That's right ladies and gentlemen! The proclaimed "Rematch" of the 2010 Algarve Cup Final, which featured The good ol' USWNT vs. the Germany WNT, is upon us! The game will be played right here in the United States, in Cleveland Ohio, in the Cleveland Browns stadium. Unfortunately, since I cannot drive, and also since I don't actually have family that's necessarily all that crazy about women's soccer, we won't be going to Ohio, though, if I could, I'd love to take the trip down there just to see our country's best duke it out against the # 2 Women's team in the World: Germany. This will be the 3rd match featuring both the World giants (seeing as the USWNT is # 1, and the Germany WNT is # 2) between the years 2009 and 2010. Back on October 9th, 2009, the first "Clash of the Titans", the United States won, but unconvincingly. Our goal, which was Abby Wambach's 101st in her international career, was scored off a header, against the flow of play. On March 3rd, however, of 2010, the USWNT proved they deserve the # 1 rank, as they defeated Germany 3-2, with goals from Wambach, Cheney, and Lloyd. By the score, it looks like they once again didn't win too convincingly, but after watching the highlight reel, it can be seen that the USWNT would have thrashed Germany, if it weren't for huge mud puddles right on the goal line which stopped the ball dead on at least 3 or 4 chances. This will be the 3rd "Clash of the Titans" to be played so far, in pretty much the same time period. I actually think its a good idea to get the USWNT playing against big teams. The 2011 World Cup in Germany will be here before you know it, and they can use some practice against world leaders, like Germany, and Brazil. After all, these teams will be the most probable threats in World competition, like the World Cup! Plus, its good for the USWNT to play against teams at their level of play. I've been looking forward to this game for a while, and today, the roster was announced. I borrowed this roster from womensprosoccer.com, who probably borrowed it from ussoccer.com. I'll post it here so you can see who is being called up.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Saint Louis Athletica)
DEFENDERS (10): Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), Marian Dalmy (Chicago Red Stars), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Kate Markgraf (Chicago Red Stars), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Brittany Taylor (Sky Blue FC), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (Saint Louis Athletica), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (3): Alex Morgan (California), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)
I'm happy with the roster for the most part, its just a shame that certain people had to be out. There are injuries galore right now, so a few good players have to sit this one out. On the unavailable list is: Cheney, O'Hara, Schnur, Lloyd, Chalupny, and Heath. That's quite a bit, isn't it?
This game will mark the return of Markgraf to the National team since her pregnancy, and also the return of Rampone to the National team after she gave birth on March 6th.
But, there's one thing that's really disappointing me. And that's the fact that Kai, who I was hoping would get her spot back on the National Team, will also be unavailable. I figured it would be Kai's golden opportunity, since it was known that Cheney would be out for the match for quite some time, even before the WPS season started. I knew that if Kai was on form for the WPS season (which she is!) there would be no reason for her to not be on that roster. I figured this was her big chance. She hasn't been on the roster since her shoulder problems kept her out of last summer's Canada series, so this would be a great game to get back into the groove with. Plus, what better day to regain your spot on the National Team, than on your birthday? May 22nd is not only the day of the USWNT vs. Germany WNT game, but it is also Kai's birthday, so it seemed to good to be true. Of course, bad timing has once again haunted her with an injury, so she will now have to miss having been possibly called up to the roster. I personally believe Kai is the best striker, along with Wambach, for the USWNT. The 2 have excellent chemistry together, and not only that, but they are also outstanding players individually. I don't think A-Rod has done a good job of filling in Kai's shoes, to be brutally honest. I prefer Cheney up front with Wambach. The girl scored 4 goals in the Algarve Cup, and she's got a lot of skill for a young player! Definitely a rookie to keep your eye on...especially in the long run. But, since Cheney is not available, and since Kai is also not available, it looks like A-Rod will once again be partnering up with Wambach. Really though, the Wambach-Kai striker partnership? I don't know if you can get any better than that.
Another player I'd like to see make her way back onto the starting 11, is Rapinoe, who was called up. Rapinoe is such a great player, and deserves to be getting playing time on the starting 11 for sure. In the Algarve Cup, she pretty much warmed the bench the whole time. Rapinoe has excellent vision and play-making abilities. She's always making plays, or pushing forward, putting her 1v1 and dribbling abilities to good use. With Rapinoe, you just can't go wrong.
Something I'd like to see happen in this match, is Wambach scoring a goal. Of course I'd want her to score, since I'm a big fan of Wambach, but if she scores against Germany on May 22nd, it will be somewhat special, as she will pass Michelle akers on the all-time scoring list, making her 3rd all-time top scorer, behind only Lilly who has 129 goals, and Mia Hamm, who has 158.
The game is on May 22nd, and its televised. It will be on ESPN 2, at 6pm, eastern time.
So here's the main question: Will the 3rd time be the charm for the Germans? Or will the USA once again prove that they're number one?
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