Work in Sports
A little revenge
U.S. falls to China 1-0 in Pacific Cup
Posted: Wednesday May 31, 2000 06:45 PM
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Once again, the margin of victory was a single penalty kick. Only this time, China got the better of the United States.
The U.S. women lost 1-0 Wednesday on Chinese captain Sun Wen's spot kick with five minutes left in the teams' first meeting since the United States won the World Cup final on a penalty shootout last summer.
"China is always good and it always seems to come down to the last minutes with them," U.S. captain Julie Foudy said. "Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side tonight."
The game was the opener for both countries at the Pacific Cup, a six-country, round-robin tournament. The United States faces Canada (1-0) in Sydney on Friday.
"We are frustrated," U.S. forward Mia Hamm said, "but we have another game in two days and we just have to learn from this one and move on to Canada. We're going to play China again, probably more times than we want, but you have to play the best teams in the world to prepare yourself for a tournament like the Olympics."
A choppy field limited the offenses, and the United States outshot China 10-5.
The only time the ball went in the net, though, was after Wen, the Asian player of the year and World Cup MVP, was brought down in the penalty area by Danielle Slaton. Wen then beat goalkeeper Siri Mullinix on the ensuing kick.
Slaton came on as a second-half substitute for Brandi Chastain, whose shootout shot gave the United States the World Cup victory.
Slaton had given the Americans two good scoring chances minutes earlier. Her long cross gave Cindy Parlow a clear header, but the striker sent the ball straight at goalie Han Wenxia. Then Slaton set up Hamm, who shot wide.
Tiffeny Milbrett had three good opportunities for the United States. Her shot off a breakaway was blocked by Wenxia in the 10th minute, another first-half chance sailed over the crossbar, and Milbrett beat Wenxia with an angled shot in the final minute but the ball slid wide of the post.
U.S. coach April Heinrichs called the loss a big disappointment, but said, "we learn from our mistakes."
She had 13 players from the World Cup team. Carla Overbeck has a minor knee injury and midfielder Michelle Akers is recovering from shoulder surgery.
"The U.S. were without several of their top players," Chinese coach Ma Yuanan said. "But we are not at our peak yet either."
In other action, Canada rallied past New Zealand 2-1 and Australia beat Japan 1-0. The tournament was reduced to six teams by the withdrawals of North Korea and Scotland.