SAN JOSE, Calif. (Sunday, September 7, 2003) - The U.S. Women's National Team put forth a sharp performance in posting a 5-0 victory over Mexico in the team's final preparation match before the start of the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003, which begins in the United States in just 13 days. Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx scored for the U.S. from the run of play in the first half, while Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm and Aly Wagner each converted penalty kicks in the second half as the U.S. out-shot Mexico 35-4 in front of 13,510 fans at Spartan Stadium.
The onslaught began for the U.S. in the 10th minute, with Shannon Boxx easily tapping home a corner kick from Julie Foudy that skipped through dense traffic in front of the Mexico goalmouth. It was Boxx's second goal in just her second game with the national team, making her the third player in the team's history to accomplish that feat (alongside Michelle Akers and Natalie Neaton).
"I was definitely surprised that the ball made it through," said Boxx. "No one touched it. I just had to make sure I got a good part of my foot on it to get it into the goal."
The second goal came in the 25th minute as Foudy played a slick thread pass to Wambach in the right corner of the penalty area. With her back to the goal, the 5'11" striker quickly spun and bent a perfect left-footed shot from 19 yards out that soared over Mexican goalkeeper Jennifer Molina and stuck in the left side netting of the goal. Wambach now has nine goals in her 14 games for the national team.
"I saw the back of the net and it was just one of those shot-crosses," said Wambach, who was voted the Chevrolet Woman of the Match. "If it goes in, you call it a shot, if it goes to the far post, you call it a cross."
The USA peppered the Mexican goal with 14 shots in the first half, but Molina made a handful of quality saves. In the 20th minute, Hamm sent a long free kick from the left sideline into the penalty area to Boxx at the far post. On a dead run, Boxx first-timed a pass back out of the air and back into the middle. Molina got a touch on the ball, pushing it behind Wambach. The ball hit Wambach's heel and flew over the goal.
Wambach also had a close call earlier in the match when a Cindy Parlow header flew past her and bounced off the far post and back into the field.
Kristine Lilly had two chances in the latter part of the first half, but Molina made a great save off a point blank shot in the 30th, then Lilly shot hard over the top in the 33rd after a great feed by Hamm freed her in the left side of the penalty area.
The USA opened the second half with another chance from Lilly in the 48th after Hamm had put her free in the penalty area again, but she slammed her shot into the netting outside the right post.
Lilly earned the USA a third goal when she was clipped down in the penalty area by Rubi Sandoval in the 55th minute. San Jose local Brandi Chastain delighted the hometown crowd as she easily buried the penalty kick for her 30th career goal.
The USA got its fourth goal on a penalty kick as well after Susie Mora tackled the ball away from Abby Wambach, but then fell on the ball and slapped it with her arm. Hamm stepped up and nailed her kick for her 142nd international goal.
"I think we are really close to where we want to be," said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. "We had a little trouble getting width in the first half, but once we did, we got a lot of quality services from the flanks. I really believe our flank play is the best in the world in terms of getting around opponents and creating chances."
The U.S. played the final seven minutes with 10 players after a red card ejection to Kylie Bivens for a hard tackle on Iris Mora, but the goals didn't stop. The ejection was followed seconds later by the USA's third penalty kick attempt, this one converted by another San Jose local Aly Wagner, after Wambach was bumped off the ball chasing down a pass in the area.
The U.S. team will now have four days off before regrouping in Charlottesville, Va., on Friday, Sept. 12 to begin their final preparation for the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003. After training in Virginia for five days, the U.S. will relocate to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 18.
The U.S. opens their quest for a third Women's World Cup title on Sunday, Sept. 21 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., at 12:30 p.m. ET live on ABC. From there, the U.S. travels to Philadelphia to face Nigeria on Sept. 25 at Lincoln Financial Field (live on ESPN2 at 7:25 p.m. ET), before finishing Group A play on Sept. 28 versus North Korea at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET).
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Mexico
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Spartan Stadium - San Jose, Calif.
Date: September 7, 2003; Kickoff - 10 a.m. PT
Weather: 76 degrees; clear, sunny
1 2 F
USA 2 3 5
MEX 0 0 0
USA - Shannon Boxx (Julie Foudy) 10th minute.
USA - Abby Wambach (Julie Foudy) 25.
USA - Brandi Chastain (Penalty Kick) 55.
USA - Mia Hamm (Penalty Kick) 63.
USA - Aly Wagner (Penalty Kick) 85.
USA: 1-Briana Scurry (18-Siri Mullinix, 70); 15-Kate Sobrero (4-Cat Reddick, 46), 14-Joy Fawcett, 6-Brandi Chastain, 3-Christie Pearce (2-Kylie Bivens, 46); 7-Shannon Boxx (19-Angela Hucles, 61), 11-Julie Foudy -Capt. (5-Tiffany Roberts, 61), 13-Kristine Lilly (10-Aly Wagner, 61); 20-Abby Wambach, 12-Cindy Parlow (16-Tiffeny Milbrett, 61), 9-Mia Hamm.
Subs not used: 8-Shannon MacMillan, 17-Danielle Slaton.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs
MEX: 1-Jennifer Molina; 2-Elizabeth Gomez, 3-Rubi Sandoval, 5-Maria Castillo, 14-Susie Mora; 7-Monica Gonzalez, 8-Fatima Leyva, 9-Teresa Worbis (17-Nadia Hernandez, 46), 11-Patricia Perez; 10-Iris Mora, 13-Mayra Rosales.
Subs not used: 6-Monica Vergara, 12-Pamela Tajonar, 15-Devinder Vega, 16-Luz Saucedo, 18-Andrea Moreno.
Head Coach: Leonardo Cuellar
Corner Kicks: 10/0
MEX - Rubi Sandoval (caution) 19th minute.
MEX - Nadia Hernandez (caution) 77.
USA - Kylie Bivens (ejection) 83.
Referee: Keri Seitz (USA)
Referee Asst.: Sharon Wheeler (USA)
Referee Asst.: Roger Itaya (USA)
4th Official: Riabel Trujillo (USA)
Chevrolet Woman of the Match: Abby Wambach