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Sundhage rings in the new for Algarve Cup
February 21st, 2008 6:45AM
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[ALGARVE CUP] Following a 17-day training camp at The Home Depot Center, U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage named her 20-player roster for the 2008 Algarve Cup March 5-12 in Portugal.

Sundhage selected four players who have never traveled to the prestigious Portuguese tournament -- uncapped Rachel Buehler and fellow '07 collegiate stars Tobin Heath, Lauren Cheney and Angie Woznuk.

Missing from the 20-player roster are veteran goalie Brianna Scurry, Aly Wagner (who recently underwent sports hernia surgery) and Heather Mitts (who suffered a torn ACL last year will travel to Portugal to train with the team).

The USA will open play on March 5 against China, face Norway on March 7 and finish Group B play against Italy on March 10. The USA will play its first two matches in Faro at the Estadio Algarve, the 30,000-seat venue built for the 2004 European Championship. The U.S. women will face Italy in Portimao.

The USA will use this tournament as final preparation for 2008 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying, which will be held April 2-13 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Europe's three entrants in the 2008 Olympic Women's Football Tournament will be competing at the 2008 Algarve Cup: Norway, Germany and Sweden.

"The Algarve Cup is a very important tournament for several reasons," said Sundhage. "First, it is excellent preparation for the Olympic qualification, especially playing four difficult matches in eight days. That is a test of our fitness, our mental toughness and also our depth. But also, like we faced in the Four Nations Tournament in China, it gives the team a chance to play against three very good teams in the group who all play different styles, and that is fantastic for the development of our team rhythm, as well as for our young players getting experience at a big tournament."

U.S. Women's Algarve Cup Roster
(Algarve Cup tournaments in parentheses)
Nicole Barnhart (2), Hope Solo (5).
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (1), Stephanie Cox (4), Tobin Heath (1), Kate Markgraf (7) Christie Rampone (8), Cat Whitehill (8).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (5), Lori Chalupny (5), Angela Hucles (4), Carli Lloyd (3), Leslie Osborne (4), Lindsay Tarpley (6), Angie Woznuk (1).
FORWARDS (5): Lauren Cheney (1), Natasha Kai (3), Heather O'Reilly (6), Amy Rodriguez (3), Abby Wambach (5).

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