SANDY — With the 2012 London Olympics scheduled to start in just a few weeks, the United States women’s national soccer team faces its final domestic tune-up today at Rio Tinto Stadium.
With temperatures predicted to soar into the 90s early, a marked departure from the American side’s previous trip to the Beehive State, the U.S. will look to keep its four-match winning streak going when it takes on Canada in a nationally-televised friendly. Kickoff is set for noon.
More than 15,000 tickets for the match had already been claimed by 11 a.m. on Friday, a number expected to swell with walk-up sales this morning.
“It’s inspiring,” said U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo of the atmosphere. “The women’s game is coming into its own; we’re riding the wave of the World Cup. We have had big support in every venue we’ve played in, and I expect no less here in Sandy.”
The United States is 42-3-5 against its northern neighbors, including a blistering 4-0 result on Jan. 29 in the finale of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in in Vancouver, B.C.
“It should be a great game against a physical team,” Solo said. “The fans should enjoy it.”
The American’s offense has been nearly unstoppable over the past few months, with the U.S. outscoring its opposition 14-3 during its four-match winning streak.
Forwards Alex Morgan (5) and Abby Wambach (4) have combined to score nine goals in the Americans last three outings, which including a 4-1 win over defending World Cup champion Japan on June 18 in Halmstad, Sweden.
The expected high temperatures of today’s match will be in stark contrast to the U.S. last visit to Sandy on March 31, 2010, when the Americans took on Mexico during a frigid snowstorm.
“It was just cold; I’d never played in snow before,” said U.S. defender Rachel Buehler. “It was a different experience. I’m excited that we’re back in good weather, and will get to play in front of a supportive crowd.”
The U.S. team opened its Friday training session to the public as part of the United State Olympic Committee’s Olympic Day celebration, and hundreds of fans streamed into Rio Tinto to get autographs and cheer for their favorite players.