U.S. WNT OPENS 21ST ALGARVE CUP WITH MARQUEE MATCHUP VS. JAPAN: The U.S. Women’s National Team will open its 19th Algarve Cup in Portugal on March 5 with a match against Japan at Belavista Municipal Stadium in Parchal (7:45 a.m. ET). The marquee opening fixture of the 12-team tournament will pit the finalists from the last two FIFA world championships and will be the first meeting between the USA and Japan since the 2012 Olympic gold medal game. This match will be played in front of far fewer fans than the 80,203 that filled Wembley Stadium in London to watch the USA’s 2-1 victory on two goals from Carli Lloyd, but it will feature women’s international soccer at the highest level between the world’s first- and third-ranked teams. The USA heads into the 21st annual Algarve Cup tournament, which has grown into one of the best competitions on the yearly calendar for women’s international soccer, with a 3-0-0 record so far in 2014.
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