The USA opens play against defending world champion Germany Friday (kickoff: 3 am ET) at the Four Nations Tournament in Guangzhou, China.
Both teams will be without key players. U.S. coach
is without his strike force of Abby Wambach
and Kristine Lilly
. Germany coach Silvia Neid
didn't bring regulars Birgit Prinz
, Sandra Minnert
, Renate Lingor
and Steffi Jones
The most experienced U.S. players are Kate Markgraf
(153 caps) and Briana Scurry
(158 caps). Defender Cat Whitehill
is at 99 caps and will likely join the century club Friday. She would become the 19th U.S. player to earn 100 caps.
The game will be played at the
80,000-seat Guangdong Olympic Stadium in Guangzhou, where it's been raining since the USA arrived. Guangzhou was the site of the 1991 Women's World Cup final but won't be a venue at the
2007 Women's World Cup. The 16-team tournament will be held Sept. 10-30 in five cities: Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Wuhan in the eastern part of China and Chengdu in central China.
China faces England in the first game of the doubleheader. China will be coached by former U-20 coach Wang Haiming
in the absence of head coach Ma Liangxing
, who is ill. England will be
led by former WUSA star Kelly Smith
, one of eight players from the Arsenal Ladies in Coach Hope Powell
Action will continue with doubleheaders Sunday
(USA-England, China-Germany) and Tuesday (China-USA, Germany-England).