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Women's Gold Cup

Milbrett’s strike, great save by Mullinix, equal U.S. title, 1-0 over Brazil.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Monday, July 3, 2000) – As uninspiring as the first Women’s Gold Cup was, the final was dramatic. A tournament in which the 12 group matches were decided by an average of 6.3 goals, the championship was decided with a taut, one-goal affair played at a sustained fast pace.

Tiffeny Milbrett
Tiffeny Milbrett
Striker Tiffeny Milbrett found net in the 44th minute to give the United States a 1-0 triumph over Brazil for the title before a lively 20,123 at Foxboro Stadium tonight.

In the opener, China took third place by beating Canada 2-1.

The Americans were not pleased with their scoreless draw with Brazil in the Group A finale.

"We wanted to take it to them and were disappointed with the tie," Milbrett said. "We really wanted to make sure that Brazil could not stay with us. That’s what we wanted to do today. Since the tie, Brazil thought they were on even ground with us and we wanted to make sure they felt that they weren’t."

In the 44th minute, midfielder Julie Foudy fed forward Mia Hamm on the left flank. With defender Brandi Chastain overlapping on her left, Hamm cut back to her right and sent a pass into the middle of the penalty area. A yard to the left of the penalty spot, Milbrett met the pass and on her first touch, drilled a left-footer into the left corner beyond sprawling goalkeeper Maravilha. It was her 76th international goal.

"I just found myself open in the middle of the penalty box and I was just hoping Mia would find me," Milbrett said. "She gave me a great pass and I just one-timed it. She had the great vision to find me, I took a whack at it and it went in."

U.S. goalkeeper Siri Mullinix made a great point-blank stop midway through the second half to cover a terrible defensive lapse and preserve the lead. Sissi played Cidinha into wide-open space in the right side of the box, but the Brazilian waited too long to trigger her shot and Mullinix came up big, sliding to clear the ball away with a kick save.

For Mullinix, it was her 10th shutout of the year, two shy of the U.S. record of 12 in a year, held by Briana Scurry. Mullinix has played 1,170 minutes this year, permitting three goals, two on penalty kicks. She was named the top goalkeeper in the tournament while Milbrett earned "Most Valuable Player" honors.

"We look at Tiffeny and we sometimes catch ourselves watching her since she's so explosive," Hamm said. "She's one of the greatest speed-dribblers I've ever seen. I think she's even faster with the ball at her feet than without it. I love that she's so unpredictable and as a defender that is so disconcerting to play against. The goals she scores are very thoughtful goals and she doesn't just hit a screamer, she picks out her shots."

The Gold Cup is the fifth trophy won by the U.S. women this year, also bringing home championships in the Australia Cup in January, the Algarve Cup in March in Portugal, the Nike U.S. Women's Cup in Portland, Ore., in May and the Pacific Cup in Australia in June.

"I think the biggest statement is consistency," said U.S. coach April Heinrichs. "We've overcome adversity over the course of this year and played some of the best teams in the world. We've been consistent throughout with not only good results against the best teams, but the second tier of teams that can make a game destructive and difficult to win.

"The Gold Cup was a time in our schedule to start narrowing down a starting lineup. Of course we want to win the tournament, but what I told the team before is that winning is just the icing on the cake. The process, the journey, the growth we've had over the last five games is what is going to take us to become the single best team that we can be and that is what really matters in the Olympics."

The U.S. women, defending Women’s World Cup and Olympic champions, held a 20-11 shots advantage over the WWC bronze medalist.

The first half saw Brazil’s Sissi hit the crossbar on a 35-yard rocket and teammate Katia send a volley screaming over the crossbar,

In the 25th minute, Milbrett almost broke through the defense, but a last gasp tackle thwarted the attack. In the 40th minute, Milbrett ran onto a long ball and tried to chip a shot over Brazilian goalkeeper Andreia from 20 yards, but the ball flew tantalizingly over the goal.

Andreia played a spectacular tournament, which served as her international debut, but had to leave the match at halftime after suffering a thigh contusion. Women's World Cup starter Maravilha replaced her after intermission, but there was no repeat of the bobble that led to a goal by Cindy Parlow during that July 4, 1999, semifinal that allowed the Americans a 1-0 victory. Maravilhja made two great saves.

In the 52nd minute, Hamm crossed from the left wing to a wide-open Fair at far post, but her header was pushed just wide of the goal by Maravilha. In the 64th minute, a quick free-kick from the right flank found Milbrett inside the box, but her shot was tipped over the bar by the flying Maravilha. One minute earlier, Julie Foudy appeared to be knocked down in the box, but didn’t get the call from referee Virginia Tovar.

"Brazil brings a different style to the game and they are an emotional team," Hamm said. "They brought out some emotion in us tonight, but we have to use it to your advantage. You can't lose your head and get involved in these ticky-tack fouls and falling all over the place. We just needed to play. I think we did a good job of that tonight."

United States 1, Brazil 0

Lineups: United States - Siri Mullinix, Christie Pearce, Kate Sobrero, Joy Fawcett, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy (captain), Lorrie Fair (Nikki Serlenga 69), Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett, Cindy Parlow (Shannon MacMillan 62), Mia Hamm. Brazil - Andreia (Maravilha 46), Juliana, Monica, Daniela Alves, Tania, Cidinha, Deva (Priscilla 70), Sissi (captain), Katia (Maycon 46), Rosana, Roseli.

United States - Milbrett (Hamm) 44.

Shots: United States 20, Brazil 11. Saves: United States 5, Brazil 7. Corner kicks: United States 11, Brazil 2. Fouls: United States 18, Brazil 17. Offside: United States 3, Brazil 0. Yellow card caution: United States - Parlow 57.

Referee: Virginia Tovar (Mexico). Referee’s assistants: Maria Rodriguez (Mexico), Jackeline Saez (Panama). Attendance: 20,123 at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Weather: Warm, clear, 78 degrees.

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