The defending champion U.S. women's national team opens play at the 15th annual Algarve Cup in southern Portugal Wednesday when it faces China in
Group B play.
The USA didn't win its first Algarve Cup until 2000 but has since won the tournament four more times -- an unprecedented three in a row in 2003-05 and again in 2007
when Carli Lloyd
had a breakout tournament, scoring in all four matches to garner tournament MVP and top scorer honors. The Americans fell to Germany on penalty
kicks in the 2006 final.
The Americans have won more titles than any other country. Norway is next with four championships, followed by China and Sweden with two and Germany with one.
The USA opens against China in Albufeira before moving to Alvor, where it plays Italy Friday and Norway on Monday. The tournament concludes with placement games on March 12.
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. U.S. Women's Algarve Cup
Roster (Algarve Cup tournaments in parentheses) GOALKEEPERS (2):
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).