PASADENA, Calif. (Friday, November 8, 2002) - Having already qualified for the 2003 Women's World Cup in China by virtue of its 7-0 win over Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup semifinal, the U.S. Women's National Team now sets its sights on winning the tournament. The U.S. will play for the regional title against Canada on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7:00 p.m. PT at the world-famous Rose Bowl, site of the 1984 Olympic Final, the 1994 World Cup Final and the 1999 Women's World Cup Final. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports World and fans can also follow the game action on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics. Mexico will square off against Costa Rica in the third place match at 4:30 p.m. PT with much at stake in that match as well. The winner will earn the right to face the as-yet-undecided third-place team from the Asian qualifying tournament in a two-game, home-and-home series for a final Women's World Cup berth. Mexico, a 2-0 loser to Canada in the semifinals, was the first Spanish-speaking team to qualify for a Women's World Cup when it did so in 1999 by beating Argentina in a two-game playoff. The third place match will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports World.
USA HAS LONG HISTORY WITH CANADA: The U.S. women are in their 18th year of competition and have played 285 full international matches. The USA has played Canada 28 times in its history, which is more games against any team other than Norway (34 meetings). The USA won its first ever match against Canada, 2-0, on July 7, 1986, in the first-ever domestic match for the U.S. Women's National Team. Two days later, the USA lost its second-ever domestic match to Canada, 2-1, before reeling off 21 consecutive wins over their northern neighbors in a 14-year span. Canada finally broke the streak on August 20, 2000, tying the USA 1-1 in Kansas City, Mo. In the next meeting between the two teams, Canada notched its first win over the USA since 1986, beating a fatigued U.S. team 3-1 in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 11, 2000, in the USA's 39th match of the year.
LAST LOSS AT HOME WAS AGAINST CANADA: The U.S. Women's National Team has played 18 matches in 2002, compiling a 14-2-2 record so far. The USA is riding a 15-game unbeaten streak at home, dating back to a 3-2 win over Mexico on Dec. 10, 2000, which was preceded by the USA's last loss at home, a 3-1 setback to Canada on November 11, 2000. The USA has played Canada three times since that match, losing one game at the 2001 Algarve Cup with a team of young players as all the U.S. veterans were at their WUSA pre-season camps, before notching a tie and a win in a two-game series against Canada in the summer of 2001. The last meeting between the two teams was July 3, 2001, as the Americans triumphed 1-0 in Blaine, Minn., on a goal from Tiffeny Milbrett.
TEAMS MEET FOR THIRD TIME FOR CONCACAF CROWN: The USA and Canada have met two previous times in the championship games of CONCACAF Qualifying Tournaments, with the USA winning both games. The first was a 5-0 win in Haiti in 1991, as the U.S. got a hat trick from Michelle Akers and a goal each from Kristine Lilly and April Heinrichs. In Montreal in 1994, the USA won 6-0 as Akers, Mia Hamm, Carin Gabarra, Julie Foudy and Tiffany Roberts scored, plus an own goal. The two teams also met in the semifinals of the 2000 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, the inaugural version of this tournament that was not a qualifying competition. The USA won 4-1 in Louisville, Kentucky, as Shannon MacMillan scored twice and Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett added goals.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The USA and Canada both won four matches to get to the championship game. The USA outscored its opponents 22-0 while Canada piled up a 25-1 margin. Following is a look at each team's road to the Women's Gold Cup championship game:
Date - Opponent - Score - Goal Scorers
Oct. 27: Mexico - 3-0 W - Wagner, Parlow, MacMillan
Oct. 29: Trinidad & Tobago - 3-0 W - Parlow, Chastain, Milbrett
Nov. 2: Panama - 9-0 W - Milbrett (5), MacMillan (2), Roberts, Wambach
Nov. 6: Costa Rica - 7-0 W - Parlow (3), Hucles, MacMillan, Lilly, Own Goal
Date - Opponent - Score - Goal Scorers
Oct. 30: Haiti - 11-1 W - Hooper (3), Burtini (2), Sinclair (4), Chapman, Own Goal
Nov. 1: Jamaica - 9-0 W - Sinclair (2), Hooper, Walsh, Lang (4), Hermus
Nov. 3: Costa Rica - 3-0 W - Hooper (2), Sinclair
Nov. 6: Mexico - 2-0 W - Own Goal, Own Goal
MILBRETT NEARS 100 CENTURY MARK IN INTERNATIONAL GOALS: Heading into the 2002 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup Final, Canadian striker Christine Sinclair leads the tournament in scoring with seven goals. Sinclair, a sophomore at the University of Portland, who was also the top scorer at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup with 10 goals, is just one ahead of teammate Charmaine Hooper, the all-time leading scorer in Canadian history, and the USA's Tiffeny Milbrett. Milbrett, who with 94 career goals, is just six away from becoming the fifth person in the history of international soccer to score 100 goals for her country. Milbrett trails only Mia Hamm (135), a pair of long-retired Italians in Elisabetta Vignotto (107) and Carolina Morace (105) and Michelle Akers (104).
ROSE BOWL REVISTED: The USA has played three matches at the Rose Bowl, two against Mexico. The U.S. women defeated Mexico, 3-0, on March 28, 1999, in their first ever match at the Rose Bowl. The second ever match for the USA at the Rose Bowl was the historic Women's World Cup Final on July 10, 1999, a dramatic 5-4 penalty kick win over China. The USA also faced Mexico on Oct. 27 at the Rose Bowl in the first match of this tournament, another 3-0 win.
A RAIN COULD BE FALLING ON THE FINAL: A steady rain has fallen on Pasadena all Friday, causing the USA's training at the Rose Bowl to be moved to another field. More showers are forecast for Saturday, possibly making the championship game a bit wet, muddy and slippery.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
U.S. head coach April Heinrichs on facing Canada in the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup Championship Game:
"It could be one of those finals where it is wide open because both teams will have qualified for the World Cup, which would be great. It's a style that we like to play every time we step out on the field. We'll go after it and try to play attacking and creative soccer."
"Canada is very athletic, very strong and very powerful. They play a high percentage defensive game, where they will sit back with numbers behind the ball and counter with two world-class goal scorers in Charmaine Hooper and Christine Sinclair. And you might even add a third in Kara Lang, who is a world class forward on the Under-19 level."
STAT OF NOTE: The USA is 23-3-2 all-time vs. Canada, but only 4-2-2 in the last eight matches since 2000, and 1-2-2 in the last five matches.