Shannon MacMillan's two first-half rockets and a clinical finish from Tiffeny Milbrett in stoppage time of the first half posted the Americans to a 3-0 halftime lead.
While Canada battled hard in the second half, and managed to pull a goal back through a Charmaine Hooper penalty kick, Mia Hamm's 121st international goal in 65th minute put the game beyond doubt.
U.S. head coach April Heinrichs made three changes in the starting lineup from the 0-0 draw with Brazil at Foxboro Stadium last Tuesday, giving Danielle Slaton the nod at left fullback, while inserting Nikki Serlenga in the midfield and MacMillan up top in the 4-3-3 formation. The changes paid offensive dividends as Serlenga and MacMillan, both San Diego natives who attended the same high school, combined for the first two goals.
In the 12th minute, Serlenga got loose on the right flank and ate up about 30 yards of space before hitting a world class weak-side pass to MacMillan all the way over on the left flank. MacMillan collected the ball on the run and cut hard to the net, leaving two defenders in her wake and before sticking her a bending shot into the right side of the net. The shot was hit with such pace that Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc did not even move.
MacMillan sat out the Brazil match in Boston due to a slight injury suffered against Costa Rica, but looked to be fully fit as she blasted a hole in the Canadian defense in the 38th minute. MacMillan took a short pass from Serlenga in the midfield and dribbled up the middle before absolutely crushing her shot past LeBlanc from 25 yards. Once again LeBlanc was stapled to the turf as the ball whizzed by her and plastered the net.
"Both of Shannon's goals were beautiful," said Heinrichs. "Shannon's goal in life, other than winning soccer games, is to rip the skin off the ball every time she kicks it. She ripped the stitching, the logo and coloring off the ball on both those goals."
The U.S. threatened to add to their lead several times in the first half. In the 25 minute, Hamm's slashing dribble on left flank shook her free from two defenders and she cut the ball back on the ground. Kristine Lilly dummied the ball as it rolled to Milbrett, but she slapped her shot into the hands of LeBlanc. In the 31st minute, Julie Foudy struck an ambitious blast from 40 yards out on the half volley, but it proved to be more dangerous than it looked as LeBlanc scarmble to knock it down. In the 35th minute, MacMillan popped a short cross to the unmarked Lilly, but her header found the gloves of LeBlanc.
"What I try to do every game is strike the ball hard," said MacMillan. "Especially, on the second goal, when I saw the (Canada) defense open up, I took advantage and put everything I had on the shot."
In the 43rd minute, Milbrett danced her way loose in the right side of penalty box and spun her left-footed shot to the far post, just kissing it off the woodwork. She would not be denied three minutes later, when Foudy played a thread pass to her in the middle of the field. Milbrett faked to the inside as she collected the ball, freezing the Canadian defense, then let the ball roll across her body and was in alone. At full speed, she ripped her left-footed blast high into the goal at the near post from 13 yards out for her 75th international score.
Canada pulled a goal back in the 58th minute when Hooper won a ball deep on the left, then spun past Kate Sobrero and dribble down the end line. Sobrero clipped her from behind and referee Martha Toro Pardo pointed to the spot. Hooper slotted her shot into the left corner to give Canada brief life. It was just the second goal the Americans have ever allowed in 16 matches of CONCACAF tournament competition.
Hamm dimmed those hopes in the 65th minute when she took another thread pass from Foudy at the top of the penalty box. She whirled with the ball, sidestepped Breanna Boyd and blasted the ball off the diving LeBlanc's hands and into the upper left corner.
U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix continued her assault on the #1 goalkeeper spot with several spectacular saves. In the 79th minute, Slaton held Hooper onside, but with Brandi Chastain riding the Canadian forward's hip, Mullinix came hard out of her goal to dive at the feet of Hooper and smother the chance. In the final seconds of the match, Mullinix flew to the upper left corner to tip away Hooper's driven free-kick from 35 yards. Hooper's penalty kick broke a 512-minute scoreless streak for Mullinix, who last gave up a goal on May 31, also on a penalty kick, that one against China in the Pacific Cup.
The win sets up a rematch with Brazil, which pulled off one of its greatest victories in the other semifinal, defeating China, 3-2, in sudden death overtime on a penalty kick from Cidinha. The back and forth match was tied at both 1-1 and 2-2, as each team held a lead in the game before Formiga was fouled from behind in the penalty box in the 107th minute.
"Brazil is world class and they have risen to one of the elite teams in the world, no doubt," said U.S. captain Julie Foudy. "Anytime you walk away from a game like (Tuesday's 0-0 tie), that is mentally and physically exhausting, you want another chance. A 0-0 tie for us is really a loss and we are looking forward to meeting them again. We both are talented attacking teams and that always makes for an entertaining match."
The U.S. team will not training tomorrow, Sunday, July 2, but will travel to Boston in the morning and be available to the media after its arrival at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. at 12:15 p.m. The USA faces Brazil in their own version of "Monday Night Futbol" for the first CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup title at 9 p.m. on July 3 at Foxboro Stadium (Live on ESPN2).
2000 U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Women's National Team vs. Canada National Team|
|Competition:||CONCACAF Gold Cup 2000 (Semifinal)|
|Venue:||Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (Louisville, Ky.)|
|Date:||July 1, 2000 - Kickoff 8 p.m. ET|
|Weather:||82 degrees - Warm, clear, beautiful|
USA - Shannon MacMillan, (Nikki Serlenga), 12,
USA - Shannon MacMillan (Unassisted), 38,
USA - Tiffeny Milbrett, (Julie Foudy), 46+,
CAN - Charmaine Hooper (Penalty Kick), 58,
USA - Mia Hamm, (Julie Foudy), 65.
USA - 26-Siri Mullinix, 19-Danielle Slaton, 20-Kate Sobrero, 6-Brandi Chastain, 14-Joy Fawcett, 11-Julie Foudy (Capt.) (2-Lorrie Fair, 72nd), 5-Nikki Serlenga, 13-Kristine Lilly, 16-Tiffeny Milbrett (7-Sara Whalen, 62nd), 8-Shannon MacMillan, 9-Mia Hamm (23-Susan Bush, 74th).
CAN - 22-Karina LeBlanc, 6-Cindy Walsh, 7-Isabelle Morneau, 18-Marie-Claude Dion (5-Andrea Neil, 66th), 3-Breanna Boyd, 9-Clare Rustad, 13-Amy Walsh, 10-Charmaine Hooper, 12-Christine Sinclair, 16-Kristina Kiss, 17-Silvana Burtini (15-Christine Latham, 46th).
|2000 Gold Cup Standings|
|*USA||3||2||0||1||19||0||7 (+19 GD)|
|*Brazil||3||2||0||1||19||0||7 (+19 GD)|
|Costa Rica||3||0||2||1||2||18||1 (-16 GD)|
|Trinidad & Tobago||3||0||2||1||2||24||1 (-22 GD)|
|*U.S. and Brazil advance to semifinals.|
U.S. wins group on a coin flip.
June 23 - Hershey, Pa.
Brazil 8, Costa Rica 0
USA 11, Trinidad & Tobago 0
June 25 - Louisville, Ky.
Brazil 11, Trinidad & Tobago 0
USA 8 vs. Costa Rica 0
June 27 - Foxboro, Mass.
Costa Rica 2, Trinidad & Tobago 2
USA 0, Brazil 0
|2000 Gold Cup Standings|
|China||2||2||0||0||17||2||6 (+15 GD)|
|Mexico||2||1||1||0||10||4||3 (+6 GD)|
|Canada||2||1||1||0||6||6||3 (0 GD)|
|Guatemala||2||0||2||0||0||21||0 (-21 GD)|
June 24 - Foxboro, Mass.
China 14, Guatemala 0
Mexico 4, Mexico 3
June 26 - Hershey, Pa.
Mexico 7, Guatemala 0
China 3, Canada 2
June 28 - Louisville, Ky.
Canada 12, Guatemala 0
China 3, Mexico 0
July 1 - Louisville, Ky. (Gold Cup Semifinals)
China 2, Brazil 3 (OT)
USA 4, Canada 1
July 3 - Boston, Mass. (Gold Cup Final)
China vs. Canada (Third Place Match) -- 6:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Brazil (Gold Cup Championship Game) -- 9:00 p.m. ET
|Gold Cup Leading Goal Scorers|
|Jacqueline Alvarez||Costa Rica||1|
|Xiomara Briceno||Costa Rica||1|
|Delia De Silva||Trinidad & Tobago||1|
|Natalia des Vignes||Trinidad & Tobago||1|