USA Will Face the Swedes on July 13 in Omaha, Neb. at Creighton Universityâ€™s Morrison Stadium
and on July 17 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.
CHICAGO (June 28, 2010) â€“ U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has called up 24 players for the USAâ€™s two matches against Sweden taking place on July 13 in Omaha, Neb. at Creighton Universityâ€™s Morrison Stadium, live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. CT, and on July 17 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., live on Fox Soccer Channel at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the matches online via ussoccer.com MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer and twitter.com_wnt.
Tickets for both matches start at $18 and are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the local areas. Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.
The USA and Sweden, home country of U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage, have met three times since Sundhage took over the helm of the U.S. team, with the USA winning twice and tying once. The draw came in the championship game of the 2009 Algarve Cup in Portugal, a match in which the USA eventually fell after penalty kicks.
â€œSweden is one of the worldâ€™s high-ranked teams and we have not played very well against them the last couple of times, so that will inspire our players to play well,â€ said Sundhage. â€œIt is always good to play against a top European team and defensively it will be good to see how we do against the fast and clever players that Sweden has up top. We also get to play two games, so some players who maybe have not gotten to play 90 minutes in a while for the national team may get to play an entire game.â€
These will mark the second and third international matches during the current Womenâ€™s Professional Soccer season after the USA defeated Germany 4-0 in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 22. Sundhage will choose 18 players to suit up for each match.
Twenty-two of the 24 players called up come from WPS; the exceptions being forward Alex Morgan, a rising senior at California, and FFC Frankfurt defender Ali Krieger, the only foreign-based player currently in the U.S. WNT player pool. Against Germany in May, Krieger played her first match for the USA since January of 2008.
The USA will get back several players who missed the Germany game due to injuries. Midfielder Carli Lloyd has recovered from a broken ankle suffered while playing with her WPS club Sky Blue FC. FC Gold Pride attacker Kelley Oâ€™Hara, who has overcome some foot issues, returns to the roster and is perhaps the leagueâ€™s top rookie so far this season. Outside back Meghan Schnur also returns after recovering from a knee injury and forward Lauren Cheney also gets a call-up after missing the Germany game due to a personal commitment.
The Sweden games could also mark the return to the field in a national team jersey for U.S. captain Christie Rampone, who has not played for the USA since May 25 of 2009 against Canada as she took the rest of the year off to have her second child, who was born in early March of this year. Rampone has been playing for Sky Blue and should be available for selection by Sundhage.
Rampone is joined in a group of veteran backs by Kate Markgraf, who gets her second call up after the birth of twins in July of 2009. Markgraf needs just one more cap to reach the 200 mark, a number reached by six other players in U.S. history. The USAâ€™s deep group of defenders is bolstered by Amy LePeilbet, Rachel Buehler, Heather Mitts and Stephanie Cox. All of them except LePeilbet have appeared for the USA in world championships. The only relatively inexperienced defenders are Schnur (5 caps) and Krieger (3 caps).
The U.S. midfield is also a mixture of vast and limited experience and is led by Shannon Boxx, Heather Oâ€™Reilly, Lloyd and Kristine Lilly, who increased her world record for international caps to an astounding 345 against the Germans in Cleveland. Lloyd has 91 caps and could be the next U.S. player to hit 100. The less experienced midfielders are Lori Lindsey (8 caps) who is having an excellent season with the expansion Philadelphia Independence, Megan Rapinoe (12 caps) and the 26-year-old Sarah Huffman, a member of the USAâ€™s historic 2002 U-19 Womenâ€™s World Cup Team that won the first FIFA world title for youth women. This is just her second call up to the full national team. Sundhage also gives a first-ever call up to Washington Freedom midfielder Allie Long, who was a member of the U.S. team that finished fourth at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Womenâ€™s World Cup in Russia.
The USAâ€™s potent quintet of forwards are of course led by Abby Wambach, who scored her 106th and 107th career goals against Germany to move past Michelle Akers into sole possession of third-place on the USAâ€™s all-time scoring list. Amy Rodriguez is having a fine season for the Independence, having scored six goals thus far to tie for the league lead. They are joined by Oâ€™Hara, Cheney and Morgan, who looked as if she had scored her first full international goal against Germany in the waning moments of that match only to have it disallowed for offside.
Sundhage and her staff seemed to have settled on the solid trio of goalkeepers as once again Nicole Barnhart and Jill Loyden join first-choice Hope Solo on the roster.
The match will mark the 27th and 28th meetings between the USA and Sweden with the Americans having won 17, lost three and tied six.
Sweden is widely regarded as one of the top womenâ€™s national teams in the world and one of several favorites to lift the trophy at the 2011 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup. The Swedes, who are fourth in the last FIFA Womenâ€™s World Rankings, have all but sealed first place in their qualifying group with two matches left to play. That first place finish will earn Sweden a place in a two-leg playoff that will produce one of the four European qualifiers for the Womenâ€™s World Cup.
Many of the Swedish players will not have to travel far for the matches as four are currently playing in WPS: midfielder Caroline Seger and defender Sara Larsson of the Philadelphia Independence, midfielder Kosovare Asllani of the Chicago Red Stars and forward Jessica LandstrÃ¶m of Sky Blue FC.
UNITED STATES WOMENâ€™S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION - Detailed Roster
USA vs. Sweden
July 13 â€“ Omaha, Neb.
July 17 â€“ East Hartford, Conn.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Atlanta Beat)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Kate Markgraf (Chicago Red Stars), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Meghan Schnur (Sky Blue FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Shannon Boxx (FC Gold Pride), Sarah Huffman (Washington Freedom), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Allie Long (Washington Freedom), Heather Oâ€™Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (5): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (California), Kelley Oâ€™Hara (FC Gold Pride), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)
General Manager: Cheryl Bailey (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage (Charlotte, N.C.)
Asst. Coach: Hege Riise (Charlotte, N.C.)
Asst. Coach: Erica Walsh (State College, Pa.)
Goalkeeper Coach: Paul Rogers (St. Louis, Mo.)
Fitness Coach: Dawn Scott (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Team Physician: Dr. Bojan Zoric (Santa Monica, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Greg Banks (Charleston, S.C.)
Athletic Trainer: Ceci Gutierrez (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Massage Therapist: Pamela Durant (Charleston, S.C.)
Massage Therapist: Jarrod Fritz (Charleston, S.C.)
Equipment Manager: Andrew Dessert (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Videographer: Libby Wells (San Diego, Calif.)