Well, another successful trip to Portugal for the U.S. WNT. Champions for the sixth time in this tournament and the Americans did it in style. For the USA, all four games were extremely entertaining and interesting . They featured some fantastic goals and a few wacky ones, but in the end four wins, 12 goals for and 1 against speaks for itself. There were a few upsets (not of the U.S. thankfully) and props to Iceland for winning all four of its games as well! The entire U.S. roster got to play and the USA took its second tournament championship under head coach Pia Sundhage. All in all, a great two weeks in Portugal for the USA, but all the players are very excited about going home (even though the bus leaves for the Lisbon airport at 4:00 a.m. Ugh). As always, the folks here in the Algarve were fantastic hosts, the country is beautiful and the entire WNT would like to thank everyone for their hospitality. Right now, all the players are at their favorite eatery getting victory crepes and ice cream. Well deserved for sure. And also a shout out to the local police, security and SWAT team guys...Never has one team felt more protected at the Algarve Cup. The players will get a week off and then it's back at it to prepare for the biggie: CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Mexico. So for now, adios.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Posted at 2:31 PM
Abby Wambach, in the 59th minute has given the U.S. the lead!
Wambach was taken down while dribbling down the right side but there was no foul. The ball rolled toward the corner and Natasha Kai tracked it down.
She served it back in for Wambach who had gotten up quickly. Abby took the ball and fired a bouncer into the left corner of the net. Twice today that the U.S. has scored on their first shot of the half.
Posted at 7:29 AM
Denmark has turned on the jets midway through the first half, and tied the game on a Cathrine Sorensen goal. A seemingly routine service into the box gets nodded on by Sorensen and finds the back of the net. That's the first goal allowed by the U.S. in the 2008 Algarve Cup.
Posted at 6:47 AM
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The USA will face Denmark in the Algarve Cup championship for the second straight year, at the same stadium in which last year's final was played, and the U.S. team is hoping for a similar result...a victory. The final game is at a great sports complex on the edge of the Portuguese border with Spain, so the U.S. team will have at least an hour drive to get there. The players will definitely be bringing their iPods, books and magazines as one soon tires of the wonderfully scenic, yet repetitive Portuguese countryside during the drive. It should be an excellent final, matching a stingy Danish defense (zero goals allowed in the tournament) against the high-scoring U.S. attack (10 goals scored), but don't forget the USA has yet to allow a goal as well. We apologize if MatchTracker has crashed out on your while following the matches, but once again if you've been following the WNT Blog, these are technical issues that are out of our control and we hope they will soon be resolved.
Posted at 4:16 PM
Slow news day here at the Algarve Cup. It was basically a day off for the U.S. team, and they've earned it after winning three games and scoring 10 goals to earn a place in the championship against Denmark tomorrow. About eight or nine players did go to the field for a "players practice," which meant no coaches, just an hour of doing whatever the heck they wanted to do. Some players did some running, hit some long balls, a bit of technical work and some shooting. Some players took a dip in the cold hotel swimming pool to sooth their tired legs and a few just flat out did nuthin'. The weather was once against spectacular and it was a good day to lounge around. There is an eatery called the American Diner close to the hotel and a bunch of players went to lunch there. We HIGHLY recommend the banana, strawberry and/or chocolate chip pancakes. The other day Lori Chalupny was at the American Diner and she just couldn't decide whether to get chocolate chip or banana pancakes. She was with Nicole Barnhart, who upon seeing Chalupa wracked with indecision, said: "Go for the chocolate chip banana pancakes. Do a combo." Chalulpa did. That's why Barnhart got into Stanford. Excellent problem solver.
Posted at 4:04 PM
Monday, March 10, 2008
Posted at 4:27 PM
Posted at 4:16 PM
Posted at 3:53 PM
Sunday, March 9, 2008
If you are a regular reader of ussoccer.com, you know that defender Heather Mitts came to the Algarve Cup with the U.S. team a non-rostered 21st player to get in some good training as she continues to comeback from her ACL injury last May. At this point, she reports that the knee feels really good, it's just a matter of getting her fitness back and her body back into game shape. She went into several hard tackles in the first few days of training here in Portugal (that always good for the confidence after coming back from such an injury!), but took a few days off to rest the knee. She returned to training today going full out, hit some long balls, did some shooting (hey, she's got two career goals) and, yes, ran some fitness. Heather's report on today's training: "That was tiring." Still, Mitts should be fully cleared and ready to go by the USA's next training camp starting March 21 in Los Angeles as she competes for a spot on the USA's roster for the Olympic Qualifying tournament, being held from April 2-12 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Posted at 3:37 PM
It's nothing new for American female soccer players to take advantage of duel citizenship and/or shared ancestry to play for another country. Mexico, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Greece are some of the countries that have taken advantage of FIFA rules to naturalize American players for their Women's National Teams. At the Algarve Cup, you can add two more countries. Italy's back-up goalkeeper is Anna Picarelli (listed as Anna Maria Picarelli in the tournament program), who hails from Downey, Calif., and was All-WCC at Pepperdine University during several excellent seasons for Waves. Portugal's Kim Brandao (Rahway, N.J.), who has played all 180 minutes so far the Algarve hosts, was a teammate of U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd for two years at Rutgers University. We heard rumors that Ireland wanted to steal Heather O'Reilly from us, but sorry lasses, too late. She's already played in a FIFA youth world championship, an Olympics and a Women's World Cup. (Note: We made that up about Ireland. Heather has never even been to Ireland).
Posted at 3:13 PM
We all know that goalkeeper is a difficult position, but only a goalkeeper really knows what it's like to step into a drill in training and face a barrage of point-blank shots from powerful, yet remorseless forwards bent on hamming the ball into the net past, or through, the GK. Check out the short video below to see how Hope Solo deals with the repetition of one-on-one shots from inside the penalty box.
Posted at 2:53 PM
If it's possible, the U.S. team had a busy and laid back day, all in the same day. This morning, the players went to the beach for about 90 minutes of team-building exercises. The consensus was that it was a highly successful outing as well as a heck of a lot of fun. While the U.S. team has been known to get a little "overzealous" even in friendly competitions, we report that there were no bumps or bruises suffered. After lunch, the team had a few hours to relax before 4 p.m. training, which was fairly light, but still a good workout. After dinner, there was the usual pre-game team meeting that featured some video, which is always fun. (Remember when you walked into your high school biology or history class and were excited to find out that you would be watching a movie that day? Same thing. Sort, of). The team is definitely excited to be playing Norway tomorrow as it is still one of the best and most heated women's rivalries in the world. While the small confines of the field in Alvor may make this contest even more combative than usual (if that's possible), count on it being and intense 90 minutes as a berth in the championship game is on the line. Remember, due to Daylight Savings in the United States, the match kicks off at 11 a.m. ET on MatchTracker.
Posted at 1:53 PM