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U.S. Women Head Down Under for Olympic Dry Run at Pacific Cup; USA to Face Japan, Australia & Scotland; China in Other Bracket

CHICAGO (Tuesday, April 18, 2000) - The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team will travel to Australia for the inaugural Pacific Cup to be held from May 31 through June 11 in six stadiums located in Canberra, Sydney and Newcastle. The defending Olympic gold medal winning U.S. team will attempt to gain some valuable seasoning in the eight-team tournament that will serve as a dry run for the organizers of the Olympic women's soccer tournament.

The USA was placed in Pool A and will encounter host Australia, Japan and a first-ever meeting with Scotland in first round play. 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup runner-up China heads Pool B along with New Zealand, Canada and North Korea. Six of the eight teams participated in the 1999 Women's World Cup with only the Kiwis and Scotland not attending the historic women's soccer festival.

The 2000 Olympic Soccer Draw Ceremony will take place at the Sydney Town Hall at 11:00 a.m. local (xx:00 ET) on Saturday June 3, at which time the USA will find out who its first round opponents will be for the 2nd Olympic Women's Soccer Tournament. Joining the USA at the Olympics are host Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden.

The USA will open the Pacific Cup on Wednesday, May 31 at Bruce Stadium -- an Olympic venue -- in the Australian capital of Canberra and then travels to Sydney to face Australia on Friday, June 2, at Sydney Football Stadium, site of the gold medal match for women's soccer. The U.S. women then finish first round play with Scotland on Sunday, June 4, at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Sydney. As in the Olympic tournament, the first and second place teams in the two groups will "cross-over" and face each other in the semifinals, to be held on Wednesday, June 7 at Breakers Stadium in Newcastle. The Pacific Cup gold medal and bronze medal matches will be held on Sunday, June 11, also at Breakers Stadium. Unlike the Olympics, when four teams are eliminated after the first round, the 3rd and 4th place group finishers at the Pacific Cup will also cross over to play a losers bracket semifinals, with the winners playing for 5th place and the losers playing for 7th.

Confederation partners China and Japan, Canada and the USA, and Australia and New Zealand have been seeded in opposite pools. The U.S. team will depart for Australia on May 26.

The USA is scheduled to play all three of its Olympic first-round matches in Melbourne at the Cricket Ground. Should the USA qualify for the knockout round in the Olympics, the semifinals will be played at the Sydney Football Stadium or Bruce Stadium in Canberra. The bronze medal match and gold medal match will be played at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The tournament marks the second trip for the USA to Australia this year after a young U.S. squad won the Australia Cup last January. This will be the third trip Down Under for the U.S. women in their history.

The Pacific Cup is a tournament that is managed and administrated by five core Pacific countries -- Australia, USA, China, Canada and Japan. The tournament will be held every two years and hosted on a rotating basis by one of the core countries.

The U.S. women have never lost to Japan, and in fact have allowed just one goal in the last nine matches while scoring 41, including 9-0 and 7-0 poundings in Women's World Cup warm-up matches in 1999. The USA has had similar success against Australia, winning all 12 meetings between two teams, including a 3-1 victory to clinch the Australia Cup title last January as a U.S. team featuring a starting lineup with three 17-year-olds and an average age of 19.8 years beat the Matlidas, 3-1. The USA has never faced European minnow Scotland, but like many emerging European women's national teams, the Scots have made great strides in recent years. Following is the complete schedule for the 2000 Pacific Cup:

2000 Pacific Cup Schedule
DateTeamsVenueCityLocal Kickoff
May 31USA vs. JapanBruce StadiumCanberra4:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. ET May 30)
Australia vs. ScotlandBruce StadiumCanberra7 p.m. (midnight ET May 30)
North Korea vs. New ZealandCampbelltown StadiumSydney4:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. ET May 30)
China vs. CanadaCampbelltown StadiumSydney7 p.m. (midnight ET May 30)
June 2Canada vs. New ZealandAIS Athletics StadiumCanberra4:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. ET June 1)
North Korea vs. ChinaAIS Athletics StadiumCanberra7 p.m. (midnight ET June 1)
Japan vs. ScotlandSydney Football StadiumSydney5:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. ET June 1)
Australia vs. USASydney Football StadiumSydney8 p.m. (1 a.m. ET June 2)
June 4China vs. CanadaAIS Athletics StadiumCanberra12:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. June 3)
North Korea vs. New ZealandAIS Athletics StadiumCanberra3 p.m. (8 p.m. ET June 3)
USA vs. ScotlandCampbelltown StadiumSydney12:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. June 3)
Australia vs. JapanCampbelltown StadiumSydney3 p.m. (8 p.m. ET June 3)
June 74th Pool A vs. 3rd Pool BHunter Athletics CentreNewcastle2 p.m. (7 p.m. ET June 6)
3rd Pool A vs. 4th Pool BHunter Athletics CentreNewcastle4:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. ET June 6)
June 82nd Pool A vs. 1st Pool BBreakers StadiumNewcastle5 p.m. (10 p.m. ET June 7)
1st Pool A vs. 2nd Pool BBreakers StadiumNewcastle7:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. ET June 8)
June 10Match for 7th PlaceHunter Athletics CentreNewcastle12:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. ET June 9)
Match for 5th PlaceHunter Athletics CentreNewcastle3 p.m. (8 p.m. ET June 9)
June 11Match for 3rd PlaceBreakers StadiumNewcastle12:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. ET June 10)
Championship GameBreakers StadiumNewcastle3 p.m. (8 p.m. ET June 10)