Forward Mia Hamm tallied twice in a five-minute span of the second half to send the fans into a patriotic frenzy. Her goals followed a second-half tally from Joy Fawcett and a game-opening strike by team captain Julie Foudy, and helped end the USA's brief two-game winless streak.
"This was a feel good game," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "It's important to go the Olympics with confidence. We have to know that we can create chances and score and we did just that. The game can sometimes be stubborn but there are other times like tonight that it's generous."
Foudy, who played her college soccer just up the road at Stanford University, scored the opening U.S. goal after just 13 minutes on a spectacular header. The USA had been probing for a goal in the early going and got one when Shannon MacMillan's cross from tight on the right sideline flew all the way to the far post, where Foudy out-jumped two defenders to bounce her header into the right side of the net past diving Brazilian goalkeeper Andreia.
The match was played at a wicked pace on the slick turf and the Americans almost went ahead just three minutes into the game as Kristine Lilly took advantage of a Brazilian hesitation on a bouncing ball in the back to pop it over the onrushing Andreia, but couldn't collect it on the side before Brazil was able to clear the ball way.
Brazil created its first chance of the game in the 24th minute when a long dribble from Roseli got her around the U.S. defense on the right side. She tried to find the streaking Sissi with a short pass into the middle, but U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix anticipated the cross and came out to gobble it off the turf.
In the 33rd minute, Tania made an overlapping attack from her left back position, cutting the ball back brilliantly in the penalty area between Christie Pearce and Shannon MacMillan, but her ensuing shot from five yards sailed high from a stiff angle.
With the USA's stifling defense continuing to dispossess Brazil well in the midfield, Lilly broke free in the 43rd minute on the left flank and dribbled all the way into the penalty area where she passed up a wide open Tiffeny Milbrett in the middle of the area for an angled shot that was deflected out for a corner kick. Just seconds before halftime, Hamm hit a blistering shot from 30 yards that struck the crossbar.
After dominating the first half, the USA got its second goal of the match in the 59th minute off a corner kick from the left side. Brazil cleared the ball, but it fell right to midfielder Lorrie Fair standing just inside the penalty box. Her well-driven shot was re-directed into the net by Joy Fawcett, who was standing two yards from the goal. The ball skidded through two Brazilian defenders and past the goalkeeper who was frozen on the goal line.
Just two minutes earlier, Tiffeny Milbrett had run onto a poor clearance and smacked a half-volley from 20 yards that was headed into the roof of the net, but Andreia stuck a hand up at the last moment and pushed the rocket off the crossbar.
The game was a breakthrough of sorts for the USA which played extremely well against Brazil in two matches at the Women's Gold Cup, but could only manage one goal in two games, the 0-0 opening round tie and the 1-0 championship game victory. Tonight, the USA out-shot Brazil 19-4 and put eight shots on goal.
The American women showed an urgency to attack throughout the match and got around the Brazilian defense on the flanks on a consistent basis, serving numerous dangerous balls into the middle.
Hamm's first goal came in the 66th minute when Lilly chipped a pass over the Brazilian defense into the right side of the penalty box. Substitute Cindy Parlow ran the ball down and used all of her 5-foot-11 frame to stretch, slide and knock a high cross back into the middle, where the cutting Hamm jumped to nod the ball into the left corner of the net with her head.
The final goal came when Foudy slid a perfectly weighted pass through to Hamm that beat the Brazilian offside trap. Hamm raced in one-on-one with Andreia, then cut past the charging goalkeeper to her right. Andreia caught a piece of Hamm's leg, causing a momentary stumble, but the world's all-time leading scorer regained her balance enough to slice the ball into the net from a steep angle for her 125th career goal.
"We cannot control everything but what we can control is our effort," said Hamm, who was named the Chevrolet Woman of the Match. "Tonight, Foudy and Fair played great. The midfield did not back down from any fifty/fifty ball. The defense played with a lot of patience; they didn't get beat on any one-v-ones tonight. The Brazilians are magic and fast on the ball, but our defense shut them down. The defense was solid all night."
U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix set a U.S. record with her 13th shutout of the year, breaking the mark that Briana Scurry set in 1998. Mullinix was forced to make just one save, as the U.S. defense did a wonderful job of keeping the crafty Brazilians in front of them, but she came off her line well to corral several through balls.
The U.S. women now take a well-deserved weekend break before boarding a plane on Monday and arriving in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday, Sept. 6. The team's first-round practice schedule in Australia will be announced in the coming week, in advance of the team's first match on Sept. 14 against Norway from the Melbourne Cricket Ground (tape delay on MSNBC at 6:30 p.m. ET).
2000 U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Women's National Team vs. Brazil National Team|
|Competition:||NIKE Road to Glory Tour - International Friendly|
|Venue:||Spartan Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)|
|Date:||September 1, 2000 - 5:30 p.m. PT|
|Attendance:||26,853 (Sell Out)|
|Weather:||52 degrees - Rainy, Wet, Cold|
USA - Julie Foudy, (Shannon MacMillan), 13,
USA - Joy Fawcett, (Lorrie Fair), 59,
USA - Mia Hamm, (Cindy Parlow), 66,
USA - Mia Hamm, (Julie Foudy), 70.
USA - 18-Siri Mullinix, 3-Christie Pearce (Carla Overbeck, 78th), 14-Joy Fawcett, 15-Kate Sobrero, 6-Brandi Chastain (17-Danielle Slaton, 69th), 13-Kristine Lilly, 11-Julie Foudy, 2-Lorrie Fair, 8-Shannon MacMillan (5-Nikki Serlenga, 76th), 16-Tiffeny Milbrett (12-Cindy Parlow, 59th), 9-Mia Hamm.
BRA - 1-Andreia (12-Maravilha, 80th), 2-Nene (15-Simone Gomes, 67th), 3-Juliana, 4-Monica, 6-Tania (16-Rosana, 67th), 7-Formiga (17-Suzana, 82nd), 8-Cidinha (5-Daniela Alves, 80th), 9-Katia (14-Raquel, 67th), 18-Pretinha, 10-Sissi, 11-Roseli (13-Maicon, 67th).
|Cindy Parlow (caution)||86.|