Following three victories in the team's first three matches of the year, U.S. Women's National Team head coach Tom Sermanni has named a 24-player roster that will travel to the 2014 Algarve Cup in Portugal.
This year's tournament will run from March 5-12, and the U.S. team will depart for Europe on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The majority of the games will be played at small venues across the Algarve region on the southern coast of the country, with several matches (including the championship game) at the 30,000-seat Algarve Stadium. The placement matches will take place on March 12.
Fans will be able to follow the U.S. matches on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and highlights will be available on ussoccer.com. For the entire tournament schedule, please go to the Algarve Cup tournament page on ussoccer.com. The world's top-ranked U.S. team, which has been placed in Group B for the annual tournament, will open play on March 5 against third-ranked Japan (7:45 a.m. ET) in Parchal.
The USA will face sixth-ranked Sweden on March 7 in Albufeira (8:30 a.m. ET), and will finish group play on March 10 against 13th-ranked Denmark in Albufeira (10:40 a.m. ET). Before the competition starts, Sermanni will name 23 players to the tournament roster.
"The group we're in at the Algarve Cup will probably be the most significant test since I've come aboard and a different kind of challenge as we will be playing teams that have the belief and aim to come out to attack us and beat us," said Sermanni. "The dynamics of these games will be different than some of the more recent matches, and that's something that we want, that we need and that the players are looking forward to."
Group A features Germany, Norway, China PR and Iceland. Group C features host Portugal, Austria and first-time participants Russia and Korea DPR. Since the expansion to 12 teams 13 years ago, the Algarve Cup format has been as follows: The winners of Groups A and B will compete for the Algarve Cup championship on Wednesday, March 12. The two second-place finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place while the third-place finishers in each group will play for fifth.
The Group C teams will compete for a chance to play for spots 7-12 as the winner of Group C will play the best fourth-place team from Groups A or B for seventh place. The second-place team in Group C will play the worst fourth-place team from Groups A or B for ninth place, and the third- and fourth-place finishers in Group C will play each other for 11th place.