BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (May 17, 2003) – The U.S. Women’s National Team overcame a tough English team and hot conditions to defeat England, 6-0, at the legendary Legion Field as Cindy Parlow registered her sixth career hat trick, pounding in four total goals, which were sandwiched between scores by Mia Hamm and Tiffeny Milbrett. The first three U.S. goals came from inside the six-yard box as Hamm opened the scoring 30 minutes in and Parlow added two more on crisp finishes before the end of the half.
Usually a forward for the USA, Parlow played in the midfield and was stellar, both in creating and finishing. She scored two goals in four minutes to end the half, then added two more in the first 10 minutes of the second half to register all four goals in just a 14-minute span.
“That was so much fun out there today,” said Parlow. “Just scoring one goal is fun, but luckily today I was able to get four. On the first goal, Mia put it on a platter for me. On the second one, Julie just kept it alive for me and on the third one, I took on a defender and saw an opening at the far post. On the fourth goal, it was Kristine keeping the ball alive and I was just able to finish.”
A gritty England team was affected by the heat and could not muster much offense from its 4-5-1 formation, but the English defense did prove tough to penetrate for the first third of the match.
The USA finally broke down England on the right wing as Shannon MacMillan and Parlow played a nifty one-two combination along the right sideline, springing MacMillan into the penalty area. The U.S. striker cut hard into the middle and dribbled all the way to the edge of the six yard box, drawing England goalkeeper Pauline Cope to the near post, before cutting a short pass back to Hamm, who hammered her shot into the middle of the net from five yards out. It was Hamm’s world record 139th career goal in 235 games.
In the 42nd minute Brandi Chastain lifted a pass to Hamm down the left flank. In a goal almost identical to the first, Hamm dribbled at the near post, then cut the ball back to Parlow who slid to finish from close range. The third goal came in the waning seconds of the first half off a corner kick from the left side. The ball flew to Kristine Lilly at the back post and she played it into the middle. Julie Foudy got a good piece of the ball on her shot, but Cope managed to stick a hand up to bat the ball off the line. It popped up to Parlow who snapped a header into the net from close range for the 3-0 halftime lead.
Parlow got her hat trick just five minutes into the second half as she collected a long ball from Milbrett outside the penalty area on the left side. She brought the ball down well, dribbled into the middle and spun her shot into the right corner from 17 yards. Parlow added her fourth five minutes later, slamming a rebound of Kristine Lilly’s cross into the net from 10 yards out.
Milbrett added her 97th career goal in the 68th minute, running down a long ball from Tiffany Roberts on the right wing. Milbrett cut hard into the middle, leaving Rachel Unitt behind, and stroked her left-footed shot into the upper left corner from 16 yards out. Milbrett now needs just three more goals to become the fifth player in world history to score 100 international goals.
The USA could have had another goal in the first half after Hamm was brought down in the penalty box by Casey Stoney, but Joy Fawcett had her penalty kick saved by Cope, who dove to her left to push away the shot in the 20th minute.
“England didn’t qualify for the Women’s World Cup, but that didn’t mean we took them lightly,” said U.S. head coach April Heinrichs. “The greatest compliment we can pay to England is to come out like we played today.”
The four goals for Parlow come on the heels of MacMillan’s four-goal performance in the USA’s last match against Canada on April 26. Parlow’s four goals upped her career total to 61 and moved her past MacMillan into fifth place on the all-time goals list. Parlow’s four-goal game also marks the first time in the illustrious history of the U.S. Women’s National Team that a player has scored four goals in consecutive matches. Immediately following the post-game interviews, Parlow and San Jose CyberRays LaKeysia Beene and Brandi Chastain, both of whom played the first half, hopped in cars for the drive to Atlanta where the Beat will play the CyberRays in a WUSA match tonight at 7 p.m. ET.
“To have Cindy in our midfield gives us something that no other personality gives us,” said Heinrichs of the 5-foot-11 Parlow. “She is difficult to beat defensively, covers a lot of ground, has bite in her tackles, has a great heading presence and has great feet.”
The match marked a homecoming for Birmingham native Cat Reddick, who played the entire 90 minutes in front of an adoring crowd, and for Hamm, who was born in Selma, Alabama. Reddick leaves tomorrow to join the U.S. Under-21 National Team in Brazil for four games.
The USA returns to action against Ireland at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on June 14 (7 p.m. MT live on ESPN2), followed by a match against recent Women’s World Cup qualifier Brazil at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans on July 13 (3 p.m. CT live on ESPN).
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT Participants: USA vs. England Competition: International Friendly Venue: Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama Date: May 17, 2003; Kickoff – Noon CT Attendance: 12,102 Weather: Hot, humid; 82 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F USA 3 3 6 ENG 0 0 0
USA – Mia Hamm (Shannon MacMillan) 30th minute. USA – Cindy Parlow (Mia Hamm) 42. USA – Cindy Parlow (Julie Foudy) 45. USA – Cindy Parlow (Tiffeny Milbrett) 50. USA – Cindy Parlow (Unassisted) 55. USA – Tiffeny Milbrett (Tiffany Roberts) 68.
Lineups: USA: 24-LaKeysia Beene (18-Siri Mullinix, 46); 4-Cat Reddick, 14-Joy Fawcett (15-Kate Sobrero, 46), 6-Brandi Chastain (25-Heather Mitts, 46), 3-Christie Pearce; 11-Julie Foudy – Capt. (5-Tiffany Roberts, 46), 13-Kristine Lilly, 10-Aly Wagner (19-Angela Hucles, 46), 12-Cindy Parlow (22-Abby Wambach, 58); 8-Shannon MacMillan (16-Tiffeny Milbrett, 46), 9-Mia Hamm. Subs not used: None.