KANSAS CITY, Mo. (October 16, 2004) - The U.S. Women's National Team earned a deserved 1-0 shutout in front of 20,435 fans at Arrowhead Stadium as Angela Hucles scored in the first half to lift her team over Mexico in the fifth match of the 10-game "Fan Celebration Tour."
It was the largest crowd to watch the U.S. women in 2004, besting the previous high of 18,806 that saw the USA defeat New Zealand, 6-0, last weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"I'm thankful and appreciative of the opportunity to represent my country and to represent all these people that came out to watch us play," said U.S. forward Mia Hamm, who played the first half. "These are special moments and we appreciate everything. It's not the warmest of nights and it's just a special thing to see all these young girls out here and hopefully they see themselves on this field one day."
The win moved the USA to 5-0-0 during the 10-game tour and 25-1-3 on the year. The USA is now within two wins of breaking the record for most victories in a calendar year for the U.S. women (26, set in 2000), with five matches remaining on the "Fan Celebration Tour."
On a chilly night in front of an appreciative crowd, the U.S. came up against a young, but pesky Mexican side that battled well against the Olympic champions on both ends of the field, only to produce one truly dangerous chance during the match. That came in the 33rd minute after a long ball sailed over the U.S. back line and onto the foot of Teresa Worbis, but she wasted her one-on-one chance by blasting her volley high over the crossbar from 18 yards out.
The USA, which created nine corner kicks in the first 30 minutes, and 13 for the match, finally broke through in the 36th minute off a great build-up instigated by a dynamic penetrating dribble from Hamm. The world's all-time leading scorer then sent a nice pass down the left flank to Aly Wagner, who bent a pin-point early ball on the ground into the penalty area to the streaking Hucles, who ripped her shot off of Mexico goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar's hands and into the lower right corner for her fifth career goal.
"The majority of the credit goes to these young ladies, to (Mexico head coach) Leo Cueller and the staff who have been pursuing the importance of soccer in their country," said U.S. defender Brandi Chastain when asked what impact of the success of the U.S. Women's National Team has had on Mexico's improvement. "I'd like to think that we've something do it with because we have made soccer a little bit more popular on the global scale for women, but I think they are the only ones responsible for the amount growth and development they've had in the last fours year, and it's been impressive. They played a great game tonight and all those players are very composed under pressure and have a good touch on the ball. You kind of hope they don't get too much better."
Hucles rolled her ankle in the 81st minute and had to leave the match. As the USA has already used all of its available substitutes, back-up goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was sent into the game to play forward. It was an extremely unique first cap for the 23-year-old Barnhart, a Stanford University senior who was called in only to replace the USA's starting goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who had to miss this match due to a previous commitment. Barnhart, the starting goalkeeper for the USA's Under-21 National Team, had several quality touches on the front line for the USA. She played a Pac-10 match for Stanford yesterday and will return to the Bay Area tomorrow morning to suit up for the Cardinal as they play Arizona State tomorrow afternoon.
Kristin Luckenbill made three saves in goal for the USA to earn her second career shutout.
The "Fan Celebration Tour" stops next in Chicago as the USA plays the first of two matches against Ireland on Wed., October 20 at Soldier Field (7:30 p.m. CT). The USA then travels to Reliant Stadium in Houton, Texas, on Saturday, October 23 (7 p.m. CT) for the second leg.
The "Fan Celebration Tour" will finish with two matches on the East Coast against Denmark on Nov. 3 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (7:30 p.m. ET) and on Nov. 6 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. (4 p.m. ET), before ending with yet-to-be confirmed match in early December.
For each ticket purchased during the 10-game U.S. Women's National Team "Fan Celebration Tour" of cities throughout the country, NikeGO will donate $1 of Nike soccer product to support the increase of girls soccer participation in each city. Nike has already targeted partners in the nine announced locations, which consist largely of local Parks and Recreation programs to benefit from the program. NikeGO is a grassroots community outreach program designed to achieve NIKE's overarching corporate goal of promoting youth health and fitness through sport. Nike has also purchased 50 tickets for each game for youth involved with the recipient organization. The U.S. women have drawn more than 77,000 fans through five games of the tour.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Mexico
Competition: International Friendly – “Fan Celebration Tour”
Venue: Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, Mo.
Date: Oct. 16, 2004; Kickoff – 5:00 p.m. CT
Weather: Cold, clear – 55 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Angela Hucles (Aly Wagner) 36th minute.
USA: 18-Kristin Luckenbill; 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Cat Reddick, 15-Kate Markgraf, 6-Brandi Chastain (2-Heather Mitts, 46); 10-Aly Wagner, 7-Shannon Boxx, 8-Angela Hucles (14-Nicole Barnhart, 86), 13-Kristine Lilly; 9-Mia Hamm (12-Cindy Parlow, 46), 20-Abby Wambach.
Subs not used: Joy Fawcett.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs.
MEX: 1-Pamela Tajonar; 2-Elizabeth Gomez, 3-Jessica Romero, 4-Monica Gonzales, 5-Maria Castillo; 13-Nancy Gutierrez (15-Christine Nieva, 80), 6-Monica Vergara, 7-Dioselina Valderrama, 8-Rebecca Juarez, 10-Evelin Lopez; 11-Teresa Worbis.
Subs Not Used: 9-Lourdes Gordillo, 12-Elizabeth Sanchez, 14-Rebecca Mendoza, 16-Veronica Tovar, 17-Miriam Dominguez, 18-Teofila Chavez.
Head Coach: Leo Cuellar.
Shots: 8 8
Shots on Goal: 2 3
Saves: 3 1
Corner Kicks: 13 5
Fouls: 12 10
Offside: 1 2
Misconduct Summary: None.
Referee: Riabel Trujillo (USA)
Assistant Referee: Faith Rossi (USA)
Assistant Referee: Dallas Malhiwsky (USA)
Fourth Official: Elizabeth Unruh (USA)
Chevrolet Player of the Game: Angela Hucles
Fan Celebration Tour