May 10, 2010
By Charles Cuttone
A SIXTH WORLD CUP?
It is a possibility for Lilly
Boston Breakers midfielder Kristine Lilly has already played in five World Cups, but a sixth one could well be in her future.
|Kristine Lilly’s strong play for the Boston Breakers has put her back in contention for a spot on her sixth Women’s World Cup squad.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Lilly played in the first World Cup in 1991 and in every once since -- 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 -- winning in ‘91 and ’99, and along the way becoming soccer’s most-capped player with 344 international appearances.
She took a year off for the birth of her daughter Sidney, missing the 2008 Olympics, and it looked for a while like she was out of U.S. coach Pia Sundhage’s plans, but after playing every minute of every game for the Breakers and being named to the Women’s Pro Soccer All-Star team last season, she was called back by Sundhage for a pair of games against Mexico earlier this year.
“The reason is flank play,” Sundhage explained of Lilly’s return. “She has so much experience and she likes the line. I’ve seen that so many times. And she can keep the ball. That’s something we are looking for.”
Sundhage said Shannon Boxx and the now-injured Carli Lloyd are a good midfield tandem, and that Philadelphia Independence midfielder Lori Lindsey might fit into the mix as well. But Lilly, besides her experience, brings something else to the mix.
“We also need dangerous outside midfielders that recognize when its on and when its not,” Sundhage said. “She’s been playing so many games and she played every single minute last year, so she has a chance to make it to the next World Cup.”
Lilly, who was taken out of a game by Breakers’ coach Tony DiCicco for the first time in two years on Saturday night, still knows, despite how many times she has been capped before, that when it comes to the National Team, she still has to earn her spot.
“I’ve gotta play,” she said. “I’ve got to do some good things and fit into what she’s looking for, so I’ve got to keep plugging along and see what happens.”
Lilly will be part of the roster when the U.S. faces rival Germany at Cleveland Browns Stadium on May 22.
“I am excited to go back in a week and see what happens from there,” said Lilly of her 2011 World Cup chances.