July 31, 2012
By Michael Lewis
Rampone: We need more ball possession
MANCHESTER -- Two wins in as many games in the Olympics might be good enough for most teams. But then again, the United States women's side isn't like most teams.
The American women have high standards and they expect to meet them, no matter what the game.
Already having qualified for the quarterfinals, the U.S. (2-0-0, six points) needs only a tie against North Korea on Tuesday to clinch the Group G title.
Beyond the win, however, the U.S. is looking for overall improvement in its game.
"This is another big game for us and we want to win in a way that makes USA feel comfortable," captain and defender Christie Rampone said. "We need more ball possession. We are scoring lots of goals, but we need to improve because we are heading to the quarters.
"We are really motivated because we want to finish top of the group. We had a disruptive game in our first two matches and we need to certify our performance more. We need to win this match."
It will be the first women's soccer match at Old Trafford, home to Manchester United, since 1989. That's when Friends of Fulham played Leso (now Everton) in the English women's F.A. Cup final, in front of 914 spectators.
Tuesday's game will have a slightly larger crowd. More then 30,000 tickets have been sold for the match, Olympic officials said.
The American women had a walk-through on Monday afternoon. They stood on the field in awe of the massive, historic stadium, taking photos of themselves and teammates.
"It's a huge bonus for us to play at Old Trafford," midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. "It's awesome. I think they have cleared a room for us because we haven't got the main changing room. We took hundreds of photos, panoramics, jumping photos, everyone was excited to get the camera out here."