Helgadottir’s 11 saves stymie Americans and Iceland has 0-0 draw.CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Saturday, April 8, 2000) -- After a United States team of young reserves routed Iceland 8-0 in a closed-door match Wednesday, it was assumed the regular American side would have a romp in a rematch tonight.
Such was not the case. Iceland’s goalkeeper Thora Helgadottir played a sensational match, making 11 saves to hold the U.S. to a 0-0 draw before 10,315 in wet, chilly conditions at Ericsson Stadium.
The Americans fired 19 shots at the Iceland goal -- allowing only four -- but the domination from start to finish did not help the U.S. put one past the 19-year-old Helgadottir, who made a spectacular save in injury time to snag Brandi Chastain's volley and finalize the tie.
Iceland consistently had nine players behind the ball. When the U.S. did get around the Iceland defense on the flanks on numerous occasions, Helgadottir was there to snag a half dozen crosses during the match.
"Their goalkeeper made every save in the book, high, low, crosses, breakaways," said U.S. coach April Heinrichs. "She was terrific, but not just their goalkeeper, every player really came out and played with pride on the Iceland team. The result today was 50 percent about Iceland's effort and 50 percent about that game of soccer that can be generous on some days and stingy on other days."
The first real U.S chance came courtesy of Iceland when Gaudlaug Jonsdottir knocked the ball off her own cross bar while attempting to clear a Mia Hamm cross.
In the 25th minute, Chastain skied to head a Hamm corner kick at net, but the ball was batted up in the air and then grabbed by Helgadottir. In the 27th minute, Helgadottir came up big again, making a kick save of a Christie Welsh volley.
The U.S. had a golden chance in the 33rd minute when Tiffeny Milbrett broke through the Iceland defense, but Helgadottir closed quickly and knocked down Milbrett's shot with a sliding save of one of Milbrett’s eight shots.
The U.S. received a scare in the 39th minute when Hamm slammed head-first into the advertising boards while chasing a ball that was running out of bounds. She was dazed for several minutes, but rose to her feet and re-entered the match.
Iceland failed to produce one dangerous chance on offense, but played solid and organized defense to hold the U.S. to only its fifth scoreless draw in the last 10 years. The U.S. had 14 corner kicks without conceding one.
"Iceland is not in the Olympics," Chastain said. "But today was their Olympic Games."
The Americans attacked relentlessly in the second half, but Chastain was a step late at the far post on a Hamm corner kick in the 53rd minute and shot wide, while Milbrett's chip from 23 yards in the 59th just skimmed over the crossbar.
In the 66th minute, Welsh got around the Iceland defense on the left side and dribbled down the end line toward goal before cutting the ball back to Milbrett, whose shot from eight yards out was pushed over the top on a great reflex save from Helgadottir.
Heinrichs made just one substitute in the match, sending on Danielle Slaton in the 66th minute at left flank midfield and moving Kristine Lilly to the forward line.
In the 76th minute, Joy Fawcett penetrated deep down the right flank and swung a cross into the middle, but Milbrett's header went straight to Helgadottir. In the 79th minute, Hamm got some space in the left side of the penalty area, but blasted her shot wide left.
"Sometimes you play a game and do all the right things and one player has a spectacular game and that was their goalkeeper tonight," Chastain said. "She made remarkable saves that she didn't make on Wednesday. That was the difference in this game. We played a good game and a lot of things we worked in practice this week came through on the field, but the end result wasn't a goal, and you have to score to win.
"There is never a time we feel disappointed with our effort. "There was not a person on the field tonight who gave less than their maximum. We're disappointed that we didn't score, but we know we improved as a team, and we just need to finish our chances. We played a good game and well enough to bring some smiles to the faces of all the kids here tonight."
U.S. midfielder Julie Foudy was a pre-game scratch from the starting lineup due to a slightly strained groin and 19-year-old Aly Wagner started in her place. Defender and captain Carla Overbeck was also missing from the lineup following her diagnosis of having. Grave’s Disease.
U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix made three easy saves, picking up her fourth shutout in six career games.
United States 0, Iceland 0Lineups: United States Siri Mullinix, Brandi Chastain, Kate Sobrero, Joy Fawcett, Kristine Lilly, Lorrie Fair, Julie Foudy, Shannon MacMillan, Christie Welsh (Danielle Slaton 69), Tiffeny Milbrett, Mia Hamm. Iceland - Thora Helgadottir, Edda Gardarsdottir, Iris Saemundsdottir, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, Gudlaug Jonsdottir, Rakel Ogmundsdottir, Asthildur Helgadottir, Margret Olafsdottir, Erla Hendriksdottir, Katrin Jonsdottir, Asgerdur Ingibergsdottir.
Scoring: none. Shots: United States 19, Iceland 4. Saves: United States 3, Iceland 11. Corner kicks: United States 14, Iceland 0. Fouls: United States 8, Iceland 13. Offside: United States2, Iceland 0. Yellow card cautions: Iceland - Gardarsdottir 11, Hendriksdottir 38.
Referee: Rich Grady (United States). Referee assistants: Jon Wilson (United States), Dan Burak (United States). Attendance: 10,315 at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Weather: Cold, wet, 46 degrees