May 18, 2010
AGAINST HER COUNTRY
Sundhage led U.S. to play Sweden
CHICAGO-Pia Sundhage will coach the U.S. Women’s National Team in a game against her home country, Sweden, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn on July 17. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The game marks the fourth time Sundhage will be going up against her native country. The USA has won two and tied one of the previous three matches. The most recent meeting came in group play at the 2010 Algarve Cup in Portugal last March, a 2-0 U.S. victory on two goals from Lauren Cheney.
Sweden is widely regarded as one of the top women’s national teams in the world and one of several favorites to lift the trophy at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Swedes, who are fourth in the most recent FIFA Women’s World Rankings, should seal first place in their qualifying group by the time they come to the U.S. That first place finish will earn Sweden a place in the two-leg playoffs that will produce the four European qualifiers for the Women’s World Cup.
“They have changed their style a little bit and they are playing attractive soccer, which is a little bit different from earlier days,” said Sundhage. “Perhaps they haven’t been that successful in reaching their highest expectations, but if you continue to play well, that success will come. If you talk about the best four or five teams in the world, and Sweden is certainly one of them, it doesn’t take much to start winning the big games and perhaps their players playing in the WPS will make that difference. Their coach has been there for a while and they are working on their style so it will be harder and harder to win against Sweden that is for sure.”
Many of the Swedish players will not have to travel far for the matches as five are currently playing in Women’s Professional Soccer; midfielder Caroline Seger and defender Sara Larsson of the Philadelphia Independence, midfielder Kosovare Asllani of the Chicago Red Stars, forward Jessica Landström of Sky Blue FC, and forward Madelaine Edlund of St. Louis Athletica.
The match will mark the 27th overall meeting between the two countries with the USA having won 17 games, lost three and tied six.
The U.S. women have had success at Rentschler Field, home to the UConn football team, defeating top women’s soccer nations China (3-1 in 2004) and Norway (1-0 in 2007).