U.S. women’s soccer team to face Germany at Toyota Park
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media October 19, 2012 11:18PM
Amy LePeilbet (6) is excited about getting a chance to play at Toyota Park. She grew up in Crystal Lake and played for Prairie Ridge. | Getty Images
Updated: November 21, 2012 6:13AM
The U.S. women’s soccer team and the German national team are in different phases of training.
The American women are coming off their gold-medal triumph at the London Olympics and just resumed training again, while the Germans have been preparing for the European Championship in 2013.
Still, the U.S. women aren’t looking for any excuses heading into their exhibition Saturday at Toyota Park against Germany, which is ranked second in the world behind the Americans.
“Our standard is and always will be winning; anything less than that will be a failure,” forward Abby Wambach said. “That being said, we have to be mindful of the fact that we are in different phases, and we’re not going to get too high or too low over these results, but they do matter. They’re games. They’re international opportunities to prepare ourselves for the next international competition, and for us, it’s qualifying for the women’s World Cup.”
It’ll be the first of back-to-back games between the teams. They’ll play again Tuesday in East Hartford, Conn.
After its doubleheader against Germany, the United States will finish with exhibitions against Ireland in Portland, Ore., and Glendale, Ariz.
For U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet, Saturday’s game will be special. LePeilbet grew up in Crystal Lake and played at Prairie Ridge High School.
“I’m so excited to be back and playing in front of my hometown,” LePeilbet said. “Chicago loves soccer, and they’ve really embraced the sport.
“It’s so enjoyable to celebrate the gold medal. I believe this team won the gold, but I can’t believe I was a part of the team. It’s been a dream come true.”
The last few months of 2012 aren’t just a celebration for the U.S. women but a period of transition.
After a 6-2 victory Sept. 19 against Australia, coach Pia Sundhage retired after five years. Jill Ellis will be making her debut as interim coach.
Once a hire is made, Ellis will continue as the development director for the U.S. women’s national teams.
“The opponent immediately gets the players to focus,” Ellis said. “It’s No. 1 and No. 2 in the world facing off.
“It certainly is an opportunity to get some work in for different players. We’re not in the peak of our cycle, so we’re going to need everybody.”