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U.S. Women Face Brazil in Final Match Before 2008 Olympics


United States Women’s National Team
Notes from San Diego, Calif.
July 15, 2008

ONE MORE MATCH BEFORE THE 2008 OLYMPICS: There is just one match remaining for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team before they officially become the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team and head to Beijing. The U.S. will finish a two-game series vs. Brazil on Wednesday, July 16, at a sold-out Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego. Fans can watch the match live at 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Fox Soccer Channel as well as follow the game on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The U.S. team will get several days off after this match before leaving for China on July 23. The U.S. has compiled up a 20-0-1 record in 2008, scoring 60 goals while allow just 11. The U.S. team has also pitched six straight shutouts which include four 1-0 wins.

U.S. WNT Olympic Send-Off Match
Date Opponent Venue City Kickoff / TV
July 16 Brazil Torero Stadium San Diego, Calif. 7 p.m. PT / Fox Soccer Channel

BUEHLER’S BACK: Perhaps one of the best stories to make the 2008 Olympic Team is Rachel Buehler, who returns to her hometown of San Diego for the first time with the U.S. Women’s National Team. A long-time veteran of the USA’s youth teams, she played in the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championships, but had gone about nine years in the U.S. youth programs before earning her first WNT cap this year. An All-American and Stanford who won a plethora of academic awards (she just took the MCATs last week), Buehler attended Torrey Pines High School and played many years for the San Diego Surf club. The Del Mar, Calif., native was the Palomar League Player of the Year for TPHS as well as earning First Team All-CIF and All-Palomar League honors for three-straight years (2000-02). Known as one of the hardest tacklers on the U.S. team, she follows in a line of top women’s players from San Diego that includes, among others, U.S. scoring legend Shannon MacMillan and 2000 Olympian Nikki Serlenga.

BACK TO TORERO: This will be the USA’s third match at Torero Stadium, having first played at the picturesque venue in January of 2003, a 0-0 tie with Japan. The U.S. also defeated Ireland at Torero in July of 2006. Like this send-off match, the first time the U.S. played at Torero Stadium, its next stop was China, but that was for the Four Nations Tournament. This time, it will be Beijing and the 2008 Olympics.

TARPLEY COMES FULL CIRCLE: U.S. midfielder Lindsay Tarpley comes into the match with 99 career caps and should become the 21st U.S. female player to hit 100 career caps. On Jan. 12, 2003, just over four months removed from scoring the “golden goal” that gave the U.S. the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup title, Lindsay Tarpley stepped onto the field for the U.S. Women’s National Team for the first time. Tarpley came on in the 68th minute for Lorrie Fair and launched what is so far a fantastic international career. The match report said at the time:

Forward Lindsay Tarpley, the 2002 Chevy Young Female Athlete of the Year, came on in the 68th minute for the U.S. to earn her first full international cap. Tarpley, the captain of the USA's Under-19 World Championship team, scored the "golden goal" against Canada that gave the U.S. the 1-0 victory last September.

"She wasn't intimated at all," said (then U.S. head coach April) Heinrichs of Tarpley. "She just went out there and played."

Should Tarpley play against Brazil San Diego, she will earn her 100th cap in the same venue in which she earned her first, something that (as far as we can tell) has never been done before by a U.S. WNT player.

WAMBACH ON 99: With one match left before the 2008 Olympics, U.S. forward Abby Wambach is approaching a unique milestone. At 99 career goals in 126 games, Wambach’s prolific scoring rate – the best goals-to-game ratio in U.S. history in fact – puts her just one away from joining four other U.S. players in the 100 Goal Club. Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (129), Michelle Akers (105) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100) are four of eight players in the history of women’s soccer to score 100 or more international goals. Wambach scored her first-ever goal in 2002 against Finland and since then has averaged a goal every 90 minutes she has played for the WNT. For more info on Wambach’s Road to 100, check out this special piece on ussoccer.com.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), 1-Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (6): 4-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.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 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.), 5-Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), 10-Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.)
FORWARDS (3): 6-Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), 8-Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), 12-Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.)

Brazil Women’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Barbara, 12-Andrea
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Jatoba, 4-Tania, 5-Andreia Rosa, 6-Rosana, 8-Juliana, 10-Erika, 13-Dani, 16-Daiane
MIDFIELDERS (6): 3-Pitty, 7-Formiga, 9-Maicon, 14-Ester, 17-Francielle, 19-Renta Costa
FORWARDS (4): 11-Pretinha, 15-Maurine, 18-Fabiana, 20-Raquel

U.S. TO FACE NORWAY, JAPAN AND NEW ZEALAND IN CHINA: The U.S. earned its berth to the Olympics by winning its semifinal at the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico in early April. The Americans faced some challenging matches, but came through in all four games and will be participating in their fourth consecutive Olympics, winning gold in 1996 and 2004 and silver in 2000. After the draw on April 20, the U.S. was placed in Group G and will open the tournament on Aug. 6 against Norway in Qinhuangdao, two days before the official Opening Ceremonies. To actually play a game in Beijing, the U.S. must advance at least to the semifinal as the gold and bronze medal matches will be played at Workers’ Stadium in China’s capital. Should the U.S. win its group and its quarterfinal match, it would play a semifinal in Beijing. The 2008 Olympic Women’s Soccer tournament will be staged from Aug. 6-21 in five Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao.

USA FIRST-ROUND OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER SCHEDULE
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

BRAZIL IN GROUP OF “GULP”: Brazil was drawn into the most difficult group at the 2008 Olympics, and some pundits are saying the most difficult group in the history of a women’s soccer world championship, perhaps surpassing the USA’s group at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup that featured North Korea, Sweden and Nigeria. Brazil will play North Korea, Germany and Nigeria in Group F, but with two of the three Olympic Groups qualifying three teams to the quarterfinals, three of those world powers will likely be through to the second round.

BRAZIL FIRST-ROUND OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER SCHEDULE
Group F
Date Opponent Venue Kickoff
Aug. 6 Germany Shenyang (Olympic Sports Center Stadium) 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET 
Aug. 9 North Korea Shenyang (Olympic Sports Center Stadium) 7:45 p.m. local / 7:45 a.m. ET 
Aug. 12 Nigeria Beijing (Workers’ Stadium) 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET

12 TEAMS, THREE MEDALS: With Brazil’s dominating and predictable 5-1 win over Ghana in the play-off match for the final berth in the Olympics that occurred the day before the Final Draw, the 12 teams for the Olympic women’s soccer competition were confirmed. This will be the first year that the Olympic women’s soccer tournament features a 12-team format (the same as the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cups) after the 1996 and 2000 Olympics featured eight teams and the 2004 tournament consisted of an unwieldy and awkward 10 teams, forcing several countries (including the U.S.) to play one more first round match than the others. While there were few surprises during qualifying, a full 25% of the teams are playing in the Olympics for the first time in North Korea, Canada, New Zealand and Argentina.

2008 Beijing Olympic Berths by Confederation (Olympic experience)
Host: China (1996, 2000, 2004)
Africa Nigeria (2000, 2004)
Asia: Japan (2004, 2008), North Korea (None)
Europe: Germany (1996, 2000, 2004)
Norway (1996, 2000)
Sweden (1996, 2004)
CONCACAF: United States (1996, 2000, 2004), Canada (None)
Oceania: New Zealand (None)
South America: Argentina (None), Brazil (1996, 2000, 2004)

A-ROD STRIKES: Didn’t catch the USA’s 1-0 victory over Brazil on ESPN on July 13? No worries. Go to ussoccer.com’s all_access video and you can see the highlights, including the world class-strike from forward Amy Rodriguez that earned the U.S. the win.

1985: The U.S. WNT had a special guest at training in Colorado. Linda Gancitano, who played in the first-ever Women’s National Team match on Aug. 18, 1985, came out to watch practice. ussoccer.com’s all_access video chatted with Linda about that first match and got her thoughts on being at the foundation of a program that has made women’s sports history.

Stat of Note
The USA’s record in its final match before beginning Olympic competition is 3-0-0. In 2000, Brazil was also the opponent for the Olympic Send-Off Match, a 4-0 U.S. win in San Jose, Calif.

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