"All three of my goals came from team play," said Parlow. "People made great runs, we had great buildup and tremendous passes into me. Some were harder to miss than to make."
U.S. head coach April Heinrichs chose to rest six regular starters, giving the nod to Aly Wagner, Nikki Serlenga, Danielle Slaton, Christie Pearce, Sara Whalen and Christie Welsh, who scored the first two goals of the game to increase her career total to nine in just 12 matches. Heinrichs went with the same 11 for the entire match.
The understandably over-matched New Zealand side was on the defense the entire game as the Americans fired 36 shots at the Kiwi net. At the start of the game, the entire New Zealand starting lineup totaled just 171 caps and 31 career goals. Hamm has 194 appearances and 118 goals by herself.
Hamm, who captained the team, looked extremely sharp as she sliced through the New Zealand defense to fire nine shots, but like Friday night against Canada, could not find the net. Still, she set up the first goal with a cross from the left side. Parlow jumped for the ball, but it flew over her and the defender's head, bouncing to the unmarked Welsh, who popped her shot into the upper right corner of the net from close range.
"Sometimes the game is very generous and sometimes the game is very stingy," added Parlow. "It's being generous to me right now and not so generous to Mia, but obviously that can change at any moment and I can be the one hitting the post or the goalkeeper. I just want to step on the field and control what I can control. If the goals come, great, if not, I know someone else will score."
New Zealand rarely crossed the midfield stripe during the game, and forced U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix to handle the ball just three times. Often playing with 11 women behind the ball, New Zealand left little space for the U.S. attack, but quick passing and liberal use of the width enabled the Americans to consistently find a way through, or around, the Kiwi bunker.
The U.S. hit the woodwork several times during the match as Hamm struck the outside of the right post on a breakaway in 20th minute and Shannon MacMillan rattled the cross bar from 30 yards in the 41st. Brandi Chastain also just missed a spectacular strike when her quickly taken free-kick from 35 yards out in the 26th minute flew just inches over the upper right corner of the goal.
In the 29th minute, Welsh played a one-two with Parlow at the top of the penalty box, then powered her way through New Zealand defender Maia Jackman and shoved her shot through the legs of the charging goalkeeper Yvonne Vale to make it 2-0.
Parlow started her true hat trick in the 33rd minute, when Aly Wagner played a ball to her at the top of the penalty box on the right side. Parlow lost the ball momentarily, but a New Zealand player played the ball back to her and she smacked a dipping 18-yard shot cross-'keeper into the lower left corner.
The thundering Welsh was denied her hat trick just two minutes into the second half as her point-blank shot was cleared off the goal line by Zania Cogle. Parlow got her second of the match in the 52nd minute on a swift sequence in which MacMillan danced her way through the New Zealand defense and then played Slaton wide left. Slaton's cross on the ground found Parlow cutting to the near post, but her first shot was well-saved by Vale. The ball bounced back to Parlow and she stroked the rebound into the left side of the net from six yards out.
"We've been working really hard on possessing the ball, playing quickly and making chances appear rather than forcing them," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "I was very pleased to score nine goals against Canada and five tonight. What was most impressive after the Canada game was that all nine goals were assisted, which was indicative of unselfish and thoughtful play. We saw that against New Zealand as well."
Hamm picked up her 101st career assist in the 56th minute when she ran down a ball in the left corner, drew Jackman to her, and then cleanly nutmegged the over-committed defender. Hamm dribbled straight down the end line almost to the goal post before playing a short pass in the slot for Parlow to jam into the roof of the net from four yards out. Parlow upper her career international total to 36 goals and is the leading scorer in the Pacific Cup after three matches.
"This is a testing ground for us," added Heinrichs. "If we can score goals and have confidence, as coaches, we can create an environment where they are happy, creative, enjoying themselves and playing with a lot of passion. Then we feel we can run at any team in the world."
China, which also rested numerous starters, overcame a scrappy Japanese team to win 2-0 and hold its lead in the tournament standings. Australia did not show the same magic as they had in taking China to penalty kicks last Friday, falling to Canada, 2-0. The Americans must now hope for a Canadian victory over China on Thursday, combined with U.S. wins over Japan and Australia, in order to win the Pacific Cup.
"We're still pursuing the tournament championship," said Heinrichs. "We know we will need some help from another team to beat China, but if China loses, we want to be in the best place to move from second to first."
The U.S. team will travel to Newcastle tomorrow, but not before an afternoon of shopping in Sydney, and then return to training on Tuesday to prepare to face Japan on Thursday, June 8, at Breakers Stadium (6:00 p.m. local/4:00 a.m. ET).
2000 U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Women's National Team vs. New Zealand National Team|
|Competition:||2000 Pacific Cup|
|Venue:||Campbelltown Sports Stadium (Sydney, Australia)|
|Date:||June 4, 2000 - Kickoff 2:30 p.m. local/12:30 a.m. ET|
|Weather:||55 degrees - Clear, Cool|
USA - Christy Welsh, (Mia Hamm), 11,
USA - Christy Welsh, (Cindy Parlow), 29,
USA - Cindy Parlow (Unassisted), 33,
USA - Cindy Parlow (Unassisted), 52,
USA - Cindy Parlow, (Mia Hamm), 56.
USA - 26-Siri Mullinix, 6-Brandi Chastain, 19-Danielle Slaton, 3-Christie Pearce, 7-Sara Whalen, 5-Nikki Serlenga, 25-Aly Wagner, 8-Shannon MacMillan, 22-Christie Welsh, 12-Cindy Parlow, 9-Mia Hamm (Capt.).
NZL - 1-Yvonne Vaile, 2-Jane Simpson (4-Terry McCahill, 53rd), 3-Jill Corner, 5-Melissa Ruscoe (6-Alisse Robertson, 63rd), 8-Nicky Smith, 9-Wendi Henderson - Capt. (15-Tarah Cox, 80th), 10-Simone Ferrara, 11-Amanda Crawford, 13-Rachel Oliver (7-Maia Jackman, 16th), 14-Vicki Ormond (12-Zania Cogle, 45th), 17-Marlies Oostdam.
|Melissa Ruscoe (caution)||10.|
|2000 Pacific Cup Standings|
|Pacific Cup Leading Goal Scorers|
|Amanda Crawford||New Zealand||2|
Canada 2, New Zealand 1
China 1, USA 0
Australia 1, Japan 0
Japan 2, New Zealand 1 (OT)
USA 9, Canada 1
China 2, Australia 1 (PKs 5-4)
China 2, Japan 0
USA 5, New Zealand 0
Canada 2, Australia 0
Australia vs. New Zealand
China vs. Canada
USA vs. Japan
Canada vs. Japan
China vs. New Zealand
USA vs. Australia