(March 10, 2013)-The U.S. Women’s national team will square off against a familiar face on Monday when they take on Sweden in their third match of the 2013 Algarve Cup. Their former coach Pia Sundhage is now at the helm of the Swedish national team and will battle the U.S. for the opportunity to play in the final match on Wednesday.
So far the U.S. Women have had an easy road to the final after first defeating Iceland 3-0 and then China 5-0 on Friday. Coach Tom Sermanni shuffled his roster in the rainy game against China proving just how deep the pool of talent on the U.S. side is.
Five different players contributed to the lopsided victory with Sydney Leroux putting the team ahead with a goal early in the first half. It was the second career start for Leroux who is accustomed to coming off the bench but played the whole game in place of veteran forward Abby Wambach who was given the day off.
Defender Ali Krieger added her first career goal midway through the first half while midfielder Megan Rapinoe opened the second half with her first goal of the tournament. Christen Press added her fourth goal in as many games for the national team and defender Whitney Engen also knocked in her first career goal at the tail end of the game.
Sermanni appeared pleased with the result as he spoke with U.S. Soccer after the game.
“I am particularly happy with today’s game. We did all the stuff we looked at on video in how we wanted to play and how we want to get in and pressure China. Today’s 90 minutes was a very, very good 90 minutes of football.”
Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart earned the shutout after stepping in for Jill Loyden who played the full match against Iceland. Loyden however broke her left hand during training on Thursday and is expected to miss at least three months. This news comes the same week that Hope Solo had surgery on her left wrist and is projected to be out for three to four months.
The U.S. Women currently sit atop Group B having earned the full six points with Sweden right below them with four points. The winner tomorrow will advance to the final against either Germany or Norway who are tied in Group A and also play each other tomorrow.
The match against Sweden is at 11am ET on Monday, for viewing information you can visit www.integratedsportsnet.com which is offering the game live via pay-per-view. FOX Soccer will also be showing a replay of the match on Tuesday at 10am.