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Feb. 20, 2008
Veteran keeper not on Algarve Cup roster

Veteran goalkeeper Briana Scurry was not named to the U.S. women's roster for the Algarve Cup in Portugal March 5-12.

According to a team spokesman, Scurry has been playing well, but coach Pia Sundhage wanted to give Nicole Barnhat a chance to play in a couple of games.

Hope Solo, Barnhart and Scurry are playing very well, according to the spokesman, who added that the goalkeeping position will be a difficult one because the team will take only two to China if it qualifies.

Of course, if the U.S. doesn't qualify, it will be one of the biggest stories and failures of the National Team program.

Scurry was thrust into a controversial role during the Women's World Cup in China in September when former coach Greg Ryan decided to bench Solo for the semifinal vs. Brazil. The U.S. lost the match, 4-0, and Solo criticized Ryan and Scurry.

Solo did make the team.

The U.S., which has been placed into Group B, will open play against China March 5, face Norway March 7 and finish the first round against Italy March 10. The Americans will play their first two matches in Faro at the Estadio Algarve, a 30,000-seat venue built for the 2004 European Championship. The U.S. will face Italy in Portimão.

The Americans will use this tournament as final preparation for the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico April 2-13. All three of Europe’s entrants in the Olympics will be competing at the Cup. In addition to Norway in the U.S.'s group, Olympic qualifiers Germany and Sweden are in Group A, along with Denmark and Finland. This year Group C features Portugal, Ireland, Iceland and first-time participant Poland.

“The Algarve Cup is a very important tournament for several reasons,” Sundhage said. “First, it is excellent preparation for the Olympic qualification, especially playing four difficult matches in eight days. That is a test of our fitness, our mental toughness and also our depth. But also, like we faced in the Four Nations Tournament in China, it gives the team a chance to play against three very good teams in the group who all play different styles, and that is fantastic for the development of our team rhythm, as well as for our young players getting experience at a big tournament.”

The 20-player U.S. roster (with Algarve tournament appearances in parantheses):

Goalkeepers (2): Nicole Barnhart (2) (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (5) (Richland, Wash.). Defenders (6): Rachel Buehler (1) (Del Mar, Calif.), Stephanie Cox (4) (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tobin Heath (1) (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Kate Markgraf (7) (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (8) (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (8) (Birmingham, Ala.). Midfielders (7): Shannon Boxx (5) (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (5) (St. Louis, Mo.), Angela Hucles (4) (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (3) (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (4) (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (6) (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Angie Woznuk (1) (El Cajon, Calif.). Forwards (5): Lauren Cheney (1) (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (3) (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather O’Reilly (6) (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (3) (Lake Forest, Calif.), Abby Wambach (5) (Rochester, N.Y.).

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