Hamm, DiCicco are less than satisfied in 2-0 win over Finland.TAMPA, Fla. (Saturday, February 27, 1999) -- Striker Mia Hamm moved one step closer to becoming the international goal-scoring leader today, but she was less than satisfied with her performance in the United Statesí 2-0 victory over Finland before 2,461 on a hot, windy day at the University of Tampa's Pepin/Rood Stadium.
Hamm and defender Joy Fawcett each had a goal and an assist in the victory, the 48th international in a row on American soil.
Hamm now has 104 goal against international foes, leaving her behind the retire Italian duo of Elisabetta Vignotto (108) and Carolina Morace (105). Yet, Hamm, who will turn 27 on March 17, admits to feeling like sheís been in a slump recently.
"I need to do something," she said. "Right now, I am frustrated with my game. I think my confidence is a little low right now. Iím not doing the things that I normally do."
After the U.S. reserves and members of the under-21 team beat Finland 3-1 on Wednesday, the expectation was for a easy time against Finland, which failed to qualify for this summerís Womenís World Cup, in which the Americans are one of the favorites to win.
Tony DiCicco was unusually candid with his criticism of his side. "Weíll have to take a look at the tape," he said. "I think my reserve team and the U-21s played better than the national team today. Iím not satisfied and maybe we need to make some changes. Itís up to the players out there. They decide whoís going to play and right now, thereís some question marks."
The U.S. was confounded by Finlandís penchant to pack back and look only for an occasional counterattack, a strategy the Americans see frequently from undermanned opponents.
"Up front, what you have to do is you canít get frustrated," Hamm said. "It might not be our job to score goals today. It might be the midfield or the defenders, like Joy, to come through. What you have to do is hold the ball and as the defense closes down, then you knock it to someone coming through."
In the 29th minute, Hamm drove a right-side corner kick and Fawcett went high at the near post to flick a header into the far top corner.
Fawcett returned the favor in the 29th minute after a quick combination of passes. After taking a return pass from her throw-in, central defender Carla Overbeck rolled a ball into the right corner to midfielder Brandi Chastain who quickly returned the service. Overbeck then perfectly led Fawcett who was streaking unmarked to the top right of the six-yard box. Fawcett collected the ball and promptly crossed a ball that a sliding Tiffeny Milbrett barely missed before a wide-open Hamm sent a point-plank shot into the center of the net.
"Hopefully, when you score a goal, you do some things (right)," said Hamm, who came out immediately following her tally. "I held the ball up top better than I have been. This was the best (performance) Iíve had in awhile. A little more consistent. I didnít lose a lot of balls up top I have been in the past. And when I did get faced up, I did take advantage of it."
Despite stretches of lethargic, sloppy play, the U.S. did dominate possession, outshooting Finland 25-1. "It was a solid performance by the USA, in that we were totally in control of the game, but we still need to get sharper in a bunch of areas," DiCicco said. "Still, we have to get accustomed to producing goals against any style of play because when we get the Women's World Cup this summer, we'll encounter teams just playing for a result against us. We need to be able to break a team down earlier and put the game away."
The U.S. next heads to Portugal for the Sixth Algarve Cup, a competition it has never won. The Americans play Sweden (March 14), Finland again (March 16) and defending world champion Norway (March 18), with a medal match on March 20.
"We struggled a bit, but its hard to find your rhythm against teams that drop back and play defense," midfielder Julie Foudy said. "We need to play some teams that stretch us a bit more, and that's why we're all excited for the Algarve Cup. Those games will be a great test and valuable preparation for the World Cup."
United States 2, Finland 0Lineups: United States - Briana Scurry, Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero, Carla Overbeck, Christie Pearce (Lorrie Fair 46), Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Tisha Venturini (Aly Wagner 46), Tiffeny Milbrett (Danielle Fotopoulos 58), Kristine Lilly (Cindy Parlow 58), Mia Hamm (Shannon MacMillan 58); Finland - Johanna Lindell, Julia Uusmalmi, Anne Makinen, Sanna Valkonen, Christina Forssell, Laura Kalmari, Terhi Uusi-Luomalahti, Susanna Heikari (Minna Mustonen 46), Rosa Lappi-Seppala, Katri Nokso-Koivisto, Sani Ylitalo.
Shots: United States 25, Finland 1. Saves: United States 1, Finland 8. Corner kicks: United States 10, Finland 2. Fouls: United States 0, Finland 6. Offside: United States 2, Finland 0. Yellow card cautions: United States - Fotopoulos 73; Finland - Uusi-Luomalahti 65.
Referee: Sandra Hunt (United States). Assistant referees: Susan Cicchinelli (United States), Sharon Wheeler (United States). Attendance: 2,641 at Pepin/Rood Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Weather: Sunny, breezy, 80 degrees.