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U.S. women

Lilly’s 200th cap should be highlight of U.S. Cup despite weakened field

(Thursday, May 4, 2000) -- Little mystery is expected for the United States women this weekend. They will easily win their Nike U.S. Cup and in Sunday’s final, midfielder Kristine Lilly will become the first player -- man or women -- to record 200 international appearances for her nation.

At Civic Stadium in Portland, Ore., Canada meets South Korea in a 9:30 p.m. (ET) semifinal, followed by the U.S. against Mexico.

The championship match, televised live by ESPN2, will be Sunday at 2:30 p.m., followed by the third-place match.

The Americans have won all six previous U.S. Cups, compiling a perfect 18-0 record even though each of the tournaments had at least one world power -- China or Noway -- in the field. The round-robin four-nation format has been discarded for the first time, with participants playing in a total of two matches, starting with knockout semifinals tomorrow.

None of this year's participants are considered to be in a class with the Americans with only Canada somewhat close. But the U.S. women can be sure of a real test July 12-31 on a five-match trip through Europe announced this week.

The U.S. will travel to Germany for a tournament that starts July 12, part of wide-ranging celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the German Soccer Federation (DFB). In addition to the hosts, the competition also features China and Norway, perhaps making for the finest four-team women's tournament since the 1993 U.S. Women's Cup which included those same four teams and was won by the U.S.

The U.S. (1991, ’99) and Norway (1995) own the three Women's World Cup titles. Germany is the two-time defending European champion and China was the runnerup at the 1996 Summer Olympics and 1999 Women's World Cup, meaning that four of the world's finest women's soccer nations will clash for pre-Olympic bragging rights.

The six-game DFB 100th Anniversary Tournament will be played in doubleheaders on three dates in three German cities, all no more than 100 miles from Hannover in the northern part of the country.

The Americans will open against Norway on July 16 in Osnabrück. The Americans face China in Gottingen on July 19 and finish the tournament with Germany on July 22 in Braunschweig in a match that will be televised live nationally throughout Germany. The tournament winner will be determined on total points.

Following the three matches in Germany, the U.S. will travel to Norway for a two-game set with its arch-rival.

Before the newly announced tour, the U.S. will play in two oter major competitions: the Pacific Cup in Australia in June and the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup (which also includes China) in July.

Of the 19 players on the roster for the U.S. Cup, 14 veterans of the U.S. 1999 Women's World Cup championship team.

Former University of Portland stars Tiffeny Milbrett and Shannon MacMillan return to the city where they first gained national prominence.

American U.S. Cup roster:

Goalkeepers: Sirri Mullinix, age: 21 (home town: Greensboro, N.C., 6 international appearances), Briana Scurry, 28 (Dayton, Minn., 99), Hope Solo, 18 (Richland, Wash., 1)

Defenders: Brandi Chastain, 31 (San Jose, Calif., 111 appearances\22 goals), Joy Fawcett, 32 (Huntington Beach, Calif., 158\22), Carla Overbeck, 31 (Chapel Hill, N.C. 161\7), Christie Pearce, 24 (Point Pleasant, N.J., 59\4), Nandi Pryce, 18 (Casselberry, Fla., 6\0), Kate Sobrero, 23 (Bloomfield Hills, Mich., 38\0).

Midfielders:Lorrie Fair, 21 (Los Altos, Calif., 59\2), Julie Foudy, 29 (Mission Viejo, Calif., 171\33), Kristine Lilly, 28 (Wilton, Conn., 198\83), Shannon MacMillan, 25 (Escondido, Calif., 96\24), Nikki Serlenga, 21 (San Diego, 3\1). Sara Whalen, 24 (Greenlawn, N.Y., 48\3)

Fowards: Mia Hamm, 28 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 189\117), Tiffeny Milbrett, 27 (Portland, Ore., 137\68), Cindy Parlow, 21 (Memphis, 72\29), Christie Welsh, 19 (Massapequa Park, N.Y., 8\5)

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