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U.S. WNT Set for Second Match Against Australia

United States Women’s National Team
Pre-Game Notes
USA vs. Australia
May 3, 2008 - Legion Field
Birmingham, Ala.

USA AND AUSTRALIA MEET IN “SECOND LEG” AT FAMED LEGION FIELD: With the U.S. Women’s National Team coming off a wild finish on April 27 against Australia in Cary, N.C., the two teams will go at it again on Saturday, May 3, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The match kicks off at 4 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel in the 2008 American television debut of the U.S. WNT. Fans can also follow the game on’s MatchTracker. The USA is 11-0-1 on the year, which includes tournament titles at the Four Nations in China in January, the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March and the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in Mexico in early April. The win over Australia saw three goals in the last six-minutes, plus stoppage time, and was the first domestic win for U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. After playing in a driving rainstorm last weekend in a match that was delayed almost an hour by rain and lightning, the weather forecast for Saturday is…thunderstorms with a chance of lightning. There is an 80 percent chance of rain, but since the game is on Field Turf, the field issues won’t be a factor. Still, the U.S. team is hoping for good weather like the beautiful conditions they’ve experience all week long in Birmingham.

2008 Women’s National Team Domestic Games
Date          Opponent  Venue (City)                                  Score / Kickoff
April 27     Australia    WakeMed Park (Cary, N.C.)          3-2 W
May 3        Australia    Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.)  4 p.m. CT Live on Fox Soccer Channel / MatchTracker
May 10      Canada RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.)    7 p.m. ET MatchAccess / MatchTracker

CAT’S BACK: Birmingham native Cat Whitehill has returned to her hometown this week with the U.S. National Team for the third time. She first played for the USA in front of her home fans on May 17, 2003, in a win over England at the hot and steamy Legion Field and played the full 90 against on April 24, 2004, in win over Brazil. Whitehill has been doing quite a bit of media here in Birmingham, hitting all mediums with interviews in newspapers, on the radio, local TV news and morning shows and the internet. Formerly Cat Reddick, she was a high-school All-American at Briarwood Christian School and two-time Alabama Girl’s Soccer Player of the Year. Whitehill is now one of the veterans on the U.S. team, having played 128 times for the USA, in two FIFA Women’s World Cups and the 2004 Olympic Games, where she won a gold medal. In 2003, she set a record by becoming the only defender in U.S. history to score twice in a Women’s World Cup match. Whitehill won the MAC Hermann Award in 2003, the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for college soccer, and as a senior at the University of North Carolina, returned from Women’s World Cup action to lead the Tar Heels to a 27-0-0 record and the NCAA title. She is the only player developed in the state of Alabama to play for the full Women’s National Team.

NEW KIDS: There are three college-age players vying for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team. They are known to their teammates as “A-Rod,” “Chen-Dog” and “Tobes.” They are all veterans of the U.S. Youth Women’s National Teams, but unless you were a fan of the video did at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, you might not know this trio that well. That all changes with this latest all_access video on Check out The New Kids.

ONE MORE TIME: There are now 24 players training with the USA on this three-week road trip after defender Keeley Dowling had to return home to Knoxville, Tenn., to rehabilitate a back injury. U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage used all six allowed subs in the match last weekend and will likely use her bench liberally this Saturday as well. Sundhage will name 18 players to suit up for the match.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 24-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), 18-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (7): 26-Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), 17-Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), 14-Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), 15-Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 2-Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), 3-Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 4-Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): 7-Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 13-Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 16-Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), 11-Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), 9-Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), 12-Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.), 21-Kacey White (Arlington, Texas)
FORWARDS (5): 8-Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 19-Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), 21-India Trotter (Plantation, Fla.), 20-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

Australia Women’s National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Melissa Barbieri, 18-Lydia Williams
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Kate McShea, 3-Karla Reuter, 4-Dianne Alagich, 5-Cheryl Salisbury, 6-Amber Neilson, 11-Clare Polkinghorne, 16-Lauren Colthorpe, 19-Kim Carroll
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Heather Garriock, 10-Joanne Peters, 13-Amy Chapman, 14-Collette McCallum, 15-Sally Shipard, 20-Joanne Burgess
FORWARDS (5): 8-Caitlin Munoz, 9-Sarah Walsh, 12-Kate Gill, 17-Kyah Simon, 22-Selin Kuralay.

HOME SWEET HOME: The U.S. Women’s National Team carries a 28-game home unbeaten streak into the match in Birmingham. The U.S. has not lost at home since Nov. 6, 2004, a 3-1 setback to Denmark. Since the end of 2004 Olympics, the U.S. women have lost just two matches, one to the Danes and the other in the semifinal of the 2007 Women’s World Cup to Brazil. The overall record since winning the gold in Athens is 64-2-11.

Current FIFA World Ranking: 12
2007 WWC Results: Ghana (4-1 W), Norway (1-1 T), Canada (2-2 T), Brazil (2-3 L)
Overall Record vs. USA: 0-17-2
Last Meeting vs. USA: April 27, 2008 (a 3-2 U.S. win in Cary, N.C.)
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
Key Players: GK Melissa Barbieri, D Kate McShea, D Dianne Alagich, D Cheryl Salisbury, M Heather Garriock, F Caitlin Munoz, F Sarah Walsh, M Joanne Peters, F Kate Gill, M Sally Shipard.

USA vs. Australia Fast Facts: The USA’s dramatic 3-2 win last Sunday in a rain-drenched Cary, N.C., was unique in that, while records are not kept in this area, it is believed the U.S. team has never before given up two goals in such a short span so late in a match … In Cary, the USA got goals from Natasha Kai, Abby Wambach and then in stoppage time of the second half, a game-winner from Carli Lloyd … While stats are not kept on the shortest time between goals allowed by the USA either, Australia’s two goals in three minutes is believed to be the shortest time span the USA has ever allowed two goals since allowing two goals to Iceland in a two-minute span (and three in six minutes!) on the Fan Celebration Tour in Rochester, N.Y. on Sept. 25, 2004 … The USA eventually won that game, 4-3 … Even though Australia did not qualify for the Olympics, this will not be the last these two teams see of each other this year as USA and Australia will meet again in group play at the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea in June … Three of Australia’s top players – defender Dianne Alagich, midfielder Joanne Peters and forward Catlin Munoz – did not play last match due to injury … Australia added a player to its roster right before the last match - forward Selin Kuralay, a former star at Florida State.

U.S. WNT Quote Sheet

U.S. defender Cat Whitehill

On getting to play at the legendary Legion Field:
“It’s awesome. It’s where the University of Alabama has a ton of incredible memories in college football. I have a ton of memories watching games (at Legion Field). Mr. Jackson and ‘whoa Nellie!’ coming from Legion Field. It’s too bad that (Alabama) doesn’t get any more games here. I even watched my high school team win a state championship in football here and that was a lot of fun. We beat Brazil, 5-1, on this field and beat England, 6-0, so hopefully we can come out and beat Australia.”

What she would like to see different in this game from the match vs. Australia a week ago:
“Well, definitely drier weather. But personally as a defender, I don’t want to see two goals from Australia. A goal for us every game is to have a shutout and we are definitely going to challenge ourselves to try to make sure that happens.”

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage

On what the team can improve against Australia from the last match:
“Their presence in the air is very good so we’ve been talking a lot about crosses. In the Olympics, Norway of course is always good in the air, so this is a good game for us. So we talk about crosses and runs into the box. If you are standing still, you don’t have the speed and can’t separate and (Australia is) just too good. You could see that in the last game. It’s first about the quality of crosses, we should do better with that, then about the runs into the box. Also on set pieces, corner kicks or free kicks out of shooting range. We need to mix it up a little bit and be a little more creative.”

USA UNBEATEN AT LEGION FIELD: This will be the third match at the famed Legion Field for the U.S. women and its seems appropriate that the hometown of U.S. defender and monster college football fan Cat Whitehill has been the venue for some successful fútbol after Legion Field has played host to so many historic football games. The USA played at Legion Field in back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004, coming away with dominating 6-0 and 5-1 wins over England and Brazil respectively. Both matches were played in heat, but they were both played on a natural grass surface. This will be the USA’s first match on the Field Turf that was installed in 2006. Legion Field played host to matches in the 1996 Olympic Games as well as a World Cup qualifier for the Men’s National Team in 2005.

OLYMPIC BERTH IN HAND, DRAW DONE, USA PREPARES FOR CHINA: After facing some challenging games at the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico in early April and coming through with wins in all of them, the USA earned its berth to the 2008 Olympics as one of 12 teams that will compete for gold. After the draw on April 20, the U.S. now knows the teams and venues for the opening round, which commences on Aug. 6, two days before the official Opening Ceremonies. The USA also knows that to actually play a game in Beijing, it must advance at least to the semifinal as one semi, and the gold and bronze medal matches will be played at Workers’ Stadium in China’s capital. The 2008 Olympic Women’s Soccer tournament will be staged from Aug. 6-21 in five Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao.

Group G
Date     Opponent          Venue                                                                                Kickoff                          
Aug. 6    Norway              Qinhuangdao (Olympic Sports Center Stadium)     7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET
Aug. 9    Japan                Qinhuangdao (Olympic Sports Center Stadium)     5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET
Aug. 12  New Zealand   Shenyang (Olympic Sports Center Stadium)           7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET