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World Cup Games In Canada Feel Almost Like Home To U.S. Women's Team

Wikimedia Commons
File photo of BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Soccer fans from the American Northwest are expected to fill sold-out BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada, Tuesday evening as the U.S. Women's National Team takes on Nigeria.

A victory would position Team USA well for the upcoming elimination rounds of the FIFA Women's World Cup.

U.S. defender Ali Krieger says the players feel like they’re almost home.

"Playing basically in our backyard I think has been helpful because you look up from the field and you just see red, white and blue,” she said. “That gives me extra motivation to want to be successful out there and want to win. Not only for each other and for the U.S., but for our fans and supporters and family who have made the trip to come out."

Krieger hopes a deep run in the World Cup tournament boosts the women's game in North America. Attendance for women's pro soccer league games has been sparse this season, with the notable exception of Portland Thorns home matches.

At the World Cup, the U.S. women's team won its first Group D match against Australia 3-1 and then last Friday tied with Sweden 0-0. The game against Nigeria in Vancouver will be the final match in group round play. If Team USA wins, their next match would be in Edmonton.

Vancouver is one of six Canadian host cities for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The final will be played at BC Place on July 5. The Vancouver stadium has a spectator capacity of about 54,500.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.