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U.S. National Team Proves Too Much for Netherlands


FULLERTON — The U.S. women's soccer team made a rare Southern California appearance Saturday, and showed local fans why they are the world's most dominant team.

Tisha Venturini and Kristine Lilly each scored two goals to lead the United States to a 6-0 exhibition victory over the Netherlands in front of 5,116 at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium.

The United States, which won the 1991 Women's World Championship and placed third in 1995, is preparing for the Atlanta Olympics.

In the 12th minute, Lilly dribbled down the sideline and crossed the ball into the box. Michelle Akers tapped it back to Venturini, who sent a grounder into the net to start the scoring binge.

Julie Foudy, who attended Mission Viejo High, scored three minutes later, Lilly scored her two goals in the 24th and 27th minutes and Venturini scored her second goal in the 34th minute.

"I'm pleased with every aspect of our game, but to be perfectly honest with you, we haven't hit full stride yet," said U.S. Coach Tony DiCicco. "I don't want to peak yet. We want to peak [at the Olympics]."

The Netherlands, which DiCicco said is a notch below Europe's top teams, defeated the United States, 3-1, in a scrimmage Thursday at the Arco Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. The United States played without three of its top players in the scrimmage, Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett and Briana Scurry, but did not take the loss well.

"After Thursday's performance we were extra focused today and we really finished the chances we were given," said Venturini, who also assisted on Foudy's first goal. "We all played so well we made each other look good."

Akers scored the only goal of the second half on a header in the 54th minute. For Akers, the all-time leading scorer for the United States with 88 goals, it was her first game since sustaining a knee injury on Feb. 2 in a game against Norway.

The Netherlands provided little competition for the United States--goalkeeper Jaccolien Burggraaf, 16, was constantly under siege and saved six shots.

The crowd, which numbered about 1,000 more than average for a U.S. women's match, applauded loudly for its local representatives, defender Joy Fawcett, the UCLA coach who attended Edison High, and Foudy.

Hundreds of girls lined the rails around the field after the game and screamed for autographs from the players--who obliged for quite a while.

"I haven't played in Southern California for so long. I have all my soccer coaches here and fans, so it was great," Foudy said.

It was the first time the U.S. women have played an international match in California.

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