U.S. players watch from the bench during the first period against Swedish club Djurgården
The U.S. team got in a great pre-Algarve Cup scrimmage today defeating Djurgården, one of the top teams in the Swedish First Division, by a 5-1 score. We'll try to get some highlights up of the match soon. The Swedes are in the Algarve for some pre-season training (it's a bit chilly right now in Stockholm) and the match was also the first of the year for the USA against a women's team. The teams played three 30-minute periods with U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage (who played more than a few games in the Swedish First Division herself) making several changes to the U.S. team during each period. Tina DiMartino, who played as a withdrawn forward under Amy Rodriguez, opened the scoring in the first period with a left footed shot that she cut into the lower right corner from just inside the box. Shannon Boxx, who in a position shift has been playing center back, came up from the back line to score the USA's second goal in the second period off a great assist from Lindsay Tarpley. Forward Natasha Kai tripled the U.S. lead in the third period with powerful header off a perfect Heather O'Reilly cross. U.S. captain Christie Rampone created the fourth goal with another dynamic run from a center back and her bouncing cross through the goal mouth was inadverntly knocked into the Swedish net by a Djurgården player. Midfielder Kacey White finished the scoring against the tiring European side with a spectacular upper left corner blast from 25-yards out. The U.S. team will train tomorrow (Sunday) and then have Monday off before training on Tuesday in its final practice before opening the Algarve Cup against Denmark on Wednesday.