USWNT looks to repeat 2008 Olympic success at FIFA World Cup in Germany

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United States women's national team coach Pia Sundhage won an international title in her first year at the helm, guiding the USWNT to a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She's banking on that success carrying over to this summer's FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Twelve of the 21 players selected to represent the United States this summer have never participated in a World Cup before, but 14 were part of the 2008 world-championship team, and that experience will be counted on as the No. 1-ranked Americans seek their first World Cup crown since 1999.

"The only wrinkle I would say is that there's two years in between tournaments between the end of the Olympics and the beginning of the World Cup," veteran forward Abby Wambach said. "The time frame in preparation is a bit different. For me, everything else is the same, because it's a world championship. You want everything to be peaking at the right time."

Wambach is one of the few World Cup veterans to grace Sundhage's roster. Another is captain Christie Rampone, the last remaining holdover from that 1999 championship team.

Here is the 21-woman roster that's headed to Germany:

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM WORLD CUP ROSTER

GOALKEEPERS – Hope Solo (magicJack), Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence), Jill Loyden (magicJack).

DEFENDERS – Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (out of contract), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat), Christie Rampone (magicJack), Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack).

MIDFIELDERS – Shannon Boxx (magicJack), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), Heather O'Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence), Lindsay Tarpley (magicJack).

FORWARDS – Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (magicJack).

The USWNT will play in three friendlies before heading to pre-World Cup training camp in Austria. The Americans will face Japan, ranked fourth in the world, twice; First in Columbus, Ohio, on May 14 (FSC, 6:30 p.m.), and again in Cary, N.C., on May 19 (ESPN2, 7 p.m.).

They'll have a send-off friendly against Mexico at Red Bull Arena on June 5 (ESPN2, 2 p.m.) before heading to Austria to prepare for their World Cup opener against North Korea on June 28 in Dresden, Germany.

They'll face their other Group C opponents, Colombia and Sweden on July 2 and 6, respectively. The United States has never finished worse than third in a women's World Cup and is one of two countries to win multiple championships. Host Germany, the two-time defending cup holder, is the other.

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What do you think about the USWNT's chances in Germany? Like the roster? Surprised that anybody was left off? Do you see the USWNT winning the World Cup for the third time?

Share your thoughts below.

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20 Responses to USWNT looks to repeat 2008 Olympic success at FIFA World Cup in Germany

  1. kimo says:

    I think they’ll miss Natasha Kai as a substitute. She provided fantastic energy off of the bench during the Olympics and she’s got the most pace on the team…by a country mile…granted she’s a bit ragged at times. Her athleticism and ability to stretch defenses has been missed during the buildup to the WCup…and it’s been pretty obvious. Sundhage has her favorites and Kai has never been one of them. She had NO shot to make this team.

  2. John says:

    Didn’t Wambach break some girl’s leg in WPS? Where was the Mullen type hate?

  3. Dawsaw says:

    Rofl at the people flaming Ives for not covering women’s soccer on here.

    Looking forward to Wambach beastly presence dominating the rest of the field. Rochester what’s up?!

  4. KC says:

    I haven’t paid much attention to the USWNT since Hamm & Foudy retired. I will have to watch this summer.

    On another note…

    magicJack? Lamest team name ever.

  5. beckster says:

    I watched their friendly against England. It is not a fluke that they had to get to the world cup via a qualifier. They are very beatable and really need to ramp it up if they expect to make it to the finals.

  6. jones says:

    An entirely predictable roster from Pia – all of the favorites are in.

    North Korea and Sweden can beat them on any given day; it will be tough for the US to get out of the group. The defense is slow and the midfield can’t keep the ball. It would be great though, if Morgan was given a chance to start with Wambat – imo they have better chemistry than any other pair of forwards (Pia never strays from 442).

    The greatest issue with this roster, however, is that over the course of 3 years, there has been very little development of promising young players. This is where Germany and other countries have it right. Not to mention the fact that we just hired the worst possible people to lead player development on the womens side.

    We’ll see how they do this summer, but I’m going to pick a second (and third) team to root for just in case.

    Good to see the coverage here – I’m a fan of both sides.

  7. Steve C says:

    For an entirely pervy response, just like a few years ago ESPN had the “Beckham-cam”, at the World Cup next month I hope they have the “Alex Morgan” cam. =]

  8. frank says:

    i am not optimistic about this teams chances to even make it out of the group given the inflexibility of the coaches player selections and tactics…

    something needs to change…

  9. Alex says:

    +100 good sir, +100

  10. bryan says:

    haha i agree. a heather mitts and hope solo cam is never bad either!

  11. bryan says:

    agreed

  12. Annelid Gustator says:

    Landon Donovan needs to do the US a solid. Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, too. I sense a possibility.

  13. DB says:

    I agree . . . at first glance there are some new faces here, but to be honest the coach has very clear engrained favorites who have to play their way out of positions, rather than having to compete their way in. But htere are HUGE bright spots like Ali Krieger, Heather O’Reilly, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd . . .and some other ones who need a shot to show something

    The fact that Morgan still comes off the bench is laughable. Abby Wambach has been painful to watch for the last few months, saying she has lost a step is being generous.

    And tactically, the staff is way too dogmatic in their approach. They have the skill to play through teams, but insist on the rt 1 target approach be taken,

    Their great flaw is that there is no nuance in the tactical approach, and the coach is too willing to roll out the same old faces. Top to bottom they are the most skilled team in the world, but they win in spite of their coaching rather than being enabled by it.

  14. kimo says:

    +1

    At least Bradley gives as many players as possible a shot to impress…and he’s been willing to try different formations. Granted, I have problems w/ Bradley’s approach at times, but compared to Pia, he’s Edison from an inventive standpoint.

  15. jones says:

    I agree with your “bright spots” with the exception of Lloyd. She has a nice shot occasionally, but as a central midfielder is inconsistent and lacks the vision required to excel in that position. We don’t have another option at this point, though, since none were developed sufficiently. The most creative one is now playing for Mexico’s senior team and never got much of an opportunity with the US.

    I too am disappointed that Wambach is a definite starter and Morgan is not even offered a chance to start. The team seems to play more freely when Wambach is sidelined.

    Finally, you made some great comments about the coach, but I disagree that “top to bottom they are the most skilled team in the world.” Germany, Brazil, several Asian countries, and even Canada and England (more recently) have shown more skill. Bottom line is that they have the potential to do well, but many other countries are investing in women’s football and have caught up.

  16. DB says:

    true . . . a little bit of hyperbole on my part. You are right: there is no longer a gap btw the US and everyone else, but their roster has more athleticism and skill the entire way down than any other, even if the 11 selected by Pia doesn’t reflect it always.

    They are more talented on the right side than any other team in the world with Krieger and O’Rielly, but again you are right to point out that they SERIOUSLY lack the authority and control through the middle at times that is required to lift the cup

  17. Soccer says:

    Kai is still getting back up to speed after a weird shoulder injury the past year. Alex Morgan is the new super sub. She is the fastest on the team and has better touch, passing and shooting than Kai.

    Kai had no shot at making the team??? Kai played on the 08 Olympic team! lol

  18. Soccer says:

    magicjack is the same as the Red Bulls….named after the company that owns the team. Funny because even before WPS…magicjack commercials were all over FSC TV.

  19. Soccer says:

    Totally agree….that England game was sad and showed how weak the defense has become. We also don’t have a control enjoy central midfield, yet they are our best options

  20. Soccer says:

    Lets get this straight…..Alex has about 16 total caps and I believe she started several games at the Algarve Cup. She’s new and being phased into the starting lineup.

    The thing is that Wambach is really the only FIGHTER in the team like a Michelle Akers. I kinda agree about your comment about the team playing more freely when Wambach is out.

    I believe Tony DiCicco said it recently in an interview…the US Women aren’t sophisticated enough….meaning their technique sucks. Look at the youth ages the girls teams are starting amazing FIRST TOUCH. The Asian teams pass the ball so well.