Busy Weekend of Soccer

Brandi Chastain had her retirement game.  The US WNT beat China in the first of two friendlies.  Coach Pia Sundaghe cut her WNT roster down to 24 for the trip to Philly for the second China friendly.   The CONCACAF schedule was announced.  And involving more than just soccer, ESPN launches ESPNW.

BRANDI

Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Tiffeny Milbrett and many more soccer and sports celebrities met at Buck Shaw Stadium to celebrate the career of San Jose’s Brandi Chastain, the star of the ’99 Women’s World Cup finale.  The game was a retirement party for Chastain, 42.   Chastain played for both sides, and although a defender generally, she played forward and scored, but ultimately it went down to penalty kicks where Brandi had to put it away like she did in 1999!  Wahoo Brandi!  Good luck in retirement, and especially with your new foundation Reach Up!

CHINA FRIENDLY #1 – KENNESAW

The U.S. Women’s National Team began its two-game series with China at the amazing Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium north of Atlanta with a 2-1 victory.  I took my parents there earlier this year for the All-Star game and it is as beautiful as they say it is.  Every seat is a good seat.  

Fans were very disappointed that this game was not televised, although it’s apparent that it was video taped.  Was no distributor interested in airing this game?  Not even a web outlet?  Where were you Ustream.com?

Heather O’Reilly assisted on Megan Rapinoe’s opening goal and later scored the game-winner.  From watching match tracker and reviewing the stats it’s apparent the United States dominated the match. They out-shot the Chinese 20-6 for the game, but couldn’t get a consistent attacking rhythm going and some less than stellar finishing kept the match closer than it should have been.  No matter, the Americans created a bunch of scoring chances throughout the match, with set plays being particularly dangerous as they should be, but just couldn’t add to its first half total of two goals.  Hopefully, this doesn’t become a recurring theme.

As a few bloggers commented, I was confused why Loyden was put in goal.  Why not go with your best goalie (Nicole Barnhart), or your hottest right now (Ashlyn Harris)?  Confusing, but who am I to question the best coach in WNT history. Sundhage has compiled an overall record of 48-1-4 with the only loss in regulation time coming in the first game of the 2008 Olympics. Her winning percentage of (.943) is the best-ever for a coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history.

CHINA FRIENDLY #2 – PHILLY

Pia Sundhage has named the 24 players who will be traveling to Chester, Pennsylvania for Wednesday’s match against China.

GK Barnhart, Loyden, Harris

D Buehler, Cox, Krieger, LePeilbet, Mitts, Rampone, Sauerbrunn, Taylor

M Averbuch, Boxx, Lilly, Lindsey, Lloyd, O’Reilly, O’Hara, Rapinoe, Tarpley

F Cheney, Morgan, Rodriguez, Wambach

Where is 20 year old UCLA junior Syndey Leroux you ask? Out with a broken thumb.  Don’t ask!

CONCACAF

The U.S. will meet Haiti on October 28, Guatemala October 30 and Costa Rica November 1. Canada will meet Trinidad & Tobago on October 29, Guyana on October 31 and Mexico November 2.  Both semifinals will be held on Tuesday, November 5. The Final will be staged Monday, November 8. The crucial Third Place game will kick off a few hours before.

CONCACAF will stage the event between 28 October and 8 November in Mexico with the two finalists securing berths in next year’s 16-team FIFA Women’s World Cup at Germany and the third-place club facing Europe’s fifth-place team for another berth.

It is something of a consolation round, with the four losers of the recent European play-offs set to take part in a mini knock-out competition, the winner of which will go on to play the third-placed team from North and Central America and the Caribbean in November for a FIFA Women’s World Cup slot. Ukraine are at home to Italy on Saturday while Denmark host Switzerland the following day, with the return matches the following Wednesday and Thursday.

ESPNW

The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” is launching a new women’s brand.  ESPN is planning to soft-launch “espnW” as a “sub-brand” — first as blog, then with dedicated programming and – eventually, perhaps — its own channel, alongside ESPN2, U, Classic and News.  In the beginning, it’s main digital outlet will be Twitter: http://twitter.com/espnw .

Great quote from ESPNW twitter feed: “Everyones interesting. If they don’t seem interesting, it means you’re not asking the right questions…” Billie Jean King

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