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Pan Am Games

United States blanks Costa Rica 2-0, plays Mexico Thursday for gold medal.

WINNIPEG, Ont. (Monday, August 2, 1999) -- Receiving tallies from strikers Marcia Wallis and Kim Patrick, the United States under-18 women advanced to the first-ever Pan American Games women’s soccer gold medal match with a one-sided 2-0 victory over Costa Rica today at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex.

The U.S. will play Mexico for the championship Thursday at 3:30 p.m (ET) at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex. Mexico defeated Canada in penalty kicks after the two nations tied 2-2 in the other semifinal.

"We had to win this one to get to the gold medal game," Marcia Wallis said. "I think we played pretty well. We ad a couple of bad breaks with balls bouncing off the crossbar. But we have to be happy with this win and look to the next game because that is why we're here."

The United States scored three goals in the first seven minutes in routing Costa Rica 6-0 in group play. Today, the U.S. jumped on top 1-0 in the fifth minute with Anna Kraus setting up Wallis for her seventh goal of the tournament. Kraus sent a cross to Wallace who tucked a six-yard header into the top left corner.

In the 24th minute, it was Kraus who orchestrated the buildup that led to the USA's second goal, springing Wallis down the left sideline. Wallis played a ball square into the penalty area that Patrick one-timed into the net from six yards, her sixth tally of the Pan Am Games.

"I think we played pretty well at times," said U.S. coach Jay Hoffman. "Costa Rica presented a different objective here than they did the first game. They presented a pretty tough situation for us to solve today. But I think we solved it pretty well at times. We hit three crossbars and two uprights, or something like that, and I think we created some good quality chances."

The U.S. under-23 men (2-1-1) face an undefeated Mexico in a semifinal Wednesday 8 p.m. hoping to advance to Friday’s title contest.

The U.S. women outshot Costa Rica 34-1, 22-0 in the second half. Only the play of Coast Rica’s goalkeeper Herra Rojas kept the score close. In fact, U.S. midfielder saved a header off her goalline early in the second half or the score would have been closer.

The U.S. hit the crossbar or goal post five times in the match.

"I think all of us feel really good right now," U.S. defender Nandi Pryce said. "We've been preparing ourselves for this for a while. We are excited about being here."

U.S. midfielder Jena Kluegel, who had started the team's first four games in the tournament, sat out the game after injuring her left knee in Saturday's 3-0 win against Canada. Kluegel's status for the tournament final is not known.

United States 2, Costa Rica 0

Line-ups: United States: Lauren Whitt, Nandi Pryce, Anna Kraus (captain), Karyn Hall, Catherine Reddick, Becky Myers, Lori Lindsey, Lauren Molinaro (Jennifer Lewis 71), Tara Comfort (EmilyTaggert 56), Kim Patrick (Andrea Sellers 61), Marcia Wallis; Costa Rica: Herra Rojas, Karina Lopez, H. Barrantes (captain), Laura Palma, F. Guadamuz, Emila Solano, Ana Campos, Ericka Castro (Silvia Quesada 79), Murcia Diaz, Melissa Lopez, Monica Chavez.

Scoring:
United States - Wallis (Kraus) 6;
United States - Patrick (Wallis) 24.

Shots: United States 34, Costa Rica 1. Shots on goal: United States 15, Costa Rica 1. Saves: United States 1, Costa Rica 13. Corner kicks: United States 4, Costa Rica 0. Offside: United States 0, Costa Rica 0. Yellow card caution: United States - none; Costa Rica - none.

Referee: Maria Herrera (Mexico). Assistant referees: Owen Powell (Jamaica), John Nielsen (Canada). Attendance: Winnipeg Soccer Complex. Weather: Sunny, clear.

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