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U.S. Women Draw Canada, 1-1, to Open 2003 Algarve Cup


OLHAO, Portugal (Friday, March 14, 2003) - The U.S. Women's National Team  played a hard working 90 minutes in its opening match of the 2003 Algarve Cup  against an organized and physical Canadian defense before earning a 1-1 draw on an 85th minute goal from second half substitute Aly Wagner.

Canada took the early lead, scoring off a corner kick in just the 7th minute, and spent the rest of the match defending, content to launch long-ball after long-ball in an attempt to grab another off the counter attack.  The U.S. back line of Joy Fawcett, Brandi Chastain, Christie Pearce and Kate Sobrero, who was replaced by Cat Reddick with 24 minutes left, held tough, repelling the Canadian aerial assault while clamping down on the physical Canadian striking duo of Christine Latham and Charmaine Hooper.

"We always feel that if there is time on the clock, we have a chance to win, regardless the score," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs.  "I was pleased to see the team stick with it and we got better during the course of the game.  We created enough chances to win, and while I'm not pleased that we didn't win, a point will help us with advancement."

Canada's goal was a scrappy one, coming off a Kristina Kiss service from the left side.  She curled her cross to the near post, where it was flicked into a mad scramble in front of the goal.  Midfielder Randee Hermus bundled the ball across the goal line before the U.S. cleared, but the assistant referee raised her flag signaling a goal.

The Americans spent the rest of the game searching for an equalizer and got  it five minutes from time.  The goal also originated off a corner kick as Mia Hamm's dangerous cross from the right bounced around in the penalty area  before a sliding Canadian cleared the ball.  It went straight to Wagner, who was standing just to the left of the penalty arc.  She took a great settling touch and drilled a 22-yard shot into the upper left corner past flying Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc.

"It was exciting to get back on the board and know that we could win the  game," said Wagner, who scored her ninth international goal.  "I felt like  the momentum was changing and were going to put another one in."

The Canadians, playing a lineup with five WUSA players and three veterans of  their under-19 team that lost to the USA in the final of world championship last fall, exerted some pressure in the early going, but the goal constituted their only real dangerous chance of the first half, and it came off their only corner kick of the match.  The U.S. also struggled to create shots before the break, with the best chance coming in the 15th minute when a sprinting Hamm dispossessed LeBlanc in the penalty area as she was trying to clear a bouncing ball.  Hamm dribbled around LeBlanc and played a short pass  to Tiffeny Milbrett in the left side of the penalty box.  Milbrett's shot was deflected by Lindsay Tarpley and was heading into the net before it was  cleared off the line by a defender.  It was the first of numerous times the U.S. had LeBlanc out of position, only to find too many Canadian defenders blocking the net.

"That was a 90-minute heading exercise and that's better than any drill we  could do in practice to help ourselves get better," said Heinrichs.  "I think after that game, we are better in the air, we're tougher, we're more  organized, and each of our players knows what the highest level of heading presence is.  That will be good for us in the next game because Norway plays very similarly and I think we will get better during the course of the tournament."

Seconds into the second half, Hamm again beat LeBlanc to a ball, but her  touch took away her angle and she had to pivot in a circle before chipping her shot over the bar from 18 yards.

Cindy Parlow came on at halftime as the USA went to a three-forward  alignment, and the 5-foot-11 striker made a big difference in the U.S.  attack, battling for air balls, keeping possession with her back to the goal and trying to slip passes behind the Canadian blockade.

It was Parlow that sprung Hamm for a great chance in the 54th minute, putting her free behind the defense in the right side of the penalty area.  Hamm struck her shot well from just outside the right elbow of the goal box, but LeBlanc flew to knock the ball away.  The Canadian goalkeeper would deny Hamm again later in the match, this time making a clean hold on the spinning shot after Hamm had skinned Hermus inside the penalty area.


"I should have put that away," said Hamm of the first chance.  "I'm out there and that's my job to try to help my team with the opportunities that I have, but you have to give credit to Karina, that was a big save.  She was playing aggressive off her line and she came up big, but I have to do better with that."

Canada's incessant long balls produced a few semi-dangerous chances for  Latham, and in the waning moments of the first half, she almost got free to  shoot in the right side of the penalty area, but Sobrero ran her down and  Briana Scurry made an easy save.  Latham had another chance in the 59th  minute after she won a ball in the USA's back third, but rolled her shot wide right from a poor angle.  It was Canada's only shot of the second half.

"They are athletic, combative, and what you can't do with Canada is get into a battle of 50/50 balls," said Hamm.  "Their mentality is to run through everything and that can overwhelm you sometimes.  There's definitely a physical commitment to their team, it's one of their strengths, but you have to play through it and just get the ball on the ground.  When we were able to do that, that's when we were able to knock the ball around."

Eighteen-year-old Heather O'Reilly came on in the 73rd minute and helped  spark the USA, taking on players down the flanks and serving several  dangerous crosses.  She almost got the equalizer in the 79th minute after  Hamm ran down a pass on the right end line and chipped a cross to the far  post, but the high school senior put her header into the side netting.   O'Reilly made her full international debut in the Algarve Cup last year.

Heinrichs used both goalkeepers in the match, giving Siri Mullinix the second 45 minutes, and while she was not forced to make a save, helped the USA with her feet as she collected numerous balls to start attacks.  Former U.S. Under-19 National Team captain Lindsay Tarpley got her second career start for the USA, playing 60 minutes, before giving way to Wagner.  The draw keeps both teams very much alive in the chase for a spot in the championship game, especially after the Group A match between Sweden and Norway also ended in a 1-1 draw, leaving all four teams tied.  Dagny Mellgren scored a first half  header for Norway, but Hanna Llungberg equalized on a header of her own in the second half. 

In the Group B matches, France dominated Denmark, 3-0, as WUSA MVP Marinette Pinchon scored twice, while China was shockingly held to a 0-0 draw by Finland.  In Group C, Wales tied Portugal, 1-1, and Ireland drew with Greece, 0-0.   The USA faces Norway in its next Group A match on Sunday, March 16, in Ferreiras, Portugal.  Kickoff is at 4:15 p.m. local / 11:15 p.m. ET.  Fans can follow the game online at www.ussoccer.com's MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.

 

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT

Participants: United States vs. Canada
Competition: 2003 Algarve Cup
Venue: Jose Arcanjo Stadium - Olhão, Portugal
Date: March 14, 2002 - Kickoff 2:00 p.m. Local (9:00 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 350                                    
Weather: Sunny, warm, light breeze - 78 degrees 

Scoring Summary:        1st 2nd Final
            USA         0   1       1
            CAN         1   0       1     
   
CAN - Randee Hermus (Unassisted)    7th minute
USA - Aly Wagner (Unassisted)           85.

Lineups:
USA -
1-Briana Scurry (18-Siri Mullinix, 46); 3-Christie Pearce, 14-Joy Fawcett, 6-Brandi Chastain, 15-Kate Sobrero (4-Cat Reddick, 66); 11-Julie Foudy - C, 20-Lindsay Tarpley (10-Aly Wagner, 60), 13-Kristine Lilly, 17-Angela Hucles (12-Cindy Parlow, 46), 16-Tiffeny Milbrett (7-Heather O'Reilly, 73), 9-Mia Hamm.
Subs Not Used: 2-Lorrie Fair, 5-Tiffany Roberts,  8-Shannon MacMillan, 19-Danielle Slaton.

CAN - 1-Karina LeBlanc; 11-Randee Hermus, 3-Breanna Boyd, 6-Sharolta Nonen, 16-Brittany Timko; 5-Andrea Neil, 8-Kristina Kiss (9-Candace Chapman, 84), 15-Kara Lang, 12-Christine Sinclair; 10-Charmaine Hooper - C, 2-Christine Latham (14-Carmelina Moscato, 91+).
Subs Not Used: 4-Sasha Andrews, 7-Isabelle Morneau, 13-Diana Matheson, 17-Silvana Burtini, 18-Erin McLeod.     
    

Statistical Summary: USA / CAN         
Shots: 13 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3    
Saves: 3 /5            
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1        
Fouls: 11 / 16  
Offside: 0 / 8 

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Antonia Kokotou (GRE)
Asst. Referee: Margariti Chrysoula (GRE)
Asst. Referee: Sofia Gryllaki (GRE)
4th Official: Hilda McDermott (IRL)

10th Algarve Cup International Women's Tournament

Algarve Cup Group Standings
Group A
Team        GP      W   L   T   GF  GA  GD  PTS
USA         1       0   0   1   1   1       0       1
Norway      1       0   0   1   1   1       0       1
Sweden      1       0   0   1   1   1       0       1  
Canada      1       0   0   1   1   1       0       1

Friday, March 14       
USA 1, Canada 1        
Sweden 1, Norway 1      

Sunday, March 16       
Sweden v. Canada       
Norway v. USA          

Tuesday, March 18
Norway v. Canada
USA v. Sweden

Group B
Team        GP  W   L   T   GF  GA  GD  PTS
France      1       1   0   0   3   0       +3      3
China       1       0   0   1   0   0       0       1
Finland     1       0   0   1   0   0       0       1
Denmark     1       0   1   0   0   3       -3      0

Friday, March 14
France 3, Denmark 0
China 0, Finland 0

Sunday, March 16       
Denmark v. Finland
China v. France

Tuesday, March 18

France v. Finland
China v. Denmark

Group C
Team            GP  W   L   T   GF  GA  GD  PTS
Wales       1       0   0   1   1   1       0       1
Portugal        1       0   0   1   1   1       0       1
Ireland     1       0   0   1   0   0       0       1
Greece      1       0   0   1   0   0       0       1

Friday, March 14
Portugal 1, Wales 1
Ireland 0, Greece 0

Sunday, March 16
Portugal v. Greece
Ireland v. Wales

Tuesday, March 18
Greece v. Wales
Portugal v. Ireland



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