Arrowhead Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET to battle for the title and the $100,000 in prize money that goes along with it. Tickets for the U.S. Open Cup Final are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Wizards Box Office at 816-920-9300. The Wizards downed the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Aug. 24 by virtue of an Igor Simutenkov penalty just before the end of the first half. The Wizards victory sends them to their first U.S. Open Cup Final and just the second overall championship match (2000 MLS Cup) in franchise history.  Chicago defeated the Charleston Battery 1-0 on Wednesday, Aug. 25 in Naperville, Ill., on a 107th minute goal by Dipsy Selowane in their semifinal after a 1 hour, 43 minute halftime due to severe weather. 
Open Cup Semifinal Results
#         Date         Result
37     Aug. 24     Kansas City Wizards (MLS) 1, San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 0
38    Aug. 25     Chicago Fire (MLS) 1, Charleston Battery (A) 0
Open Cup Final
#    Date    Match-up    Venue; City    Kickoff (CT)
39    Sept. 22    Chicago Fire (MLS) @ Kansas City Wizards (MLS)    Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, Mo.    7:30 p.m.

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U-17 RESIDENCY KICKS OFF IN BRADENTON, U-17 ‘88s GO 0-1-1 IN ALABAMA:
U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program kicked off its fall semester last week, as 40 players went through their first training session at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The fall semester begins the second year of a two-year cycle as the U.S. will train for a little over eight months in preparation for CONCACAF qualifying in Costa Rica from April 12-16, 2005. The U-17s will attempt to continue its streak of being the only nation to qualify for each FIFA Under-17 World Championship, a total of 10, one every two years since 1985. Sixteen of the 40 players are beginning their first semester in the full-time program, while 24 are returning for their second or third semester. With 40 players in residency, the program is able to field two full teams that train together during the week, and get the chance to compete against college and club teams on the weekends. The 40 U.S. players attend classes at nearby Edison Academy and then return to the IMG campus in the afternoon to train daily under the guidance of U.S. Under-17 head coach John Ellinger, and assistant coaches John Hackworth, Peter Mellor and Keith Fulk. The older squad (U-17 ’88 MNT) traveled to Birmingham, Ala., this past weekend to take on the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Auburn University-Montgomery. In their first match against UAB on Friday (Aug. 27), Ofori Sarkodie set up Preston Zimmerman twice, feeding him for goals at the end of the first half (43rd minute) and early in the second (49th), but it wasn’t enough as the Blazers scored in injury time (93rd) to come away with the 3-2 victory. On Sunday (Aug. 29), the U.S. took the lead twice behind goals from Carlos Borja and Ryan Soroka, but Auburn University-Montgomery was able to find the equalizing goal each time to pull out a 2-2 draw.
U-17 ’88 MNT Results
Date     Opponent     Result     U.S. Goal Scorers
Aug. 27     UAB     2-3 L     Zimmerman (2)
Aug. 29     Auburn U.-Montgomery     2-2 T     Borja, Soroka
U-17 Residency – ’04 Fall Semester
GOALKEEPERS (4): Bryant Rueckner (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Evan Newton (Virginia Beach, Va.), Matthew Walker (Grand Blanc, Mich.), Brian Perk (Santa Margarita, Calif.); DEFENDERS (12): Michael Balogun (Houston, Texas), Eric Lichaj (Downer’s Grove, Ill.), Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.), Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Carlos Borja (Anaheim, Calif.), Jeremy Hall (Tampa, Fla.), Anthony Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Jonathan Collier (Fayetteville, Ga.) Joel Smith (Irvine, Calif.), Ernesto Mariscal (Garden Grove, Calif.), Patrick Rickards (Sacramento, Calif.), Victor Cortez (San Pablo, Calif.); MIDFIELDERS (14): Kevin Alston (Silver Spring, Md.), Ryan Soroka (Langhorne, Pa.), Michael Dal Pra (Bronxville, N.Y.), Blake Wagner (Tampa, Fla.), Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes Est. Calif.), Eric Avila (Encinitas, Calif.), Nikolas Besagno (Maple Valley, Wash.), Michael Farfan (San Diego, Calif.), Gabriel Farfan (San Diego, Calif.), Amaechi Igwe (Belmont, Calif.), Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Carrollton, Texas), Drew Yates (Pasadena, Md.), Matt Armstrong (Phoenix, Ariz.) Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.); FORWARDS (10): Quavas Kirk (Aurora, Ill.), Michael Stephens (Woodridge, Ill.), Preston Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.), Cesar Nunez (Gurnee, Ill.), Eddie Ababio (Tampa, Fla.), Josmer Altidore (Boca Raton, Fla.), David Arvizu (Santa Ana, Calif.), Andrew Giallombardo (Manalapan, N.J.), Perica Marosevic (Rockford, Ill.), Joseph Sorrentino (Trenton, N.J.).

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

HAMM CARRIES AMERICAN FLAG FOR U.S. DELEGATION AT CLOSING CEREMONIES: 
Mia Hamm was elected by her 2004 Olympic Team peers to be the U.S. flag bearer for the Closing Ceremonies in the Olympic Stadium Sunday (Aug. 29) night. Hamm, a three-time Olympic medalist, is the first athlete from the sport of soccer chosen to carry the flag at an Olympic Games.  After winning the gold in 1996 and the silver in 2000, Hamm and the U.S. Women's National Team defeated Brazil 2-1 in overtime on Thursday, Aug. 26 to win the third Women's Olympic Football Tournament. Scoring in the opening round matches versus Greece and Brazil, Hamm ends her Olympic career with five goals in 15 appearances – all as a starter.

TWO U.S. SOCCER REFEREES TO PARTICIPATE IN FIFA’S FUTURO III: U.S. Soccer Director of Advanced and International Referee Development Esse Baharmast and U.S. Soccer referee Sandra Hunt will participate in the Introductory Seminar for Refereeing Instructors in Madrid, Spain, next week from Sept. 7-9. The seminar is part of the Futuro III initiative created by FIFA to develop instructors around the world in coaching, refereeing, general administration and sports medicine. Baharmast was the head instructor in the Futuro III pilot course held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in April of this year. In Madrid, he and Hunt will participate in a number of sessions over the course of the three days on topics ranging from fitness to fouls and misconduct to teamwork between the four-person referee crew. In addition to currently serving as an instructor and assessor, Baharmast was the first American to referee two games in a World Cup, when he did so during France 1998. He has served in his current role at U.S. Soccer for more than six years. Hunt, a FIFA official since 1999, recently participated in the Four Nations Tournament in China and was named the tournament’s top referee. She also served as a fourth official in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2003.

SEITZ REFEREES WOMEN'S BRONZE MEDAL MATCH IN ATHENS; STRICKLAND MEN'S SEMIFINAL:
U.S. Soccer referee Kari Seitz earned an important assignment from FIFA last week, serving as the center official in the bronze medal match of the 2004 Olympics, in which Germany defeated Sweden 1-0 at Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens, Greece.  Seitz was also the center referee for the first round game between Germany and China and was the fourth official in Sweden-Nigeria and Nigeria-Japan games. Seitz, who currently resides in San Mateo, Calif., became a member of the FIFA International Panel of Referees in 1999.  Since then, she has participated in two Women’s World Cups, in 1999 and 2003, and the 2004 CONCACAF Women’s U-19 World Championship in Canada. Seitz kept a record of her time in Athens for ussoccer.com at the following link: /articles/viewArticle.jsp_96263.html
Also, assistant referee Chris Strickland represented U.S. Soccer at the Athens games, drawing a marquee assignment as the first assistant for the semifinal match between Italy and Argentina.

USL ANNOUNCES A-LEAGUE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE AS REGULAR SEASON ENDS:  United Soccer Leagues announced the schedule for the two Eastern and Western Conference semifinals for the A-League playoffs. The conference semifinals are two-leg, aggregate score series. The Montreal Impact (Eastern) and Portland Timbers (Western) have locked up the top seed in their respective conference. The A-League playoffs begin Wednesday in Portland. The second leg of the series between the Rochester Raging Rhinos and Montreal Impact will be featured on Fox Sports World from Montreal’s Claude Robillard Stadium at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.
2004 A-League Playoff Schedule
Eastern Conference
Date    Matchup    Location    Kickoff (TV)
Sept. 3    Montreal Impact (1) at Rochester Raging Rhinos (4)    Frontier Field; Rochester, N.Y.    7:35 p.m. ET
Sept. 3    Syracuse Salty Dogs (3) at Richmond Kickers (2)    Univ. of Richmond Stadium; Richmond, Va.    7 p.m. ET
Sept. 5    Richmond Kickers (2) at Syracuse Salty Dogs (3)    SUNY Cortland; Cortland, N.Y.    6 p.m. ET
Sept. 5    Rochester Raging Rhinos (4) at Montreal Impact (1)    Claude Robillard Stadium; Montreal    7 p.m. ET (FSW)

Western Conference
Date    Matchup    Location    Kickoff
Sept. 1    Seattle Sounders (4) at Portland Timbers (1)    PGE Park; Portland, Ore.    7 p.m. PT
Sept. 3    Minnesota Thunder (3) at Vancouver Whitecaps (2)    Swangard Stadium; Vancouver, B.C.    7 p.m. PT
Sept. 5    Vancouver Whitecaps (2) at Minnesota Thunder (3)    James Griffin Stadium; St. Paul, Minn.    4 p.m. PT
Sept. 5    Portland Timbers (1) at Seattle Sounders (4)    Qwest Field; Seattle, Wash.    5 p.m. PT

UTAH TO MEET CHARLOTTE IN PRO SOCCER LEAGUE FINAL ON SATURDAY:  The Charlotte Eagles will host the Utah Blitzz in the Pro Soccer League final next Saturday, after each team won their semifinal match by a 1-0 mark. The final will be played on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. ET at Waddell Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., and broadcast live on Fox Sports World. The Charlotte Eagles last won the PSL title in 2000, while the Utah Blitzz brought home the hardware a year later with a 2001 championship. The Eagles defeated the New Hampshire Phantoms 1-0 on Aug. 28 in their semifinals. Patrick Daka scored the only goal of the match with a blistering shot from 20 yards out to lead the Eagles to victory. Byron Carmichael scored the clinching goal for the Blitzz as Utah topped the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 on Aug. 28.
PSL Semifinal Results

Date    Result
Aug. 28    Utah Blitzz 1, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0
Aug. 28    Charlotte Eagles 1, New Hampshire Phantoms 0
PSL Final
Date    Match-up            Venue; City                    Kickoff (TV)
Sept. 4    Utah Blitzz at Charlotte Eagles            Waddell High School Stadium; Charlotte, NC        7 p.m. ET (FSW)

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Anybody watching could tell that U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach was dead tired. Her all-out, bruising, battling style had taken its toll on her body, sapping her energy across five regulation matches in two weeks, but somehow she was able to find the energy to rise up above Brazil defender Monica and head home the game winner to earn the Gold Medal on Aug. 26.  The goal was a historic strike for the 5’11” striker, who will help the next generation of U.S. players leave their own mark on the game of women’s soccer.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP:
After sneaking out of Kingston with an important point on the road against Jamaica, it will be just as important for the U.S. Men’s National Team to earn three points on Saturday (Sept. 4) when they host El Salvador at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.  Fans can watch the match live on Fox Sports World and Telemundo at 4 p.m. ET, as well as follow online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

SOCCER SHOCKER: He's only 18, but so far Arlington Heights, Ill., native Jonathan Spector has already left an indelible mark at Manchester United during the past week, starting three straight games for arguably the biggest club in the world. The former U.S. Under-17 Residency player kicked off his promotion to the senior squad this week by playing 90 minutes at left back against Dinamo Bucharest in a Champions League game, before getting his first start in the English Premier League, playing 75 minutes against Blackburn on Saturday and following it up with another 90 minute showing Monday (Aug. 30) afternoon at Old Trafford against Everton. Oh, and did we forget to mention he was named Man of the Match for his efforts against Everton. Yeah, we know…amazing. Interested to hear what Spector thinks about his whirlwind week and his future at the club? Check out ussoccer.com later this week for a one-on-one interview with the Manchester United youngster.  

QUOTABLE: 
"There are only a few times when you can write the final chapter the way you want to.”
          --U.S. WNT forward Mia Hamm, on realizing the veterans’ dreams of earning a Gold Medal in their final world championship together.

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