Work in Sports
U.S. women win tournament; Lilly hits milestone
Posted: Sunday May 07, 2000 06:51 PM
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The United States women's soccer team began the U.S. Women's Cup final by honoring Kristine Lilly. It ended it by carrying her off the field.
Cindy Parlow had a goal and an assist in the U.S. team's 4-0 victory over Canada on Sunday, and Lilly played the entire game, making her the first player in the history of international soccer to play in 200 games for her country.
Lilly wore red and gold shoes marked with "200" on the back for the occasion, and was given a necklace from the U.S. Soccer Federation and a bracelet from her teammates before the game.
"She's been trying to downplay it all week, but we weren't going to let that happen today," said Mia Hamm, who played her 191st game Sunday.
Lilly assisted on Parlow's goal, a header into the left corner of the net in the 75th minute, as the U.S. team overcame a sluggish, scoreless first half with four goals in the second.
"You've got to be patient, and wait for your chance, and that's what we did in the second half," Lilly said. "It's really been a special day. Tomorrow will just be another day, but this was a great day, very special to me."
Julie Foudy started the scoring 56 seconds into the second half by connecting on her fourth shot of the game, a strong header on a cross from tournament MVP Shannon MacMillan that went just over Canada goalkeeper Karina LeBanc's outstretched hands.
"That just breaks their confidence," said Parlow, who did not play in the first half. "They come out and they are psyched about going in 0-0 at halftime, and for us to come out and get an early goal, that was great for us and we were able to relax a little bit more."
In the 80th minute, Parlow nearly scored again, but LeBanc jumped and blocked the ball off the crossbar. Tiffeny Milbrett was right in front of the goal, and she scored easily to put the United States ahead 3-0.
Christie Welsh then closed out the scoring on a high arching shot that went over LeBanc and bounced into the center of the goal in the 85th minute.
Canada, which played an aggressive and quick first half, nearly scored in the 50th minute when 16-year-old Christina Sinclair hastily followed Carla Overbeck's tap to keeper Siri Mullinix, forcing Mullinix to hurry her clear.
Canada's Christine Latham was charging and fired a low shot just to the right of Mullinix, who dove and stopped the threat.
It was that kind of aggressiveness that caught U.S. coach April Heinrichs' eye.
"It was a much more aggressive style, and at times even mean-spirited," Heinrichs said of Canada's play. "We know there are a lot of teams that come from behind and come hard, and we have to deal with that."
Canada coach Even Pellerud "knows he has to coach them a certain way to get the most out of them," Heinrichs said.
"He doesn't have the depth that we have, he doesn't have the style or panache that our players have, so he brings what he does have to the table."
Without the precise passing it used to beat Mexico 8-0 in the semifinals, the U.S. team finally settled down in the first half and ended up outshooting Canada 32-9, including 13-3 in the second half.
"It was a little forced in the first half, whereas against Mexico it flowed. That was the difference -- we could have been up 2-0 or 3-0 at halftime," Heinrichs said, adding that she's happy with the way her team is shaping up. "I think we found that this team can really play, and there's a creative flair that I haven't seen since I've been coach. I'm really excited about that."