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U.S. Rolls Past Mexico

Americans cruise, 5-0, at San Jose in their last warmup before the Women's World Cup starts in two weeks.

September 08, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

SAN JOSE — Ready or not, Sweden, here they come.

The defending world champion United States on Sunday played its final warmup game before the Women's World Cup, rolling over Mexico, 5-0, in front of 13,510 at Spartan Stadium.

The result was less important than the manner in which it was achieved.

The U.S. attacked from the start and was still attacking at the end. Had it not been for half a dozen spectacular saves by goalkeeper Jennifer Molina, the Americans might have reached double figures.

As it was, Shannon Boxx and Abby Wambach scored from the run of play in the first half, and Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm and Aly Wagner each scored from the penalty spot in the second half as the U.S. dominated throughout.

Add to that the fact that Cindy Parlow hit the left post with a shot and Tiffeny Milbrett rattled the crossbar with a header, and it was plain to all that the U.S. offense is hitting stride at just the right time.

For Boxx, two goals in her first two games for the national team have suddenly elevated the Redondo Beach player into serious contention for a starting spot when the U.S. opens World Cup play against the Swedes at Washington on Sept. 21.

"If she can guarantee us a goal in the opener against Sweden, we'll definitely start her," Coach April Heinrichs said.

Wambach, too, is looking more and more like a World Cup starter. Only bad luck prevented her from scoring a hat trick Sunday.

"I think she was snakebitten," Heinrichs said. "She had so many chances it was incredible. And that's a good thing, to be able to create as many chances as we're creating."

The U.S. got a brief scare when goalkeeper Briana Scurry clattered into Mexican forward Monica Gonzalez, then had treatment on her right knee on the field before being replaced by Siri Mullinix for the final 20 minutes.

Before boarding the team bus, Scurry described the injury, a possible bone bruise, as minor.

"It's good," she said. "It's fine. Now I can move it. I'll be fine tomorrow."

For Mexico Coach Leonardo Cuellar, it might take a bit longer, but he said he was "happy with the composure, with the character, and with the determination" of his players.

"I know the goalie [Molina] was a big factor in the score because it could have been a lot higher, but that's also part of the game."

As for the U.S., Scurry summed it up.

"I think we're ready to go," she said. "We played well today and played well last week [in a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica]. We're creating tons of chances. We're very creative offensively and defensively unbeaten. So it's looking good."

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