DALLAS (Nov. 2, 2003) - The U.S. Women's National Team finished 2003 with a dominating performance in a 3-1 win over Mexico in front of a record Texas women's soccer crowd of 23,176 today at the Cotton Bowl. A trio of U.S. forwards provided the scoring on the day, with Cindy Parlow scoring first in the 18th minute and Mia Hamm providing a pair of picture-perfect corner kicks assists for headers by Abby Wambach in the 58th and 90th minutes. Hamm was named the Chevrolet Woman of the Match as the USA out-shot Mexico, 30-4.
With the win, the U.S. concludes the year with a 17-2-4 record and will now have two months off before beginning preparations in January for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
"I think all-in-all we did a lot of really good things out here today," said Hamm, a Texas native. "You could see the fatigue a little bit as it was the end of our season. Our final pass wasn't on and our finishing suffered a little bit, but it's been a long road this year with the WUSA and getting ready for the World Cup and everyone is looking forward to a little time off. But we'll build from here and we have to qualify for the Olympics so that's our focus come next year."
The USA opened the scoring in the 18th minute after Aly Wagner played Parlow near the top of the penalty area. The 5-foot-11 forward slipped by one Mexican defender, dribbled around another and slotted her shot into the left corner from 14 yards out. It was Parlow's 65th international goal in her first action since suffering a concussion against Canada in the 2003 Women's World Cup Third Place Match.
Mexico tied the game in the 41st minute on a penalty kick earned when U.S. defender Kylie Bivens cut down Patricia Perez at the top of the penalty area after a long ball skidded over the U.S. defense. Mexican captain Monica Gonzales converted the PK, powering her shot into the upper right corner to tie the game.
In between the two goals, the USA spent most of the time in the Mexican half, firing 13 shots. The USA got around the Mexico defense on the flanks repeatedly in the first half as players dribbled down the end line towards the near post, but the U.S. service suffered as their passes could not find a runner in the box and Mexico managed to scramble and clear the balls out of danger.
In the 11th minute a corner kick to the far post was headed back into the middle by Bivens, but Shannon Boxx fired her point blank shot right at well-positioned Mexican goalkeeper Jennifer Molina, who had yet another great game against the USA, making 10 saves.
In the 16th minute, a nifty dribble by Wagner sprung her free in the left side of the penalty box, but instead of trying to find the head of a wide-open Parlow at the far post, she tried to chip Molina and the ball flew over the cross bar.
Just a minute later, Parlow released Hamm with a great weak side pass into the left side of the penalty area and the U.S. striker took a dynamic hard first touch toward goal. Hamm then cut back into the middle on defender and hit a driven shot that was kicked-saved by Molina.
In the 27th minute, Bivens won a ball at midfield with a great slide tackle, then stormed up the field, playing a crisp give-and-go with Parlow to get free on the right wing. Bivens cut a cross back to Hamm, but she scuffed her shot. The ball was poorly cleared to Parlow at the top of the penalty area, but her looping volley was parried away well by the flying Molina.
In the 38th minute, Kristine Lilly torched former Boston Breaker teammate Gonzales on the left side and played a driven ball to Tiffany Roberts at the far post, but her bullet header caromed off the outside of the right post.
Wambach gave some foreshadowing of her two second half goals just three minutes after the break as Hamm beat two players in left side of box then crossed on ground to Wambach, who shot with outside of her right foot, only to see it saved by Molina.
The winning goal came in the 58th minute off a corner kick by Hamm. Her curving cross found Wambach in the middle and she jumped over a defender to power in a header from seven yards out.
Mexico's had two good chances in the game, the first coming in the 52nd minute after the U.S. failed to clear a corner kick and Mayra Rosales fired a shot from a sharp angle that U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry had to push away for a corner kick. In the 76th minute, Patricia Perez got behind the U.S. defense in the left side of the penalty area, but shot high as Scurry came out to challenge.
Wambach almost scored another header in the 71st minute, but Molina pulled off a spectacular reaction save to bat the ball out of the goal.
The USA went to a 3-4-3 formation after Julie Foudy and Shannon MacMillan came on in the 72nd minute and added one more goal in the final minute as Wambach battled through traffic to head home another Hamm corner kick at the far post. The goal upped Wambach's international total to 14 in 22 matches.
U.S. forward Tiffeny Milbrett, who played the entire second half, had several chances to score her 100th international goal, but barely missed on two occasions. The first came in the 69th minute after Wambach beat a defender on the right flank and broke into the box before playing a square ball to Milbrett at the penalty spot, but she cut her shot wide left. Milbrett had another point blank shot cleared off the goal line in the final seconds.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Mexico
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Cotton Bowl; Dallas, Texas
Date: Nov. 2, 2003; Kickoff - 3 p.m. CT
Weather: Warm, overcast; 81 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
MEX 1 0 1
USA - Cindy Parlow (Aly Wagner) 18th minute.
MEX - Monica Gonzales (Penalty Kick) 41.
USA - Abby Wambach (Mia Hamm) 58.
USA - Abby Wambach (Mia Hamm) 90.
USA: 1-Briana Scurry; 2-Kylie Bivens (Heather Mitts, 57), 14-Joy Fawcett -Capt., 17-Danielle Slaton, 3-Christie Pearce (Shannon MacMillan, 72); 7-Shannon Boxx, 5-Tiffany Roberts (Julie Foudy, 72), 13-Kristine Lilly (16-Tiffeny Milbrett, 46), 10-Aly Wagner; 12-Cindy Parlow (20-Abby Wambach 46), 9-Mia Hamm.
Subs not used: 6-Brandi Chastain, 18-Siri Mullinix, 19-Angela Hucles.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs
MEX: 1-Jennifer Molina; 2-Maria Valdez (7-Evelin Lopez, 35), 4-Monica Gonzales - Capt., 5-Maria Castillo, 8-Elizabeth Gomez; 6-Monica Vergara, 3-Jenny Ruiz, 11-Patricia Perez, 13-Mayra Rosales (15-Sulim Quinares, 90); 17-Kristy Contreras (9-Maribel Dominguez, 46), 10-Teresa Worbis (16-Andrea Moreno, 89).
Subs not used: 12-Pamela Tajonar, 14-Luz Saucedo.
Head Coach: Leonardo Cuellar
Corner Kicks: 10/2
MEX - Mayra Rosales (caution) 80th minute.
Referee: Jennifer Bennett (USA)
Referee Asst.: Karalee Sutton (USA)
Referee Asst.: Troy Travis (USA)
4th Official: Adam Garner (USA)
Chevrolet Woman of the Match: Mia Hamm