Women's Gold Cup
MacMillan’s pair guides U.S. into title match with 4-1 decision over Canada.
The U.S. faces Brazil Monday at 9 p.m. at Foxboro Stadium near Boston in a match televised on ESPN2 to decide the Gold Cup title. Brazil advanced to the final by defeating China 3-2 on Cidinha’s penalty kick two minutes into a second sudden-death period, the 107th minute.
U.S. coach April Heinrichs made three changes in the starting lineup from the 0-0 draw with Brazil at Foxboro Stadium last Tuesday, giving Danielle Slaton the nod at left back, while inserting Nikki Serlenga in the midfield and MacMillan on top of the 4-3-3 formation. The changes paid offensive dividends when Serlenga and MacMillan, both San Diego natives who attended the same high school, combined for the first two goals.
In the 12th minute, Serlenga got loose on the right flank and carried for about 30 yards before hitting a weak-side pass to MacMillan across the field on the left flank. MacMillan collected the ball on the run and cut hard to the net, leaving two defenders in her wake before sticking a bending shot into the right side of the net. Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc did not even move.
MacMillan sat out the Brazil match at Foxboro because a slight injury suffered against Costa Rica, but looked to be fully fit as she blasted a hole in the Canadian defense in the 38th minute. MacMillan took a short pass from Serlenga in the midfield and dribbled up the middle before crushing her 25-yard shot past LeBlanc who again didn’t move.
"What I try to do every game is strike the ball hard," MacMillan said. "Especially, on the second goal, when I saw the defense open up, I took advantage and put everything I had on the shot."
Said U.S. coach April Heinrichs, "Both of Shannon's goals were beautiful. Shannon's goal in life, other than winning soccer games, is to rip the skin off the ball every time she kicks it. She ripped the stitching, the logo and coloring off the ball on both those goals."
In the 43rd minute, striker Tiffeny Milbrett danced her way loose in the right side of penalty box and spun her left-footed shot to the far post, just kissing it off the woodwork. She would not be denied three minutes later, when Julie Foudy played a thread pass to her in the middle of the field. Milbrett faked to the inside as she collected the ball, freezing the Canadian defense, then let the ball roll across her body and was in alone. At full speed, she ripped her left-footed blast high into the goal at the near post from 13 yards for her 75th international score and a 3-0 advantage in extra time.
Charmain Hooper put Canada back to within 3-1 in the 58th minute with a penalty kick after she was ruled to have been grabbed in the box by defender Kate Sobrero. The tally ended a 512-minute scoreless streak for U.S. keeper Siri Mullinix, who last gave up a goal on May 31, also on a penalty kick, that one against China in the Pacific Cup.
Seven minutes later, forward Mia Hamm restored the lead to 4-1 when she took a pass from Foudy at the top of the box, whirled with the ball, sidestepped Breanna Boyd and blasted the ball off the diving LeBlanc's hands and into the upper left corner.
Mullinix made three saves. In the 79th minute, she came hard to dive at the feet of Hooper and smother a chance. In the final seconds, Mullinix flew to the upper left corner to tip away Hooper's drive from 35 yards.
United States 4, Canada 1Lineups: United States - Siri Mullinix, Danielle Slaton, Kate Sobrero, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy - captain (Lorrie Fair 72), Nikki Serlenga, Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett (Sara Whalen 62), Shannon MacMillan, Mia Hamm (Susan Bush 74). Canada - Karina LeBlanc, Cindy Walsh, Isabelle Morneau, Marie-Claude Dion (Andrea Neil 66), Breanna Boyd, Clare Rustad, Amy Walsh, Charmaine Hooper, Christine Sinclair, Kristina Kiss, Silvana Burtini (Christine Latham 46).
Shots: United States 16, Canada 12. Saves: United States 3, Canada 8. Corner kicks: United States 6, Canada 2. Fouls: United States 14, Canada 10. Offside: United States 5, Canada 7.
Referee: Martha Toro Pardo (Colombia) Referee’s assistants: Lynda Bramble (Trinidad & Tobago), Isabel Tovar (Canada). Attendance: 11,140 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Ky. Weather: Warm, clear, 82 degrees.