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Solo is exceptional in goal, Lalor scores in 1-1 draw with China.

HANGZHOU, China (Sunday, January 14, 2001) -- Thirty thousand fans braved the most adverse of conditions and watched the United States and China battle to 1-1 draw in the first soccer match at the new Dragon Sports Centre Stadium this afternoon.

Hope Solo
Hope Solo
Outstanding goalkeeping from Hope Solo was a key to the U.S. holding on for a draw in the biting cold temperatures.

Midfielder Jennifer Lalor, making her first start for the U.S. in nearly six years, gave the Americans a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Fan Yunjie evened the score with a header four minutes later.

Solo made several spectacular saves -- seven total -- including fully extending her body in the 57th minute to turn away a hard shot by striker Bai Jie.

"Our players love to play China and love to play in this kind of an environment," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "It makes us play quicker and in the end, makes us better."

To begin the U.S. scoring sequence, Meredith Florance ran onto a pass down the left flank and squared up on her defender before playing a short square pass to fellow forward Tiffeny Milbrett who had come to support. Milbrett passed to a trailing Lalor who sent a spinning shot from just outside the penalty area to beat goalkeeper Han Wenxia for a 1-0 advantage.

Lalor and Milbtrett are teammates on the New York Power of the new Women’s United Soccer Association which begins play in April.

It was just the second career goal for Lalor in 29 international appearances She was a member of the bronze-medal 1995 World Cup team, but had not played for the national team since until coming on for the second half of Thursday’s 1-0 loss to China. For scoring the first goal in the new stadium, Lalor received a bonus of $1,250 from the local organizers.

China responded quickly to Lalor’s tally. Fan, a defender, put her head on a free kick from just outside the box and tucked the ball into the top left corner.

As was the case Thursday in Panyu, the crowd was wildly supportive of the home team.

"The crowds for these two games were like the World Cup in 1999, only we weren't on the receiving end of the support," Heinrichs said. "Every time China touched the ball in their attacking half, the crowd was deafening and it surely inspired their players. In 2000, we really only played two matches before the Olympics in which the players couldn't hear each other on the field. We've already played two this year."

With the tie, the U.S. has an all-time 11-7-9 record against China. The Americans will disband until preparations begin for the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March.

United States 1, China 1

Lineups: China - Han Wenxia, Ye Shimin (Zhang Ouying 57), Fan Yunjie, Li Jie, Xie Huilin (Wang Liping 66), Zhao Lihong, Liu Ying (captain), Pan Lina (Shi Mengyu 61), Xie Caixia, Bai Jie, Pu Wei. United States - Hope Solo, Thori Bryan (Keri Raygor 46), Kate Sobrero (captain), Lauren Orlandos (Christie Pearce 28), Michelle French, Lorrie Fair, Nikki Serlenga, Jennifer Lalor (Mary-Frances Monroe 59), Jena Kluegel (Aleisha Cramer 78), Meredith Florance (Stephanie Rigamat 59), Tiffeny Milbrett.

United States - Lalor (Milbrett) 17.
China - Fan (assist not recorded) 21.

Shots: China 15, United States 12. Saves: China 5, United States 7. Corner kicks: China 3, United States 1. Fouls: China 7, United States 9. Offside: China 2, United States 3.

Attendance: 30,000 (estimated) at Dragon Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou, China. Weather: Cold, windy, 38 degrees.

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