CARSON, Calif. (Monday, September 1, 2003) - The U.S. Women's National Team got goals from five different players to roll past Costa Rica 5-0 tonight in front of a crowd of 12,349 in the team's first ever match at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and second to last match prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003, which begins on Sept. 20.
One of those five strikes came off the boot of midfielder Shannon Boxx, who made her first career appearance for the USA. Boxx became the 14th player in U.S. Women's National Team history to score in her first cap. Midfielder Tiffany Roberts captained the USA for the first time in her 100th game for the USA, becoming the 16th female player to join the Century Club.
While the U.S. had numerous close chances in the first 15 minutes, including driven headers from imposing forwards Cindy Parlow and Abby Wambach that sailed high, and a close-range shot from midfielder Angela Hucles that hit the left post, the USA didn't break through the Costa Rican bunker until the 17th minute. Midfielder Aly Wagner settled a short back pass from Cindy Parlow just outside the right side of the penalty area, sized up the frame and used her left foot to bend a perfect 19-yard shot into the upper left corner. It was Wagner's 11th international goal in her 46th game and she was named the Chevrolet Women of the Match.
The U.S. continued to dominate the match, as symbolized by the roar of the crowd when goalkeeper Siri Mullinix touched the ball for the first time in the 38th minute, albeit with her feet. However, the U.S. couldn't add another score until the 41st minute, when Wagner took possession on the left side of the penalty area and hit a driven ball to the far post where Wambach powered a header into the right corner from close range before falling on Herra, temporarily injuring the goalkeeper. It was Wambach's eighth international goal in just her 13th cap.
At halftime, U.S. head coach April Heinrichs made six of the seven allowed subs, inserting Mia Hamm at forward, Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly in the midfield and Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett and Christie Pearce alongside Kylie Bivens in the back.
Boxx, a native of nearby Redondo Beach, provided the third goal in the 53rd minute, running onto a square pass from Julie Foudy before blasting a left-footed shot into the upper left corner from 18 yards out.
Just four minutes later, the U.S. struck again when Kristine Lilly's perfectly placed cross from the left flank found forward Cindy Parlow towering over a defender at the far post. The 5-foot-11 Parlow punched home an easy header past a helpless Herra.
The biggest crowd roar of the night came in the 70th minute, when midfielder Shannon MacMillan entered the game for Wambach, marking an incredible return to the field just 102 days after reconstructive surgery on her right ACL on May 20. Despite missing the last three months of action, MacMillan still leads the team in scoring in 2003 with six goals and two assists.
"I honestly didn't doubt I could comeback and I knew I was on a tighter schedule than most, so I didn't have time to mope or feel sorry for myself," said MacMillan of the comeback. "I just went out there every day and put my heart and soul into it."
Hamm punctuated the dominating U.S. performance when she pounced on a loose ball in the box and slotted it past Herra in the 82nd minute. The final stats revealed a whopping 32-0 advantage on shots and a 13-0 advantage on corner kicks.
The win was the 10th of the year for the U.S. women, who will play its final match before the FIFA Women's World Cup against Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. PT live on ESPN at Spartan Stadium up the coast in San Jose.
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. From there, the U.S. travels to Philadelphia to face Nigeria on Sept. 25 at Lincoln Financial Field, before finishing Group A play on Sept. 28 versus North Korea at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Costa Rica
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: The Home Depot Center - Carson, Calif.
Date: September 1, 2003; Kickoff - 8 p.m. PT
Weather: 68 degrees; Cool, clear
1 2 F
USA 2 3 5
CRC 0 0 0
USA - Aly Wagner (Cindy Parlow) 17th minute.
USA - Abby Wambach (Aly Wagner) 41.
USA - Shannon Boxx (Julie Foudy) 53.
USA - Cindy Parlow (Kristine Lilly) 57.
USA - Mia Hamm (Unassisted) 82.
USA: 18-Siri Mullinix; 2-Kylie Bivens, 15-Kate Sobrero (14-Joy Fawcett, 46), 4-Cat Reddick (6-Brandi Chastain, 46), 17-Danielle Slaton (3-Christie Pearce, 46); 7-Shannon Boxx, 5-Tiffany Roberts-Capt. (11-Julie Foudy, 46), 19-Angela Hucles (13-Kristine Lilly, 46), 10-Aly Wagner (9-Mia Hamm, 46); 20-Abby Wambach (8-Shannon MacMillan, 70), 12-Cindy Parlow.
Subs not used:1-Briana Scurry.
Head Coach: April Heinrichs
CRC: 23-MaryClare Herra; 2-Evelyn Rojas (8-Ana Campos, 37), 3-Gabriela Trujillo (Capt.), 4-Karol Segura, 5-Monica Salazar, 6-Xiomara Briceno (19-Dayna Acosta, 87), 15-Jahaira Aguilar (12-Vanessa Rojas, 81), 9-Ericka Castro (7-Martha Chavez, 61), 11-Megan Chavez, 16-Cindy Rodriguez (17-Amara Wilson, 87), 14-Emilia Solano (13-Maricela Rojas, 76).
Subs not used: 1-Silvia Arias.
Head Coach: Ricardo Rodriguez
Corner Kicks: 13/0
CRC - Karol Segura (caution) 49.
CRC - Jahaira Aguilar (caution) 66.
Referee: Sandra Hunt (USA)
Referee Asst.: Sharon Wheeler (USA)
Referee Asst.: Roger Itaya (USA)
4th Official: Kevin Stott (USA)
Chevrolet Woman of the Match: Aly Wagner