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U.S. women sweep Japan; Chastain, Lilly, Venturini score.

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Sunday, May 24, 1998) -- The United States women completed a three-game sweep of Japan, getting goals from Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini, to record a 3-0 victory in front of 34,885 fans at National Stadium today.

The U.S., which played progressively better in each outing in Japan, now heads home to play New Zealand on Saturday at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. to play the opener of the first doubleheader with the American menís team, which plays Scotland in a final tune-up before departing for the World Cup in France.

"We are looking forward to playing in Washington D.C., not only to continue our preparations for the 1999 Women's World Cup with a competitive match against New Zealand, but also to be a part of the send-off for our men's team," said U.S. coach Tony DiCicco. "The U.S. women's national team is extremely proud of the accomplishments of our men's team in qualifying for the World Cup and we are honored to take part in the celebration and pageantry of their final match before leaving for France."

The likely candidate to host the 2002 menís World Cup final, the new 70,000-seat National Stadium was about half-full for the womenís match before a sellout crowd witnessed the second match in which Japanís men tied the Czech Republic 0-0.

In a match filled with little suspense, Chastain gave the U.S. a 1-0 advantage in the eighth minute. She headed defender Christie Pearce's corner kick off the cross bar with the ball rebounding to midfielder Julie Foudy, whose shot from close range was cleared off the goal line. Striker Cindy Parlow played that carom quickly to Chastain, the left mid who buried the bouncing ball from eight yards.

"Prior to the game, Tony (DiCicco) asked the midfield to get more involved and to score some goals, which we did," said Chastain, who scored her 16th international goal. "The team played much better as whole today. We attacked and defended together and could have scored a few more."

The Americans played with increased defensive tenacity and a quicker speed of play than in the first two matches, and had Japan on the run for 90 minutes. The U.S. won virtually every head ball, completely controlled the tempo and produced 19 total shots for the game to Japan's four.

Lilly scored the second goal in the 33rd minute, finishing a rebound of Joy Fawcett's shot that Japanese goalkeeper Nozimo Yamago saved, but couldn't hold. Lilly stuffed the loose ball under the goalkeeper from six yards out for her 58th goal in her world-record 153 international games.

Japan came close to pulling a goal back in the 72nd minute when Mayumi Omatsu beat a U.S. offside trap. Goalkeeper Briana Scurry got a piece of the Omatsu's low shot to slow it down, and Joy Fawcett recovered to clear the rolling ball off the goal line.

The U.S. added the final goal four minutes from the end of the match as Lilly ripped a shot from 22 yards out that was pushed off the cross bar by the flying Yamago.Parlow ran down the rebound in the right corner and chipped a pass back to Shannon MacMillan, who struck a shot that was seemingly headed wide left of the goal. Venturini, however, falling to her knees, re-directed the ball into the net with her head from eight yards out.

"We were always in charge of the game," said DiCicco. "We played much better on both sides of the ball than in the first two matches.But Japan is a very well-coached and organized, and these three results in their country were all quality wins."

Notes: Forward Mia Hamm, who injured her right hamstring May 17 at the game in Tokyo, was held out of her second straight match.

United States 3, Japan 0

Lineups: Japan - Nozomi Yamago, Rie Yamaki, Kae Nishina, Hiromi Isozaki, Mai Nakachi, Tomoe Sakai (Yuko Morimoto 79), Ayumi Hara (Mayumi Omatsu 46), Homare Sawa, Tomomi Mitsui, Nami Otake (Miki Sugawara 87), Tamaki Uchiyama (Kazumi Kishi, 69). United States - Briana Scurry, Carla Overbeck, Christie Pearce (Tiffany Roberts, 46), Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero, Brandi Chastain (Lorrie Fair, 46), Julie Foudy (Sara Whalen, 76), Cindy Parlow, Debbie Keller (Tisha Venturini, 46), Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett (Shannon MacMillan, 58).

Scoring: United States - Chastain (Parlow) 8; United States- Lilly (Fawcett) 33; United States - Venturini (MacMillan) 86. Shots: Japan 4, United States 19. Saves: Japan 7, United States 2. Corner kicks: Japan 2, United States 6. Fouls: Japan 4, United States 13. Offside: Japan 1, United States 3.

Referee: Yayoi Watanabe (Japan). Assistant referees: Hisae Yoshizawa (Japan), Im Eun Ju (South Korea). Attendance: 34,885 at National Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Weather: Cloudy, humid, 78 degrees.