U.S. Women to Face Italy in Kansas City in First Match After FIFA Women’s World Cup Title Defense
CHICAGO (Friday, August 29, 2003) - The U.S. Women’s National Team will return to the field less than two weeks after the completion of the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003, taking on Italy on Wednesday, October 22, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., in a match that will be broadcast live on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT.
"Kansas City has been a great home for the U.S. Women’s National Team, no question about that," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "I know our players will be thrilled to return to Arrowhead Stadium, a fantastic place to watch soccer, and coming off the Women’s World Cup we know there will be plenty of subplots at this game against Italy. The fans of Kansas City have been so great in the past, there is no doubt this game will be a great one for them and will capture the spirit of the Women’s World Cup."
The U.S. women have played to large crowds before at the home of Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, drawing 36,405 for a 6-0 victory over Finland on October 7, 1999, just months after winning the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Kansas City also came out to cheer on the USA in one of its last matches before the 2000 Olympics, as 21,246 watched a rough and tumble 1-1 tie with Canada on August 20, 2000.
Ticket prices for the match start at $15 for adults and $13 for youth (lower level endline) and are $22 for adults and $20 for youth along the lower level sideline. Club level seats are $30. Fans may purchase tickets through TicketMaster by calling 816-931-3330 or online at ticketmaster.com.
Italy has an extensive history in women’s soccer and is one of the best teams in the world not in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as its quest for a berth to the USA was crippled by losses in both its Group 3 European Qualifying matches against USA ’03 finalist Russia. However, head coach Carolina Morace, herself a legend with 105 career international goals for Italy (tied with Michelle Akers for third-best all-time) has talented players at almost every position, including leading scorer Patrizia "The Scorpion" Panico and veteran striker Rita Guarino.
The USA has a 6-4-0 all-time record against the Italians, losing the first three meetings in the ‘80s before recording five straight wins, interrupted only by a 1-0 loss in Rieti, Italy, on March 7, 2001.
The last meeting between the two teams was at the 2002 Nike U.S. Women’s Cup, a resounding 4-0 victory in which teenager Heather O’Reilly scored her first international goal while Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly and Joy Fawcett also added scores.
Italy is currently embroiled in their 2005 European Women’s Championship qualifying campaign, having taken four points from three games where they sit in second place, tied with Switzerland, behind Group 1 leader Sweden. Italy opened the group with an 8-0 trouncing of Serbia and Montenegro, as Guarino and Panico scored twice each, but then had the tables turned in a 5-0 loss to 2003 Women’s World Cup dark horse Sweden. Italy tied Finland, 1-1, in its other match. Italy will play Switzerland on Sept. 27 in its next qualifying match.
For more information on the FIFA Women’s World Cup being staged in the United States from Sept. 20 through Oct. 12 in Boston, Columbus, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland and Washington, D.C., log on to ussoccer.com.