Work in Sports
U.S. women fall to Noway in final Sidney tuneup
OSLO, Norway (AP) -- The United States women's soccer team woke up too late.
Second-half substitute Cindy Parlow scored off a rebound from short range in the last minute as the Americans lost 2-1 to Norway on Sunday night in their final major tuneup for the Sydney Olympics.
Playing before 15,762 fans at Ulleval Stadium, a record turnout for women's soccer in Norway, the Americans had another disappointing outing after tying the Norwegians 1-1 thanks to an own-goal by the hosts Thursday at Tromso, north of the Arctic Circle.
"In the last 20 minutes we had an urgency when we went down 2-0, but we need a bit more consistency with that, a little more urgency on the ball and getting shots off and a little more threatening," said Julie Foudy, who played for the 1996 Olympic and 1999 world championship team.
U.S. coach April Heinrichs, who scored twice in the first-ever game between the two countries in Minneapolis 13 years ago, agreed.
"They showed their urgency in the last 20 minutes, not in the first 70," she said. "It just shows once again how small the margin is between the top five teams in the world.
"As the U.S. team has showed when it does play with urgency to attack to score goals, it's an exciting style, it's a fun style and it's a winning style. The next step is just becoming more consistent."
The Americans lost their third match this year to Norway - the first two also by one goal in Florida in February - and they go into the Sydney Games with a 2-3-1 record against the co-Olympic favorites.
Norway had the better chances in the first half, although U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix was never seriously tested. The best one came in the 30th minute, when Dagny Mellgren headed just wide. Three minutes earlier, Kristine Lilly's goal was annulled because of offside.
Nikki Serlenga, who subbed for veteran Michelle Akers at the start of the second half, had a powerful near-miss early in the second half when she hit the right post with a 25-yard drive. Mia Hamm set up the play with a nice cross to Brandi Chastain, who tipped the ball on to the uncovered Serlenga.
The Americans didn't get much closer to scoring after that until the final minute of the game.
Norway took the lead in the 62nd minute when Chastain and Danielle Slaton were too slow on the ball, Mellgren chasing down Monica Knudsen's lob pass and beating Mullinix with a shot to the right corner.
Norway went two up on an own-goal in the 81st minute, when Christie Pearce tried to clear the ball in front of Mullinix but accidentally shot it past the U.S. goalie.
The two-game series was the first by a U.S. women's team in Norway. The teams met for the first time in Scandinavia in the 1995 World Cup semifinal in neighboring Sweden, Norway edging the Americans 1-0 before eventually winning the final against Germany.