WNT Mar 6, 2012
The U.S. WNT finds itself in an unfamiliar postion -- the third-place game of the Algarve Cup after nine straight finals -- but still with an excellent match to end the tournament.
Sweden has had the USA's number for the past three matches with the Americans out-playing the fifth-ranked Swedes three times last year, and failing to win each time.
Sweden features several of the world's best players -- Hello Lotta Schelin -- and the teams tend to match-up well on speed, size and strength, so it will be up to the Americans to see if they can put together some good ball-possession to create scoring chances -- and unlike against Japan -- finish those chances.
What lineup will U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage start? Well, tune in early -- 6 a.m. ET -- on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker to find out.
P.S.: Anyone watching MatchTracker tomorrow earns the right to call themselves a dedicated fan.
Here are a few notes on the USA-Sweden series:
The U.S. has faced Sweden 31 previous times, ranking as the fourth-most games against an opponent behind Canada (49), Norway (47) and China (45).
In the 1998 Algarve Cup, when the U.S. topped Sweden 3-1 in the third-place game, Sweden netted the game’s first goal, but the USA tallied three unanswered from Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain on a penalty kick and Kristine Lilly in the closing minutes.
In the 2009 Algarve Cup championship, Sweden edged the U.S. 4-3 in a shootout after both sides played to a 1-1 draw through regulation. Sweden was on the verge of winning the match in regulation with Lotta Schelin’s 18th-minute goal, but U.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx scored a 90th-minute equalizer to push for the shootout. In a wild shootout, Sweden scored on its first three attempts but could not close out the U.S. with its next three attempts. Eventually on the seventh kick, Stina Segerstrom converted the game-winner.
The last time the U.S. and Sweden met, Tobin Heath scored on a rebound in the 81rst minute as the USA overcame a late deficit for a 1-1 draw on Nov. 19, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz. The U.S. clearly outplayed Sweden, holding a 19-7 shots advantage.
The USA played Sweden three times in 2011 and failed to win. The USA lost 2-1 at the Four Nations Tournament in China in January, fell 2-1 during group play at the Women’s World Cup and then got the draw in Arizona.