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Boxx goal gives U.S. 1-0 win over China to take Four Nations Tournament crown.

Tarpley strikes twice again in 4-1 victory over Finland in Four Nations Tournament.

Sundhage calls in 27 to camp as Four Nations Cup prep begins.

Sundhage is hired to lead Americans to Olympic gold medal.

Best U.S. effort came a game late, beating Norway for World Cup third place.

Solo dropped from team before World Cup third-place match with Norway.

U.S. Women's World Cup fortunes declined quickly in rout by Brazil.

Brazil rolls to 4-0 victory over Americans in World Cup semifinal.

Scurry to replace Solo in goal for World Cup semifinal with Brazil.

Without best effort, U.S. still dumps England 3-0 in World Cup quarterfinals.

Despite taking group title, U.S. must improve to achieve World Cup goals.

Despite being dominated, U.S. rallies to draw North Korea 2-2 in Women's World Cup.

Despite being dominated, U.S. rallies to draw North Korea 2-2 in Women's World Cup.

Wambach hurts toe in 4-0 romp over Finland in final Cup tune-up.

Wambach hurts toe in 4-0 romp over Finland in final Cup tune-up.

Wambach nets pair, UNC quartet adds four in 6-2 rout of Canada.

Schedule for World Cup prep matches is set.

Ryan, Lilly to visit China for Women's World Cup draw.

Lilly scores two more in U.S.'s 5-0 rout of Mexico.

Wambach's two goals, Lloyd strike beat Sweden 3-2, earn Algarve final.

U.S. women

Sundhage names 20 for defense of Algarve Cup crown.

(Wednesday, February 20, 2008) -- Coach Pia Sundhage has chosen the 20 players who will represent the United States women as they attempt to defend their title in the Algarve Cup, an annual international event that will be competed March 5-12 in southern Portugal.

The U.S. will use this tournament as final preparation for CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament which will be held April 2-13 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The U.S. will play in Group B at the Algarve Cup, opening March 5 against China, facing Norway two days later and closing the first round March 10 against Italy. The Americans must win Group B to compete against the Group A winner for the tournament title March 12 in Vila Real de San Antonio on Portugal's eastern border with Spain.

The Algarve Cup expanded from eight to 12 teams seven years ago, but the four nations in Group C are not eligible to reach the championship game.

The U.S. has captured the championship five times in 12 previous trips to the Algarve Cup, including four times in the last five years. The Americans won an unprecedented three straight crowns in 2003-2005 before falling to Germany in tiebreaking penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw through 120 minutes in the 2006 final. Last year, Kristine Lilly and Carli Lloyd scored as the U.S. downed Denmark 2-0 in the title match.

"The Algarve Cup is a very important tournament for several reasons," Sundhage said in a U.S. Soccer Federation press release. "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."

Fifteen players from the Algarve roster were on the American 2007 Women's World Cup bronze-medal squad and each one of them has competed in multiple Algarve Cups, including defenders Christie Rampone and Catherine Whitehill, who will be playing for the eighth time.

The U.S. will be without striker Kristine Lilly, who is pregnant, as is defender Tina Ellertson. Forward Abby Wambach has scored nine goals in her Algarve career, including three against Norway in the 2004 championship match. Midfielder Angela Hucles has scored three of her five career goals at the Algarve, all in 2004. Midfielder Shannon Boxx was named Algarve "Most Valuable Player" in 2004 and 2006.

Lloyd had a breakout tournament last year, scoring one goal in all four matches to be the event's high scorer and selected tournament MVP.

Sundhage has also added young talent, including defender Rachel Buehler, who hopes to make her first international appearance on the senior level after playing extensively with the U.S. under-21 women and in the 2002 and 2004 under-19 world championships.

Young forwards Amy Rodriguez, who made her debut at the Algarve Cup in 2005, and Lauren Cheney were named to the roster along with midfielder Angie Woznuk and outside defender Tobin Heath, the youngest player on the squad at 19. Cheney, Woznuk and Heath, who were part of the U.S. championship effort at January's Four Nations Tournament in China, will be making their first trips to Portugal.

Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, who has four international appearances, will return to the Algarve Cup after playing in a 1-0 victory over France in the 2005 event. She will probably back up Hope Solo.

Defender Heather Mitts, who has not played for the U.S. since May 2007 when she suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, was not named to the Algarve Cup roster, but will go to Portugal to train with the team as part of her rehabilitation. She participated in the 17-day training camp that preceded announcement of the Algarve roster.

Group A consists of Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Portugal, Poland, Ireland and Iceland make up Group C. Norway from Group B, along with Germany and Sweden have already qualified for the Summer Olympics in China.

The winner of Group C will face the fourth-place team with the best record from Group A and B to decide seventh place. The second-place team in Group C will play the other fourth-place team for ninth place. The third and fourth teams from Group C will compete for 11th place.


U.S. schedule in Group B of Algarve Cup in Portugal (all times Eastern):

Wednesday, March 5
United States vs. China at Stadium Algarve, 8:45 a.m.

Friday, March 7
United States vs. Italy at Stadium Algarve, 8:45 a.m.

Monday, March 10
United States vs. Norway at Municipal Stadium in Portimão, 10 a.m.


U.S. Algarve Cup roster:

Goalkeepers (2): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.).

Defenders (6): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Catherine Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.).

Midfielders (7): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.).

Forwards (5): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawai'i), Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.)

Algarve Cup appearances (including 2008): Christie Rampone 8, Catherine Whitehill 8. Kate Markgraf 7, Heather O'Reilly 6, Lindsay Tarpley 6, Shannon Boxx 5, Lori Chalupny 5, Hope Solo 5, Abby Wambach 5, Stephanie Cox 4, Angela Hucles 4, Leslie Osborne 4, Natasha Kai 3, Carli Lloyd 3, Amy Rodriguez 3, Nicole Barnhart 2, Rachel Buehler 1, Lauren Cheney 1, Tobin Heath 1, Angie Woznuk 1.

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