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U.S women open China tournament with 3-0 victory. Venturini, Milbrett and Keller score in triumph over Sweden.

GUANGZHOU, China (Sunday, January 18, 1998) -- The United States used goals by Tisha Venturini, Tiffeny Milbrett and Debbie Keller for a 3-0 victory over Sweden in the opener for both nations in the Guangzhou International Women's Tournament at Tianhe Stadium today.

The U.S. next plays Wednesday against China which lost 2-1 to Norway in today’s second match. The Americans close Saturday against Norway.

Venturini opened the scoring in the 34th minute on a play that started by fellow midfielder Kristine Lilly. Lilly sent a pass behind Sweden's defense into the left side of the penalty box. Striker Mia Hamm beat onrushing Sweden goalkeeper Ulrika Karlsson to the ball, but lost her angle to shoot as she sidestepped the sliding keeper.

Instead, Hamm stopped the ball on the end line, pivoted and sent a chip into the middle where two Sweden defenders slammed into each other on the goal line in a failed attempt to clear the ball. Venturini slid to toe-poke the ball off the right post and into the net from four yards out for her 33rd international goal.

The U.S. upped its advantage to 2-0 in the 63rd minute when Keller's one-touch pass sprang Hamm deep in the right side of the penalty box. Hamm slotted her cross on the ground for the cutting Milbrettt, who buried her 34 international tally from eight yards out.

Keller, who entered the game as a front-runner in the 54th minute for Cindy Parlow finished the scoring eight minutes later. Shannon MacMillan ran down a long ball from Venturini on the right wing and hit a high cross from near the sideline. Karlsson came out of her net, but could only manage to get a hand on the cross as it sailed over her head to Julie Foudy, who gathered the ball. She fed Keller, who hit her first-time shot from 12 yards out for her fifth international goal.

Sweden arrived in China just two days before the match and appeared to fatigue under the relentless American attack. The U.S. outshot Sweden 27-7, 18-1 in the second half.

"I was pleased with our game and although we had a much stronger second half, we were always in complete control of the match," said U.S. Head Coach Tony DiCicco. "Our defense played very well and Julie Foudy and Tisha Venturini had a strong game in center midfield. We had a lot of options to attack because of our good midfield play and ball movement."

In the second game of the doubleheader, Norway defeated China, 2-1, on Marianne Pettersen’s goal in the 77th minute. The home team went up 1-0 on a header by Jin Yan in the 31st minute before Margunn Haugenes tied the match three minutes later.

United States 3, Sweden 0

Lineups: USA - Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Tisha Venturini (Justi Baumgardt, 76), Kristine Lilly, Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett (Lorrie Fair, 69), Cindy Parlow (Debbie Keller 54), Mia Hamm (Tiffany Roberts 73). Sweden - Ulrika Karlsson, Karolina Westberg, Asa Lönnqvist, Cecilia Sandell (Hanna Marklund 20), Kristin Bengtsson, Jane Törnqvist, Anna Pohjanen, Salina Olsson (Tina Nordlund 68), Marie Kolbert, Christin Lilja (Therese Sjogran 59), Victoria Svensson (Malin Allberg 78).

Scoring: USA - Venturini (Hamm) 34; USA - Milbrett (Hamm) 63; USA - Keller (Julie Foudy) 71. Total shots: USA 27, Sweden 7. Saves: USA 3, Sweden 7. Corner kicks: USA 6, Sweden 2. Fouls: USA 5, Sweden 8. Offsides: USA 9, Sweden 1.

Referee: Sun Yuzhen (China). Referee's assistants: Zheng Weixiang (China), Meng Sixin (China). Attendance (Tinahe Stadium): 1,500. (weather: sunny, breezy, 65 degrees.)