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Checking in on U.S. women’s team; left today for Portugal

Abby Wambach

United States’ Abby Wambach (20 is congratulated after scoring a goal against Scotland during the second half of an international friendly soccer match on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. The U.S. won 3-1. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, Shelley Mays) NO SALES

AP

So much focus is falling on Major League Soccer at the moment, and before you know it, the men’s national team will be back in sharp focus – with the sharpest of razors sure to be out if Jurgen Klinsmann and Co. come up short on March 22 against Costa Rica.

So let’s take a second to remember the country’s top women’s players.

The U.S. women’s national team left Monday for one of their most important events of 2013. In a non- Olympic, non-Women’s World Cup year, the 2013 Algarve Cup in Portugal qualifies as an important tournament.

It’s the first non-friendly test under new manager Tom Sermanni, who has two wins in two friendlies over Scotland (low hanging fruit for Olympic Gold Medal winners).

So now comes the annual 12-team tournament named for its placement in the Algarve region of Portugal. The United States has won seven of the last 10 tournaments.

Serrmanni brings a strong team, minus first-choice goalkeeper Hope Solo, who is out with a wrist injury.

Solo tweet

Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach and their pals begin March 6 against Iceland, then face tougher tests against China (March 8) and against Sweden (March 11). The U.S. schedule is here.