Beijing Blogs - June 30, 2008

July 30, 2008

Dragons in China!

Today we had a closed door match against the Chinese Women's National Team. Closed door typically means the match is off-limits to anyone outside of the immediate team personnel; however, the 100 or so field staff, security workers, and event personnel got an up-close look at both teams in action. The field was about 20 minutes from our hotel, and when we got off the bus there were quite literally hundreds of dragonflies swooping around the field. These weren't lightweight dragonflies, these suckers were BIG! Fortunately there were no incidents to report of anyone swallowing a dragonfly ... but I will freely admit the coaches were quieter than normal!

In their group play, China faces Sweden, Argentina, and Canada. It was a good opportunity for both teams to get in a competitive scrimmage before their opening games. It gives the players a chance to get used to playing 90 minutes in the heat and humidity and the coaches one final evaluation of team tactics. We played 3 x 30mins and had made the decision earlier in the day to get all of our field players into the match. After the first period, the players were able to slip on cooling vests that are designed to lower core temperature in the extreme heat. We have just brought these vests aboard, and they definitely seemed to be a hit with the players. Rising junior Lauren Cheney played the last 30 minutes and teamed up front with Natasha Kai. Having lost veteran forward and leading goal scorer Abby Wambach to a broken leg two weeks ago, the task is on for our younger players to step up and find the back of the net. Although the game ended up 0-0, we came away with a lot of positives and will take tomorrow off as we prepare for our final week of training.

- Jillian Ellis

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