The matches between the USA and Australia women's soccer teams have historically rarely been as graceful as a waltz, with bodies usually flying as players go hard into tackles and head balls all game long.
The U.S. women are excited to face a team that tied them in the Olympics while the Australians begin a three-game tour of the USA that will also include a game against Mexico mid-week in El Paso, Texas.
After taking Wednesday off following double-days on Monday and Tuesday, the U.S. had intense but progressively shorter trainings on Thursday and Friday as the team tapers into their eighth match of 2005. The USA will train at Titan Stadium on Saturday. The USA is 7-0-0 so far this year and has yet to allow a goal.
U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has chosen the 18 players from the 24 in training camp to suit up for the match against the Aussies. The match should mark the 298th cap for U.S. captain Kristine Lilly as she continues her run to the unimaginable 300th cap.
Two of the USA's center midfielders, Aly Wagner and Shannon Boxx, have recovered well from procedures to clean out some torn meniscus and are both fit and ready for selection. The match also could feature the second cap of midfielder Marci Miller, who, earlier in the year, became the oldest U.S. player ever to earn her first cap at the age of 29. She is currently the head coach at Northern Illinois University.
The USA's leading scorer this year is Christie Welsh (seven goals) while Danielle Fotopoulos will look to keep her string of multiple goal games going after scoring twice in each of the last two matches.
GOALKEEPERS (2): 24-Kristin Luckenbill, 18-Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (5): 23-Tina Frimpong, 14-Amy LePeilbet, 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Cat Reddick;
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Shannon Boxx, 3-Lorrie Fair, 11-Angela Hucles, 13-Kristine Lilly, 17-Marci Miller, 10-Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (5): 6-Danielle Fotopoulos, 8-Shannon MacMillan, 16-Tiffeny Milbrett, 20-Abby Wambach, 19-Christie Welsh.