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Greg Ryan, in or out?
by Paul Kennedy, October 22nd, 2007 7AM

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U.S. Soccer has called a media conference call for Monday at 4 p.m. ET at which time President Sunil Gulati and Secretary General Dan Flynn will address the status of U.S. women's national team coach Greg Ryan.

Ryan's absence from the conference call raises speculation that his contract will be not be renewed for 2008. The conference call comes two days after the USA tied Mexico, 1-1, in its final game of 2007.

The USA finished the year with a 19-1-4 record, its lone defeat being the 4-0 pounding Brazil inflicted on it in the semifinals of the Women's World Cup. The loss to Brazil is the only loss the USA has suffered in 55 games under Ryan, who took over as national team coach in 2005.

Ryan's record is 45-1-9 (with one tie being broken by a shootout the USA lost to Germany in 2006), but he was heavily criticized for his decision to switch goalies for the Brazil game, replacing Hope Solo with veteran Brianna Scurry, who had not started a game in more than three months and look shaky on the first two goals Brazil scored.

Ryan's decision became a cause célèbre when Solo blasted Ryan for his decision to bench her and she said she would have stopped the shots that led to Brazil's first two goals.

If Ryan is not retained, the name most often mentioned as a possible replacement is Swede Pia Sundhage, who coached WUSA's Boston Breakers in 2003 and was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Charge in 2001 and 2002. The popular Sundhage worked as an assistant coach under Marika Domanski Lyfors, who coached host China at the 2007 Women's World Cup.

Sundhage told the Swedish daily Gotesborgs-Posten last Wednesday that there was interest from the U.S. national team but no concrete offer.

Other names being mentioned as possible replacements for Ryan include UCLA coach Jillian Ellis, who is the U.S. under-20 women's national team coach and spent the final week of the Women's World Cup scouting in China, Washington Freedom coach Jim Gabarra and former U.S. women's national team coach Tony DiCicco, who was recently announced as the coach of the Boston team in the new women's league expected to launch in 2009.

A long shot would be Jerry Smith, who recently signed a long-term contract extension at Santa Clara. Smith's wife is Brandi Chastain, who was dropped by Ryan at the beginning of his tenure.


GAME SUMMARY:
Oct. 20 in Albuquerque, N.M.
USA 1 Mexico 1. Goals: O'Reilly 62; Ocampo 56.
USA -- Scurry, Hucles, Whitehill, Osborne, Chalupny, Lilly, Lloyd, Wagner (Boxx, 32), O'Reilly, Tarpley, Wambach (Kai, 46).
Mexico -- S.Perez, Sandoval, Gonzalez, de Jesus Castillo, Valdez (P,Perez, 70), Gordillo, Saucedo, Vergara, Lopez (Morales, 90), Padilla, Ocampo.
Referee: Jennifer Bennett (USA)
Att.: 8,972.



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