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U.S. Women Set to Host Ukraine in Portland on Sunday

Friday, July 8, 2005
U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Portland, Ore.

U.S. WNT READY TO REIGN ON UKRAINE: With a quality week of training that featured stunningly beautiful weather in Portland, Oregon, behind them, the U.S. Women’s National Team players are excited and ready to face Ukraine on Sunday, July 10, live on ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. PT. The match marks the second domestic game of the year for the U.S. women, who will unveil brand-new uniforms during the match. Fans can also follow the match live on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips.

RYAN SETS 18-PLAYER ROSTER: U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has named the 18-player roster to face Ukraine from the 24 players that trained all week in Portland, Oregon. Without Abby Wambach, who had a prior engagement scheduled before this match was confirmed, the U.S. forwards will get the chance to step up and take the game on their shoulders. Christie Welsh has scored six goals in the USA’s five games in 2005, while Danielle Fotopoulos, Tiffeny Milbrett and Heather O’Reilly will be looking for their first goals of the year. Ryan named two previously uncapped players in former Rutgers star Carli Lloyd, a midfielder, and University of Washington product Tina Frimpong. Both are looking to make their full national team debuts. Frimpong was a high-scoring forward in college, but is getting a shot at defender with the USA. Hope Solo is again on the roster coming off four straight shutouts, but it was a winding road for the former University of Washington standout to the U.S. goal.

United States WNT Roster vs. Ukraine
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo; DEFENDERS (5): Lori Chalupny, Tina Frimpong, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Cat Reddick; MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx, Lorrie Fair, Angela Hucles, Carli Lloyd, Kristine Lilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Aly Wagner; FORWARDS (4): Danielle Fotopoulos, Tiffeny Milbrett, Heather O’Reilly, Christie Welsh.


PASTA AND SHOPPING: The U.S. team had dinner out on Tuesday night as they were hosted by the Portland downtown Italian eatery Piazza Italia, which heaped plates of pasta, fresh mozzarella and bruschetta on the tables for the players to eat until it became a chore just to push themselves way from the tables. Fortunately, Wednesday was a day off, and the players were able to work off the carbs through some intense shopping at the Nike employee store and while walking around the downtown area.

TRAINING WINDS DOWN: On Thursday afternoon, the USA returned to training, which was preceded by an excellent presentation of the new kit -- which included game uniforms, practice gear and travel gear -- from Nike representatives. The U.S. team played small-sided games to big goals and ended with a 11 v. 11 scrimmage from the 18 to 18, with Kristine Lilly providing the lone goal early on. Youngster Carli Lloyd almost tied the game in the waning seconds, only to watch her 25-yard rocket hit the right post. Rain finally fell on Friday afternoon and the team had a wet, but fun practice that included quite a bit of finishing and some set plays. The USA is going for its sixth win of the year on Sunday after going undefeated and un-scored upon in the previous five matches. The U.S. team will hold its final practice in Portland on July 9 at Merlo Field at 3:30 p.m.

USA vs. UKRAINE PREVIEW: The USA and Ukraine have met just three times, most recently during a two-game series in California in 1998. The first meeting came strangely in Campinas, Brazil, during a tournament in 1996. The USA’s 6-0 win was notable for a hat trick by Danielle Fotopoulos, her first-ever goals for the USA, a goal by Tiffeny Milbrett and a goal by Shannon MacMillan. The two games in 1998 took place at UCLA on Dec. 16 and at Fresno State University on Dec. 20. The USA won the first match 2-1 as Aly Wagner made her full National Team debut in a match that featured all young players. Wagner is in fact the only player still active with the WNT from that match. Then U.S. head coach Tony DiCicco played his starters in the second match, which was notable for the only hat trick in the career of former U.S. captain Julie Foudy. Milbrett also scored in that game. While mid-level European teams have historically struggled with the USA’s athleticism, Ukraine has emerged as one of the top Eastern European women’s soccer nation aside from Russia and perhaps the Czech Republic. The USA came into this event building on a positive week of training in Virginia Beach and a quality win over Canada, so Ukraine will no doubt meet an excited and primed U.S. team with numerous young players hungry to make their mark. The USA has gone 7-1-0 all-time in Portland, with the lone loss coming in the 2003 Women’s World Cup semifinal. Of those eight games, five have been at PGE Park, two at Merlo Field and one on the Nike Campus.
A LOOK AT UKRAINE: Ukraine fell far short of their quest for a berth in the 2005 European Women’s Championships (won by Germany in the middle of June), finishing fourth in Qualifying Group 4 behind eventual champions Germany, the Czech Republic and Scotland, and ahead of Portugal. Ukraine took just seven points from eight games going 2-1-5 in qualifying play. Amazingly, the seven goals Ukraine scored were by seven different players, but only two of those players are on the roster to face the USA in Lyudmyla Pekur, who scored in a 2-1 win over Portugal, and Vera Dyatel, who scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Scotland.

Ukraine Group 4 European Qualifying
Date                Opponent         Score    Ukraine Goalscorer(s)
May 10, 2003   Portugal             0-1 L    --
May 18, 2003   Scotland            1-5 L    Hodyreva
June 8, 2003    Czech Republic  1-1 T    Penickova
Aug. 9, 2003    Germany           1-3 L     Mazurenko
April 3, 2004    Portugal             2-1 W   Frisco, Pekur
April 10, 2004  Scotland            1-0 W    Dyatel
April 28, 2004  Germany          nbsp;    --
June 5, 2004   Czech Republic   1-4 L     Verezoubova

Stat of Note:
The U.S. Women’s National Team has gone 14-0-3 all-time against Eastern European countries.  Following is a breakdown of the results against Eastern Europe, including that nagging 0-0 tie with Poland in 1989 and bothersome 0-0 tie with Czechoslovakia in 1988.

1-0-0 Bulgaria
0-0-1 Czechoslovakia
1-0-0 Czech Republic
1-0-0 Hungary
0-0-1 Poland
5-0-1 Russia
3-0-0 Ukraine
2-0-0 USSR
1-0-0 Yugoslavia
14-0-1 vs. Eastern Europe

“I love scoring goals,” said Tiffeny Milbrett on her exclusive Podcast this week, and if she scores on Sunday it will mark her historic 100th career goal. Milbrett will be playing on familiar grass at Merlo Field, sight of so much success as a college player at the University of Portland. Milbrett, a native of nearby Hillsboro, Ore., scored a large chunk of her then-NCAA record 103 career goals at Merlo. If Milbrett can find the net, she will join Mia Hamm (158), Elisabetta Vignotto (107), Michelle Akers (105), Carolina Morace (105) and Kristine Lilly (103) as the only players to score 100 or more goals for their countries. To see a list of everyone one of Milbrett’s goals for the USA, as well as a statistical breakdown of her career as she goes for this historic milestone, click here. Milbrett will also be honored for her 200th cap in a brief ceremony before the match.