Match between Worldâ€™s Top Two Teams Will Be Shown Live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. ET;
Rampone and Markgraf Return to Training With WNT
CHICAGO (May 12, 2010) â€“ U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has called up 22 players for the USAâ€™s match against Germany on May 22 at Cleveland Browns Stadium (ESPN2 at 6 p.m. ET). The international friendly pits the worldâ€™s top two teams according to the latest FIFA rankings and will be the first meeting between the USA and Germany in the United States since the semifinal match of the 2003 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup.
Fans can also follow the match online via ussoccer.com MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer.
Tickets starting at $18 are on sale by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout Northern Ohio (including many Giant Eagle locations), as well as the Cleveland Browns Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.
The USA and Germany have met twice in the past seven months, the first a 1-0 U.S. victory last October in front of a sold-out crowd in Augsburg, Germany. The two womenâ€™s soccer powers also met in the championship game of the 2010 Algarve Cup in early March, a 3-2 U.S. victory in sloppy conditions in Faro, Portugal.
This will be the first international match for the U.S. players during the current season of Womenâ€™s Professional Soccer, which will take the weekend off from action due to the game. The U.S. squad will arrive in Cleveland on Monday, May 17, for a week of training prior to the match and Sundhage will name 18 of the 22 players in camp to the game roster.
Twenty of the 22 players called up come from WPS; the exceptions being forward Alex Morgan, a rising senior at UC Berkeley, and midfielder Ali Krieger, the only foreign-based player currently in the U.S. WNT player pool. Krieger, who played 10 games on loan for the Washington Freedom during the inaugural WPS season, is currently playing for FFC Frankfurt in the German Womenâ€™s Bundesliga alongside several of the players the USA will face in Cleveland. Krieger has two caps and last played with the USA in January of 2008.
The naming of the roster also marks the return of veteran center-backs Christie Rampone and Kate Markgraf to training with the U.S. team. Rampone, who has 216 career caps (fifth best in U.S. history), gave birth to her second daughter on March 6 of this year and has been easing her way back into training with Sky Blue FC. As she has yet to play any WPS matches, she will likely not see game action in Cleveland, but her return will be a key first step back into the national team for a player who has been one of the most important for the USA over the past decade.
Markgraf had twins, a girl and a boy, in July of 2009, and missed the inaugural WPS season, but is back playing with the Chicago Red Stars and has played every minute of all five matches thus far. Markgraf, who was a starter for the USA in six world championships, has not played for the USA since December of 2008. She is just two caps short of hitting 200 for her international career.
Sundhage also gives another call-up to Kristine Lilly, who increased her world record for international caps to 344 with two appearances against Mexico in late March, which were her first games for the USA since the end of 2008.
The USA has been hit by injuries to some regular call-ups during WPS play as midfielders Carli Lloyd (ankle) and Tobin Heath (ankle), defender Megan Schnur (knee) and forward Kelley Oâ€™Hara (foot) will not be in Cleveland while forward Lauren Cheney will also miss the match due to a personal commitment. Defender Lori Chalupny has not been medically cleared due to concussion-related issues. Still, Sundhage will have at her disposal eight of the 11 players who started against Germany in the Algarve Cup Final, including goalkeeper Hope Solo, defenders Rachel Buehler and Amy LePeilbet, midfielder Heather Oâ€™Reilly, current captain Shannon Boxx and forward Abby Wambach, who needs just one more goal to move past Michelle Akers into third on the all-time U.S. scoring list. Wambach scored in both of the last two games against Germany.
The match will mark the 27th meeting between the two countries (counting two games against the former West Germany) with the USA having won 18, lost four and tied four. The worldâ€™s two most successful womenâ€™s soccer nations have met in several epic matches in U.S. history, including a 5-2 U.S. win in the semifinal of the 1991 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup, a 3-2 U.S. win in the quarterfinal of the 1999 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup, a 3-0 Germany win in the semifinal of the 2003 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup and a 2-1 U.S. win in the semifinal of the 2004 Olympics.
Germany boasts tremendous depth and some of the worldâ€™s top players, including team captain Birgit Prinz, who has scored 126 career international goals, and forward Inka Grings, who scored seven goals at the recently completed Algarve Cup and is the leading scorer in the Bundesliga with 28 goals for Duisburg. The USA is currently first in the FIFA Womenâ€™s World Rankings while Germany is second.
The USA has played in Cleveland just once previously on June 16, 2007, at Cleveland Browns Stadium with Abby Wambach scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory against China. Current U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage was on the Chinese bench during that match as an assistant coach.
U.S. WNT Roster by Position Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)
DEFENDERS (10): Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), Marian Dalmy (Chicago Red Stars), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Kate Markgraf (Chicago Red Stars), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Brittany Taylor (Sky Blue FC), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (St. Louis Athletica), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Heather Oâ€™Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (3): Alex Morgan (California), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)