Hamm comes off bench to score winner as U.S. defeats Sweden 1-0; will meet Norway in final.LAGOS, Portugal (Thursday, March 16, 2000) -- Maybe the sixth time will be a charm.
The United States women have won two of the three Womenís World Cups and the only Olympic title, but have never capture he Algarve Cup in five previous tries. After Mia Hammís 116th career goal, in the 65th minute, pushed the U.S. past Sweden 1-0 today, only arch-rival Norway stands between the Americans and the Algarve title.
Goalkeeper Siri Mullinix, making her fourth international appearance, made five saves before 350 at Municipal Stadium, allowing the U.S. to win Group A with a 3-0 record. Sweden finished 2-1.
Denmark (1-2) took third place with a 2-0 victory over Portugal (0-3)
In Group B, Norway finished 3-0 after shocking China (2-1) by a score of 3-0 with all three goals coming from Dagney Mellgren. Canada (1-2) finished third after a 2-1 decision over Finland (0-3).
New U.S. coach April Heinrichs now has a 3-2 record with both losses at the hands of Norway, the only nation with a winning record against the Americans at 13-10-1.
Hamm scored after coming on after intermission, making only her sixth relief appearance in nine years. "Even though I came on at half, I think the transition was easier because I watched the commitment of everyone in the first half," she said. "You couldnít help but get excited and motivated with everyone working so hard. I just tried to lift the level and not let it go back down because everyone had stepped up their games to gain the momentum at the end of the first half."
Midfielder Shannon MacMillan, who netted the winner Tuesday in a 2-1 decision over Denmark, was the catalyst for Hammís winner. MacMillan ran down a long pass from Julie Foudy down the right flank, touched the ball around Kristin Bengtsson and then battled the Swedish defender step-for-step for 15 yards. Several strides past the top of the penalty area, still locked up with Bengtsson, MacMillan slid to curl a pass behind the defense to a streaking Hamm, who struck a low, hard shot into he left corner for the 1-0 advantage.
"I was a little late on my run," Hamm said. "I saw Mac trying to get around her player, so I stayed wide and didnít go near the post. The next thing I knew, I saw the ball coming across the goal. It was such a nice pass that it was harder to miss than make."
Sweden got the best of the early going, taking four shots before the U.S. put its first in the 18th minute. Swedish striker Hanna Ljungberg wasted a golden opportunity to put her side up in the 12th minute when she slipped behind the American defense, but shot just wide right from 16 yards.
For the second straight match, forward Cindy Parlow used her head to save a goal off her line, this time in the 14th minute.
The U.S. did have five good chances before the break, three coming from striker Tiffeny Mibrett, who hit the side netting, missed just wide right and drove one directly at keeper Ulrika Karlsson. In the 38th minute, midfielder Kristine Lilly sent a diving header just over the crossbar and soon after, Karlsson denied defender Joy Fawcettís header with a fine diving save.
The U.S. barely missed taking a lead in the 48th minute when Lilly cut around the right side of the defense, but saw her cross tipped away by Karlsson just before Milbrett got a foot on it.
"Sweden is a very industrious team," U.S. assistant coach John Ellis said. "They work very hard, are condensed on defense and attack in numbers. They are strong in the air and are just a difficult team to play against."
United States 1, Sweden 0Lineups: United States - Siri Mullinix, Christie Pearce, Carla Overbeck - captain, (Danielle Slaton 66), Joy Fawcett, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy, Tisha Venturini (Lorrie Fair 46), Kristine Lilly, Shannon MacMillan (Sara Whalen 66), Cindy Parlow (Mia Hamm 46), Tiffeny Milbrett. Sweden - Ulrika Karlsson, Karolina Westberg, Cecilia Sandell, Asa Lonqvist, Jane Tornqvist, (Eva Carneholm 81), Malin Mostrom, Kristin Bengtsson (Hanna Marklund 68), Malin Anderssen - captain, Malin Cwedberg (Therese Ojagran 59), Tina Nordlund (Linda Fagerstron 65), Hanna Ljungberg (Erin Flyborg 86).
Shots: United States 12, Sweden 7. Saves: United States 5, Sweden 4. Corner kicks: United States 7, Sweden 1. Fouls: United States 9, Sweden 11. Offside: United States 5, Sweden 0
Referee: Katrina Elovirta (Finland). Assistant referees: Ana Paz (Portugal), Martins Albino (Portugal). Attendance: 350 at Municipal Stadium in Lagos, Portugal. Weather: Clear skies, sunny, windy, 75 degrees.