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U.S. WNT Set to Open 2008 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Against Jamaica


U.S. Women’s National Team
Notes from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Friday, April 4, 2008


U.S. WOMEN TO OPEN QUALIFYING AGAINST WOUNDED JAMAICA TEAM: The U.S. Women’s National Team opens 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying against Jamaica on Friday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. PT. Fans can follow the USA-Jamaica as it happens on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Costa Rica takes on Trinidad & Tobago in Group B in the first match of the doubleheader. This will be the USA’s first game of the tournament, but Jamaica is coming off a disappointing 8-1 loss to Mexico on Wednesday night, a match in which they had a player sent off for a “last defender foul.” The U.S. has not faced Jamaica since 1994 and there are no players on the USA’s qualifying roster who played in that match, which took place in Montreal during qualifying for the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA hasn’t played since the Algarve Cup Final on March 12 and is certainly eager to get onto the plush and expansive pitch at Estadio Olimpico Benito Juarez. The team got a preview of the field and stadium yesterday during its official stadium training and, with no major injuries, all is a go for the Friday night tussle. U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage will suit up 18 of the 20 players on the roster. Log onto ussoccer.com for more information on the U.S. team and the qualifying tournament.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The top two teams from Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will cross over to face the top two teams from Group B. The winners of the April 9 semifinals will qualify for the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing.

2008 CONCACAF WOMEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION SCHEDULE & STANDINGS
Group A

Team   W    L    T   Pts. GF  GA  GD
MEX       1    0    0     3     8     1    +7
USA       0    0    0     0     0     0      0
JAM        0    1    0     0     1     8     -7

Date        Match-up                       Kickoff (Local)
April 2      Mexico 8, Jamaica 1   --
April 4      USA vs. Jamaica         7:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. PT
April 6      Mexico vs. USA             1:30 p.m. MT / 12:30 p.m. PT

Group B
Team     W    L    T  Pts.   GF   GA   GD
CAN        1     0    0    3       6      0     +6
CRC       0     0    0     0       0      0       0
TRI          0     1    0     0       0      6     -6

Date       Match-up                                                 Kickoff (Local)
April 2    Canada 6, Trinidad & Tobago 0         --
April 4    Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago     5 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. PT
April 6    Canada vs. Costa Rica                        11 a.m. MT / 10 a.m. PT

Semifinals                                                Kickoff (Local) / PT
April 9 Winner A vs. Runner-up B         5 p.m. MT / 4 p.m. PT
April 9 Winner B vs. Runner-up A         7:30 p.m. MT / 6:30 p.m. PT

Final/Third-place Game                      Kickoff (Local) / PT
April 12 Third-Place Game                 5 p.m. MT / 4:00 p.m. PT
April 12 Championship                       7:30 p.m. MT / 6:30 p.m. PT

OPPONENT CAPSULE: JAMAICA
Current FIFA World Ranking: 73
2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Results:
Caribbean Group C
Team                        W    L    T   Pts.   GF:GA
Jamaica                    3    0    0      9      24:0
Bermuda                   2    1    0      6      12:4
Antigua & Barbuda  1    2    0      3        3:16
Dominica                   0    3    0      0       0:19

Oct. 3, 2007     Jamaica 4, Bermuda 0                      St. Johns, ATG
Oct. 5, 2007    Jamaica 12, Antigua & Barbuda 0   St. Johns, ATG
Oct. 7, 2007    Jamaica 8, Dominica 0                      St. Johns, ATG

Caribbean Second Round
November 29, 2007    Jamaica 1, Cuba 0        La Habana, Cuba
December 1, 2007      Jamaica 2, Cuba 0        La Habana, Cuba

Overall Record vs. USA: 0-1-0
Last Meeting vs. USA: August 19, 1994 in Montreal, Canada (10-0 U.S. win)
Technical Director: René Simoes
Key Players: M Alicia James, F Tashana Vincent, M Jodi-Ann McGregor, M Omolyn Davis, D Stacy-Ann Johnson, D Yolanda Hamilton.

USA vs. Jamaica Fast Facts: Jamaica is the lowest ranked team the U.S. has ever played since the FIFA rankings were instituted in 2003 … Jamaica roared through Caribbean pre-qualifying, scoring 27 goals while allowing zero in 450 minutes, which included a solid 3-0 aggregate win in a two-game series in Cuba, only to give up eight goals against Mexico on Wednesday night … The USA has scored 21 goals from 10 different players so far this year in seven games … Twenty-two different players have started games for the U.S. in 2008 .. Jamaica defender Natalyn Manyan received a red card in the 33rd minute against Mexico and will be suspended for the game against the U.S. … Jamaica’s technical director is Rene Simoes, who coached the Brazilian Women’s National Team to the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics … Simoes, who led Jamaica to a berth at the 1998 World Cup, has returned to coach their men’s team and is overseeing the women as well, where he has several Brazilian and Jamaican assistants … An interesting character in world football, Simoes has also coached youth National Teams in his native Brazil, the Trinidad & Tobago National Team, as well as clubs in Qatar, Portugal and Brazil, along with a stint as head coach of the Iran U-23 Men’s National Team … The last time the U.S. played Jamaica, Anson Dorrance was head coach of the USA (it was his second to last game), Amy Rodriguez was seven years old, Seinfeld was the No. 1 show on television and the U.S. has just finished hosting the historic 1994 FIFA World Cup … The USA has picked up just two yellow cards in seven games so far this year, one each by Carli Lloyd and Stephanie Cox …The USA has won all seven CONCACAF women’s tournaments that have been held – three CONCACAF championships in 1991, 1993 and 1994, three CONCACAF Gold Cups in 2000, 2002 and 2006 and one CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament in 2004 … The USA has played 11 matches against Caribbean teams in its history, winning all 11, but seven of those were against Trinidad & Tobago … Nine of the 11 games against Caribbean teams have come in CONCACAF competitions.

2008 U.S. CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Nicole Barnhart, 18-Hope Solo
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Rachel Buehler, 17-Lori Chalupny, 14-Stephanie Cox, 13-Tobin Heath, 15-Kate Markgraf, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Whitehill
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 16-Angela Hucles, 11-Carli Lloyd, 12-Leslie Osborne, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 10-Kacey White
FORWARDS (5): 8-Lauren Cheney, 6-Natasha Kai, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 19-Amy Rodriguez, 20-Abby Wambach

2008 Jamaica CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Nicoda Linton, 13-Nikkishi Thomas
DEFENDERS (8): 4-Christina Murray, 5-Monique Pryce, 6-Janice Rennalls, 16-Tanesia Vassell, 18-Stacy-Ann Johnson, 19-LaToya Panton, 21-Natalya Manyan, 22-Yolanda Hamilton
MIDFIELDERS (6): 3-Marcilee McBean, 9-Alicia James, 11-Jodi-Ann McGregor, 12-Iesha Mowatt, 14-Omolyn Davis, 17-Christina Chang
FORWARDS (4): 7-Venicia Reid, 8-Kenesha Reid, 10-Tashana Vincent, 23-Shakira Duncan

U.S. WNT Pre-Game Quotes
U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd on the match against Jamaica:
“We can only control our result. I think we can focus on our style of play and play quick especially through the midfield with one and two touches. We need to have possession in the final third and that will definitely create scoring opportunities. After the Mexico result, we are going to have to push into the attack the whole game.”

U.S. forward Lauren Cheney on the match against Jamaica:
“I played Jamaica with the U-20s at qualifying for the 2006 U-20 World Cup. They were so athletic and tackled hard, and I know after their game against Mexico, they are going to come out with something to prove so we are going to have to match their intensity and physicality. Even though they are going to try to make it tough for us to play, we have to stick to our game by keeping possession and staying organized in the back.”

U.S. forward Natasha Kai on the Jamaica game:
“I think our team is coming together and getting on the same page. We are starting to get really comfortable together on the field. We are moving forward and coming back as a unit, and that can be deadly as it’s going to take our whole roster to get the job done here. Mexico came out really strong last night and played well together. Jamaica has some talent and a lot of speed, but they struggled to play together as a team. We need to stick together to get the results we need.”

GROUP A UPDATE: Mexico probably could not have asked for a better start to its qualifying with the 8-1 rout of Jamaica. Amazingly, Mexico scored its eight goals on just 15 shots. Forward and captain Evelyn Lopez scored four goals, while Tania Morales bagged two and Guadelupe Worbis and Monica Ocampo got one each. Mexico can now sit back and rest for three days to prepare for the clash with the U.S. on Sunday, a game which surely will be played in front of a large pro-Mexican crowd.

GROUP B UPDATE: Canada got its qualifying campaign off to a rousing start, quickly putting an end to Trinidad & Tobago’s upset dreams by scoring three times in the first half. Canada spread the goals around, getting single scores from Jonelle Filigno, Randee Hermus, Kara Lang, Jodi Ann Robinson, Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi for a 6-0 final score. A win for Canada in its next match against Costa Rica on April 6 will give them the group title, and a tie will probably do the job as well.

all_access VIDEO PREVIEW: The U.S. has only been in Mexico a few days, but you can log on to ussoccer.com’s all_access video to see a video of the USA’s trainings and get a preview of the Jamaica match.

HOW DO YOU SAY BLOG IN SPANISH?: Check out the WNT Blog for info on the team you won’t find in these notes and quotes and also to see a short video on Hope Solo’s memorable moment the last time she played in Mexico.

WHEN ABBY SPEAKS…: U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who is never at a loss for words, previews the CONCACAF qualifying tournament and chats about her development, as well as the growth of the U.S. team under Pia Sundhage, on this exclusive ussoccer.com podcast.

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: Current Big Apple resident Heather O’Reilly goes one-on-one with ussoccer.com to answer 11 questions, ranging from life in the big city, to her new role as a flank player and her love for Tar Heel hoops.

PEACE QUEEN CUP ON THE HORIZON: The U.S. has been drawn into Group B at the eight-team 2008 Peace Queen Cup, to be held in mid-June in Suwon, South Korea. Exact dates, venues and kickoff times have yet to be confirmed, but the U.S. will be facing Italy, Brazil and Australia with the group winner advancing to the championship game where they will be play champion of Group A that features South Korea, North Korea, Canada and Argentina. North Korea and Argentina have already qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games while the USA and Canada are currently in Mexico participating at 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Women’s Qualifying. Brazil will play Ghana in Beijing on April 19 for a final berth to the Olympics. South Korea, Italy and Australia did not qualify for the Olympics. Two stadiums in Suwon will host matches: The Suwon World Cup Stadium will host Group A while the Suwon Sports Complex will host the USA’s Group B. The USA won the inaugural Peace Queen Cup in 2006, defeating Canada, 1-0, in the championship game. The USA also tied Denmark (1-1) and defeated Australia (2-0) and the Netherlands (2-0) during the tournament.


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