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Parlow comes to rescue with two goals in 3-2 victory over Mexico.

HOUSTON (Sunday, December 10, 2000) -- Forward Cindy Parlow scored twice in a five minute span midway through the second half to allow the United States to overcome a one-goal deficit and defeat Mexico 2-1 in a friendly match before 11,121 fans at Robertson Stadium tonight.

Tiffeny Milbrett created the decisive opportunity, crossing a ball from the left side into a crowd in front of the goal. Fellow striker Mia Hamm was knocked down as she jumped for the ball and then got locked up on the ground with a defender. The ball popped loose to Parlow who was standing at the top of the penalty area and she blistered a 25-yard shot which found the top right corner, far beyond the capability of Mexico’s goalkeeper Linnea Quinones’ ability to stop it for a 3-2 advantage in the 75th minute. The goal upped Parlow's international total to 45 in 98 games.

"With 20 minutes left (and trailing 2-1), I thought we would be all right because I felt that there was plenty of time for us to win," said U.S. coach April Heinrichs. "We'd created plenty of chances in just a five-minute period. We've got a lot of leadership out on the field, and I knew as long as we were pursuing excellence and kept our wits about us, we'd be OK. We saw two great goals by Cindy Parlow and composure from the whole team."

Five minutes earlier, midfielder Nikki Serlenga won a header in the midfield and the ball bounced to Parlow, who carried toward the top of the box. Mexican defender Gina Oceguera closed quickly on her, but not before Parlow pulled the trigger, hitting a skipping blast that Quinones got her hands on, but couldn't prevent from finding the lower left corner for a 2-2 tie.

In the 72nd minute, Milbrett once again ran down a ball deep in the corner before sending a perfect cross from the left side that flew over the Mexican defense to Hamm, who collected beautifully and then slammed her shot off the crossbar.

Mexico came into the match having never scored on the U.S., losing by a cumulative 41-0 in five previous losses.

Milbrett, midfielder Kristine Lilly and Hamm all got behind the Mexican defense early, but couldn't connect with a teammate for a shot. Defender and co-captain Carla Overbeck, playing in her second-to-last match for the U.S., hit the right post in the 22nd minute, the first of at least four American shots off the woodwork on the night.

In the 37th minute, Hamm burst up the middle and then played Lilly on the left flank, isolating her against Ana Del Bosque, who plays at the University of Portland. Lilly employed a stutter step at the top of the box, touched the ball to her left and lashed a shot into the lower right corner past the fully extended Quinones for a 1-0 lead.

The U.S., which outshot Mexico 29-6, almost extended its lead several times before halftime. Hamm slammed a header off the crossbar in 41st and then combined with Milbrett on several nifty give-and-goes up the middle, only to have the Mexican defense snuff out a potential shot.

"It was an entertaining and fast paced game," Hamm.said. "You saw a lot of good things on both sides. Mexico is a young team and they have this youthful enthusiasm about them. They're fearless and they're fun to play against. We had some opportunities that we didn't put away, and internationally, if you don't do that, you get in trouble. We made some mistakes, but people came off the bench and played really well for us. The thing for us tonight was to make sure Carla Overbeck went out on a winning note in one of her last games."

While Mexico made the U.S. defense scramble at the top of its own box several times, it failed to launch a dangerous shot in the first half. That changed after intermission when Mexico scored on both of its shots in the half.

Quinones kept her team in the game with a great save five minutes into the second half when she flew to tip a ripped volley from defender Brandi Chastain, pushing the ball just over the crossbar.

In the 57th minute, midfielder Iris Mora created a turnover in the midfield and sent a first-time through ball to Maribel Dominguez, who outran the U.S. defense to slot the ball under keeper Hope Solo to make it 1-1.

"Every since the summer of '99, women's soccer has really taken off around the world and you can see that in Mexico's improvement," Lilly said. ""Now with the professional league starting, it will be continue to be an exciting story and one the fans will want to come out and watch."

A poor clearance by Solo, who replaced starter Siri Mullinix for the second half, and a moment of inspiration by Mora combined to put Mexico in the lead 2-1. Solo, in just her third appearance for the full national team, came far out of her goal to clear a through-ball, but miskicked the ball. Mora was on the spot and smacked a first-time, 50-yard shot that bounced several times before rolling into the goal with Solo have no chance to retreat and save it.

The U.S. will close its 2000 season with its 41st game of the year against Japan next Sunday in Phoenix, a 5 p.m. match at Bank One Ballpark at 5 p.m. (ET).

United States 3, Mexico 2

Lineups: United States - Siri Mullinix (Hope Solo 46), Christie Pearce (Danielle Borgman 66) Carla Overbeck (captain), Kate Sobrero, Brandi Chastain (Michelle French 76), Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy (Nikki Serlenga 56), Lorrie Fair, Shannon MacMillan (Cindy Parlow 46), Tiffeny Milbrett, Mia Hamm (Sara Whalen 80). Mexico - Linnea Quinones, Ana Del Bosque, Lisa Nanez, Gina Oceguera, Monica Gonzalez, Monica Vergara, Fatima Leyva, Maribel Dominguez (captain), Iris Mora, Patricia Perez, Michelle Rico (Dioselina Valderrama 53, Ana Galindo, 88).

Scoring:
United States - Lilly (Hamm) 37.
Mexico - Dominguez (Mora) 57.
Mexico - Mora (unassisted) 65.
United States - Parlow (Serlenga) 70.
United States - Parlow (unassisted) 75.

Shots: United States 29, Mexico 6. Shots on goal: United States 12, Mexico 3. Saves: United States 1, Mexico 10. Corner kicks: United States 7, Mexico 0 Fouls: United States 8, Mexico 8. Offside: United States 2, Mexico 3.

Referee: Rachel Woo (United States). Assistant referees: Sharon Wheeler (United States), Diana Driggers (United States). Attendance: 11,121 at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas. Weather: Warm, breezy, 67 degrees

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