Saturday, July 18, 2009

198 Goals Between Them

It's a special moment for women's soccer as two players will be going for their 100th international goals in the same game, something that may never happen again (unless of course neither Abby Wambach and Christine Sinclair score tomorrow, then it will happen again on July 22 in Charleston, S.C.) For now, we'll enjoy this moment in history as the USA and Canada clash live on ESPN on Sunday, July 19 at 3 p.m. ET. To give you a special appreciation of their amazing accomplishments, we sat down two of the world's top forwards, side-by-side talking about they have in common (Hint: G---'s Anatomy and definitely not their favorite dog), their potential career milestone and their respect for each's other's game.

P.S.: You like the song in this video? It's by LA-based artist Rachael Cantu. Hear more at

Get to Know Her: Christine Nairn

Most fans are familiar with most of the U.S. players, but with just one cap, Christine Nairn is definitely the new kid on the block. She has yet to play a college match (she will this fall for Penn State), but has already won a world title, helping the U.S. U-20s to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup championship in Chile last fall. In this special WNT Blog video, spend 60 seconds with Christine Nairn.

House of Wambach

The entire U.S. team and staff were hosted for a scrumptious BBQ dinner last night at Casa Wambach. Special thanks to Abby's parents, her brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, friends, relatives and everyone else. Really, the Wambach Clan is never-ending. It was nice to get out of the hotel, get some good food and visit with one of the U.S. WNT's favorite families. The Wambach's will be out in force for the USA-Canada match tomorrow. If you are in the stadium, you won't miss them. We don't want to call them "rowdy" but the Wambach's like to have a good time. How about vocal?

The Mayor of Rochester

Abby signs for some young fans at the Univ. of Rochester after the USA's weight-lifting session

What do Bob Duffy and Abby Wambach have in common? Well, one IS the mayor of Rochester and one COULD be the major of Rochester, or perhaps it just seems that way whith the amount of love and recognition that the U.S. striker gets when she returns to her hometown.

Wambach has done interviews with about a 10 different media organizations since return to Rochester and she has been constantly recognized on the streets. She will have more than 100 family and friends in the stands for the match tomorrow at 3 p.m. live on ESPN as she shoots for her historic 100th goal. For a list of her previous 99 goals, click here. Wambach has scored two goals in each of her previous two matches in Rochester, those coming against Iceland and Mexico, so the world's 11th ranked Canadians present a bit stiffer competition.

Wambach has played just 90 minutes for the USA since breaking her leg on July 16, 2008, that coming in the USA's 4-0 win over Canada in Toronto on May 25. Tune into ESPN on Sunday, July 19, at 3 p.m. ET to see Abby and her teammates go for the win over Canada as well as Abby's 100th goal.

Abby with a young fan and Trinidadian Tiger Fitzpatrick of the Rochester Rhinos

Tag along with Abby during her first few days in Rochester in this all_access video.

Rampone Out for Canada Matches

U.S. captain Christie Rampone underwent emergency abdominal surgery early this morning in Rochester, N.Y., where the USA is preparing to face Canada on Sunday at 3 p.m. live on ESPN and will not be available for that match, or the July 22 clash with Canada in Charleston, S.C. (Live on Fox Soccer Channel at 8 p.m. ET). Rampone is fine, resting and may leave the hospital later today. It is undetermined how long she will be sidelined. Rampone has played every minute of all five WNT matches so far this year and led the team in minutes played in 2008, setting a U.S. record for most minutes played in a calendar year with 3,066. U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage will not replace Rampone and the USA will head into the two matches against Canada with a roster of 20 players.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rock Hard Abs

If you watch the USA-Canada match on ESPN this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, you might see defender Lori Chalupny with a brace on her right hand. Seems she injured her paw in a collision with Heather O'Reilly during a WPS match. We went straight to the protagonists to get the inside scoop on the "incident" in this special WNT Blog video.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Year to the Day

July 16 marks an anniversary of sorts for Abby Wambach. One year ago tonight she broke her leg against Brazil, knocking her out of the Olympic Games. In a classic case of "time heals all wounds" Wambach is back with the USA, in her hometown, in search of a win over Canada and her 100th career international goal. It's amazing the difference a year makes. Wambach is back 100%, looking fit and sharp and certainly excited about playing in front of her friends and family in Rochester. Not surprisingly, Wambach has been the focus of some media attention on the USA's first day in town, doing quite a few interviews and a live TV news shot at the end of training today. Some of the reporters have been covering her since she was a junior high school basketball star. Wambach fielded all the attention with her usual aplomb, focusing not on herself, but on her great pride in returning home to with her teammates and her joy at being back with the National Team. Keep a look out on all_access video to hear a few thoughts from Abby on her return to Rochester. Last time she played here she scored twice in a 3-0 win over Mexico.

Happy Birthday Carli!

Today is the 27th birthday of U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd, and being an international soccer player, of course she celebrated during a WNT training camp. Carli actually got the Birthday Song not once, not twice, not even three times, but FOUR times after dinner. The players sang in English before and after the cake arrived (Carvel ice cream cake, which according to Carli is "the best." Must be an east coast thing), Pia Sundhage sang in Swedish and asst. coach Hege Riise sang in Norwegian. We believe it's the first trilingual birthday celebration during a WNT training camp. You know what would be a nice birthday present for Carli? A goal vs. Canada on Sunday. However, even playing would be nice as well as the USA's Olympic hero (one of the many) missed the last Canada game on May 25 after suffering a fluky and gruesome gash on her kneecap during training. The cut has healed and Carli will be ready to go.

Rolling Into Rochester

The players of the U.S. Women's National Team have been arriving in Rochester, N.Y. all day and of course that means the return of the WNT Blog. A few of the West Coasters came in late last night as it would be tough to make the 5 p.m. training today if they left this morning (and who wants to take those REALLY early AM flights anyway?). As the team hasn't been together for almost two months since the 4-0 victory over Canada in Toronto in late May, the first hours were spent catching up, chatting about their WPS seasons and just being plain happy to be together as a National Team again. Of course, the players have been seeing quite a lot of each other during the WPS season, but as the post-games usually feature a winner and a loser, that's not the time for chit-chat. With everyone on the same team now, the players reveled each other with the ups and downs of a pro season while getting ready for the first training this afternoon. The team will train once a day leading up to Sunday's clash with Canada at 3 p.m. ET at Marina Auto Stadium live on ESPN.