U.S. women are off to Brazil -- opener next Wednesday

The U.S. women's national team was off to Brazil Wednesday night to prepare for its quest for a fourth straight Olympic gold-medal in women's soccer. It opens play against New Zealand in Belo Horizonte next Wednesday, two days before the Opening Ceremonies.

U.S. group-stage schedule:
Aug. 3: New Zealand, in Belo Horizonte, 6 p.m. ET, NBCSN & Soccer Specialty Channel
Aug. 6: France, in Belo Horizonte, 4 p.m. ET NBCSN & Soccer Specialty Channel
Aug. 9: Colombia, in Manaus, 6 p.m. ET, NBCSN & Soccer Specialty Channel

The U.S. group consisted of 22 players -- 18 picked for the Olympics and four alternates. The squad includes Megan Rapinoe, who has not played a game in nine months because of a knee injury that required surgery. She returned to full training only to suffer a calf injury and she could miss the opener in Belo Horizonte.

Rapinoe is one of only five starters who return from the 2012 Olympic team along with Hope Solo, Kelley O'Hara, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd, whose two goals gave the USA a 2-1 win over Japan in the gold-medal game. Becky Sauerbrunn, a sub against Japan and now a co-captain four years later, is also headed to Brazil.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), 1-Hope Solo (Seattle Reign)
DEFENDERS (6): 6-Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 8-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), 4- Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 14-Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), 3-Allie Long (Portland Thorns), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign)
FORWARDS (4): 16-Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), 12-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars); 2-Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado
Alternates: Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City).

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