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Posted Oct 9, 2012, 9:55 am
Arizona coach Lisa Oyen used a bit of understatement when describing the Wildcats' Thursday-night opponents, the Stanford Cardinal women's soccer team.
"They have a reputation for being a good program," she said.
They sure do: Stanford were national champions last year and are currently ranked No. 2 in the country. They have yet to lose in conference play. Another indicator of their quality is that their line-up includes several players in the U.S. national team pool.
One of those U.S. nats is Mariah Noguiera, who played games with the U.S. under-23 team. Oyen says that she is "fast and pacey." Noguiera has scored six goals for the team so far.
Nogueira is not the only weapon at the team's disposal. U.S. under-20 player Courtney Verloo has notched four goals since moving from the defense.
Another player to watch for is team captain Alina Garciamendez. She's got international experience too, but for the Mexican national team. She made three appearances for El Tri in the 2011 Women's World Cup.
Garciamendez scored her fourth goal of the season against Colorado on Sunday. By the way, that's four goals scored despite being a center back.
Still, Oyen doesn't doubt the ability of her team to play well against the Cardinal. The team did, after all, play to a 2-1 score in a surprisingly close match against No. 2 UCLA.
"We're expecting a team similar to UCLA in terms of quality," she said. "But we hope to be better prepared."
Yes, Stanford may look like world beaters, but the Wildcats can look to their last game to see their Achilles Heel (a better metaphor against USC, I know). Colorado scored a first half to give them the first lead any team has had against the Cardinal. It took two goals scored in the 79th minute (yes, they were both scored in the same minute) for Stanford to secure the victory.
The Wildcats face Stanford at Mulcahy Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday. The game will be broadcast nationally on the PAC-12 Network.
Gordon in, but no Wondo, Jozy
Former Yavapai College Roughrider Alan Gordon is on the U.S. roster for the next round of World Cup qualifiers.
Gilbert-raised Gordon has had a remarkable season for the league leading San Jose Earthquakes. The performance of Gordon and Seattle's Eddie Johnson caught the notice of national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
"We decided to bring in Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon and give them a chance to show how much they have improved," Kinsmann said in comments to the press on Monday. "They’re both doing very well in MLS right now."
There is a bit of controversy about the pick. If the journeyman Gordon attracts attention from Klinsmann, why not his teammate, Chris Wondolowski? Wondolowski's 25 goals this season far outpaces any player in the league. He is beating his league-leading record from last season, and is three goals away from beating MLS's all time scoring record set by the Tampa Bay Mutiny's Roy Lassiter in 1996.
But the omission that has caused more of an uproar is Jozy Altidore. Altidore has scored eight goals in six games for his Dutch club, AZ Alkmaar. Soccer writer Kyle McCarthy calls leaving off the former Red Bulls striker "confounding."
"In fact, Klinsmann’s stated reasons are contradictory," McCarthy said in an article for Fox Soccer. "If club form is important, why are Altidore and Wondolowski excluded? If club form isn't that important, how can Gordon and Johnson be named to the team on their MLS performances?"
Klinsmann's mind was made up more on Altidore's work for country rather than club.
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"I communicated to Jozy I was not happy about his latest performances with us, maybe even over the last 14 months," he said in yesterday's press conference.
Some fans agree with Klinsmann. Local fan Kristopher Bunch took to supporter club American Outlaws' Facebook page to voice his approval.
"I love it. Jozy has been lack luster for a while in a US shirt. Maybe this will wake him up."
The final two games of the current qualifying round are two games against Antigua and Barbuda. The first will be in Antigua on the 12th, followed by a match in Kansas City on the 16th.
2013 Desert Diamond Cup field to be announced
Thursday morning, FC Tucson will announce the teams for the 2013 edition of the Desert Diamond Cup.
Two teams that will not be playing in this year's tournament are DC United and Sporting Kansas City, both of which will be playing in Florida's preseason tournament, the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. Neither team made an appearance in last year's Desert Diamond Cup, but spent time in Arizona for preseason training. DC United in Phoenix and Casa Grande, and Kansas City in Tucson.
FC Tucson also promises "major announcements" on a broadcast partner and partnership with Pima County.