FULLERTON, Calif. (Tuesday, October 29, 2002) – The U.S. Women’s National Team took one step closer to a berth in the 2003 Women’s World Cup, dominating its second match of the 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup against a Trinidad & Tobago team intent on keeping the score down, and got goals from Cindy Parlow, Brandi Chastain and Tiffeny Milbrett to register a 3-0 win at Titan Stadium.
With the win, the USA now has six points from its two games in the tournament and is all but assured of a berth in the semifinals. The Americans will face Panama in their final Group 1 match at Safeco Field in Seattle on Saturday, November 2. A win or a tie in that match would lock a semifinal berth for the U.S. A victory in the semifinal match would earn the USA one of the region’s two automatic spots in China at the 4th Women’s World Cup, being held Sept. 24-Oct. 11, 2003.
The match marked a historic milestone for U.S. defender Joy Fawcett, who captained the team as she became just the fourth player, man or woman, in international soccer history to play 200 times for her country. She joins teammates Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy in that exclusive club.
"It means a lot for me to stay in the game so long, but I wouldn’t be out there without my teammates," said Fawcett. "I wouldn’t be out here if they didn’t make it fun, so it’s a tribute to them and how much we get along and play well together."
“I’ve always looked up to (Fawcett) and I’ve always wanted to be like her,” said 20-year-old defender Cat Reddick, who played a fine match at left back. “So it’s just an incredible experience to be playing with her, and play next to her in her 200th cap.”
The USA bombarded the T&T penalty box throughout the game, but the Trinidadians played a compact 4-5-1 formation and had plenty of bodies in front of the net the entire match.
Quick into the slide tackle, fast and athletic, the T&T players picked up a moral victory, but generated nothing on the offensive end as U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry was forced to make just one save, that an easy catch off a 40-yard floater in the second half as the USA back line completely nullified the T&T attack.
“There is a lot of parity across the world in women’s soccer and the gap is closing, but T&T employed a style that was very defensive,” said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. “It was not to win, but it was also not to lose by a certain margin. I think it was one of the best bunker systems we’ve played against. They are athletic and quick and there was a minimum of seven players behind the ball. So when you have that many bodies with that sort of closing speed, it’s quite easy to organize a game plan if you only have to play half the game, that being defense. They sat back and played very organized and disciplined, and played extremely hard. If I was their coach, I would be proud of them as well.”
The USA got its first goal in the 19th minute as the T&T defense failed to clear a U.S. cross from the right side. Parlow stole the ball from a defender, whirled toward the goal and spun her shot into the right corner from nine yards out. It was her 54th international goal, passing Carin Gabarra into sole possession of 5th place on the all-time U.S. goals list.
Balls flashed by the T&T net the entire night as the U.S. knocked the ball around at pace on the fast turf and repeatedly got free for service from the flanks, but T&T goalkeeper Lisa Jo Ramkissoon had a respectable night, making 10 saves, and several hard shots found her hands.
The United States had a scary moment in stoppage time of the first half as Mia Hamm took a hard knock on the shin from Ramkissoon as both chased a bouncing ball in penalty area. Hamm had to leave the game at halftime and suffered a bruise, but was fine after the match.
The USA out-shot T&T 30-1 for the game and had 18 corner kicks to zero, and second goal came off a beautiful execution of a corner kick. Tiffeny Milbrett, who came on for Hamm at halftime, curved a cross in from the left to Chastain, who met it on the run and powered a header into the roof of the net at the near post with a confident and skillful finish.
Milbrett was seeing her first action for the national team since July 21, 2002, against Norway and notched the third goal, also off a corner kick. The cross came from Shannon MacMillan on the right and flew to Julie Foudy, who back-heeled the ball at the goal. It bounced to Milbrett, who flicked the ball at the net, but the shot was saved and the rebound bounced back to her for the striker to roll the ball into the net for her 89th career goal. Lorrie Fair also saw her first action of the Women’s Gold Cup, playing the last 12 minutes in place of Tiffany Roberts.
The United State hit the woodwork twice in the match, both on nasty, swerving shots. Reddick hit the cross bar on long range blast in the 37th that hit off Ramkissoon’s gloves and bounced to Parlow, who fired her volley high from 10 yards out. MacMillan powered a shot off the right post in the 60th minute.
“We intended to play with two strikers, but (without a player that got sent off in the previous game), we felt that the only wise thing to do was to pack our defense and use our quickest player (at forward),” said T&T head coach Jamaal Shabazz. “Akhella Mollon, she would give Marion Jones (a run), so we felt that was our only hope to get forward was to pack it with everybody else and try to find some space behind them, and we did so on three occasions, but the experience of the U.S. defense kept her at bay the whole time.”
Mexico thrashed Panama, 5-1, in the second match of the doubleheader. All four teams will be in action on Saturday, Nov. 2, as Mexico faces T&T at Safeco Field in Seattle, kicking off at 5:00 p.m. PT. The U.S.-Panama game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and both matches will be shown live on Fox Sports World. The only way the USA could be knocked out of tournament would be to lose by a large margin to Panama combined with a Mexico win over T&T.
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Participants: United States Women's National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Competition: 2002 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup – Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament
Venue: Titan Stadium (Fullerton, Calif.)
Date: Oct. 29, 2002; Kickoff – 7:00 p.m. (PT)
Weather: Cool – 62 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
United States 1 - 2 - 3
Trinidad & Tobago 0 - 0 - 0
USA – Cindy Parlow (unassisted), 19.
USA – Brandi Chastain (Tiffeny Milbrett), 54.
USA – Tiffeny Milbrett (unassisted), 63.
USA - 1-Briana Scurry; 15-Kate Sobrero (10-Aly Wagner, 62), 6-Brandi Chastain, 14-Joy Fawcett, 4-Cat Reddick; 5-Tiffany Roberts (2-Lorrie Fair, 78), 13-Kristine Lilly, 11-Julie Foudy - C, 8-Shannon MacMillan, 12-Cindy Parlow, 9-Mia Hamm (16-Tiffeny Milbrett, 46).
Subs not used: 3-Angela Hucles, 7-Heather O'Reilly, 17-Jenny Benson, 18-LaKeysia Beene.
TRI - 1-Lisa Jo Ramkissoon, 3-Terrie-Lisa John, 8-Izler Brown-C, 4-Germaine Gordon, 13-Dawn Marie Alfred, 5-Nadia James (15-Kamara Charles, 64), 10-Tasha St. Louis, 14-Rae Ann Elder, 7-Ricarda Nelson, 9-Maylee Attin-Johnson (18-Jinelle James, 48), 19-Ahkeela Mollon.
Subs not used: 2-Keisha Prescott, 6-Aveann Douglas, 12-Alania Burgin, 16-Natalie des Vignes.
Statistical Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 30 / 1
Saves: 1 / 10
Corner Kicks: 18 / 0
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 4 / 0
TRI - Izler Brown (caution), 28.
USA - Cindy Parlow (caution), 44.
TRI - Tasha St. Louis (cation), 80.
Referee: Dianne Ferreira-James (GUY)
Asst. Referee: Paulette Riley (JAM)
Asst. Referee: Jackeline Saez (PAN)
4th Official: Clareth Jimenez (GUY)
CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup Standings
|Trinidad & Tobago||2||0||2||0||0||2/7||-5|
Panama 4, Trinidad & Tobago 2
United States 3, Mexico 0
United States 3 vs. Trinidad & Tobago 0
Mexico 5, Panama 1
Nov. 2 - Safeco Field (Seattle, Wash.)
Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago
United States vs. Panama
Nov. 6 - Safeco Field (Seattle, Wash.)
1st in Group 2 vs. 2nd in Group 1
1st in Group 1 vs. 2nd in Group 2
CHAMPIONSHIP & THIRD PLACE
Nov. 9 - The Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)