July 13, 2008
READY FOR BRAZIL
U.S. faces foe twice before Beijing
After 20 games in six different countries and three U.S. states, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has two games remaining before the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. team will play a pair of matches against rival Brazil in its final preparations before the Summer Games as the two countries who met in the 2004 Olympic gold medal match square off in Commerce City, Colo. (Sunday 4:00 pm ET—ESPN) and San Diego, Calif. (Wednesday 10:00pm ET --Fox Soccer Channel).
|Natasha Kai (shown with U.S. coach Pia Sundhage) is one of three players who has scored in double digits for the USA this year.
The U.S. team has played just three domestic matches so far this year, and 17 outside of the country, but will come home for the final run to Beijing. Since their devastating loss to the Samba Queens at the World Cup last year, the U.S has defeated Brazil twice. But, once again, Brazil will be without 2007 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta, who is in Sweden playing for her club team Umea.
The USA has piled up a 19-0-1 record in 2008, which encompasses the tenure of U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage, and feels some revenge is in order.
“Everything went right for Brazil,” said U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who was injured in the 4-0 loss at the World Cup. “Brazil deserved to win that game, no questions asked. But do I think that if we had a chance for those same two teams to match up again, would the score be the same? I doubt it.”
The team goes into the final build up for the Olympics with a well-balanced attack. The USA has three players in double-figures in goals already in 2008: Abby Wambach (13), Natasha Kai (11) and Lindsay Tarpley (10). Carli Lloyd has seven goals. If she can get three more, this year will mark just the second time in U.S. history that four players will have scored in double-figures for a calendar year. Five players did it in 2000, but the USA played a record 41 games that year.