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SportsSoccer

What to know about the USWNT for the 2015 Women's World Cup

The United States women's soccer team hasn't won the World Cup since 1999. Here's what to know about this year's squad.

History class

The USA is the only team to have
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Hector Mata

The USA is the only team to have finished in third place or higher in the previous six competitions. The Americans won the first tournament in China, beating archrival Norway, 2-1, on Michelle Akers late goal. The Americans were eliminated by the eventual champion Norwegians in the 1995 semifinals. They rebounded with a milestone performance in 1999, with Brandi Chastain whipping off her jersey after converting the winning penalty kick in the shootout against China at the Rose Bowl.

An aging American team could not overcome a superb Germany side in the semifinals en route to a 3-0 defeat when the USA hosted the 2003 event after the tournament was moved from China due to the MERS outbreak. Goalkeeper Hope Solo wound up in controversy in 2007 when coach Greg Ryan decided to bench her for Briana Scurry in what turned into a disaster, a 4-0 semifinal loss to Brazil in China.

The last World Cup

At Germany in 2011, the United States reached
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Christof Stache

At Germany in 2011, the United States reached its first final since 1999, but coughed up two leads with victory in sight. The Americans enjoyed a 1-0 lead but the Japanese tied it with nine minutes left in regulation. They led again on an Abby Wambach score in the 104th minute, but Homare Sawa equalized with three minutes left for a 2-2 tie that forced a shootout. The Japanese prevailed in penalty kicks, 3-1. Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori blocked penalties by Tobin Heath and Shannon Boxx.

Key players

Hope Solo has a history of great play
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Buda Mendes

Hope Solo has a history of great play in big games. She will need to this time, especially in the knockout round.

Striker Abby Wambach (a record 182 international goals), who at 35 is considered ancient for an international striker, also has a history of coming up big in those matches.

So does midfielder Carli Lloyd, who has the distinction of being the only mens or womens player to score game-winning goals in two Olympic gold-medal matches (2008 and 2012).

Forward Alex Morgan, who hasnt played in nearly two months, has been hampered by a knee injury. She might be used sparingly in the beginning while building up her fitness.

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe needs to duplicate her marvelous performance at the London Olympics, creating and scoring goals from the wing.

Despite being nearly 40 years old, center back Christie Rampone still is one of the fastest players on the team. But it is not known how much playing time she will get as Julie Johnston has seen plenty of action.

New faces

If Alex Morgan cant play or go full
Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow

If Alex Morgan cant play or go full throttle, her role probably will fall on the shoulders of the speedy Sydney Leroux, who recently was married to Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer.

Morgan Brian, 22, is the youngest player on the squad. Though she is talented, it is unlikely Brian will get much playing time with a wealth of forwards.

New York Sports