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Late Gulbrandsen goal gives Norway 3-2 victory over U.S., berth in Algarve Cup title game

Second-half tallies by MacMillan, Wilson are good for 2-0 victory over England.

MacMillan's first-half goal enough for 1-1 draw with Sweden to open Algarve Cup.

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U.S. women

MacMillan continues spree with three to beat Denmark 3-2, take Algarve Cup fifth.

ALBUFEIRA, Portugal (Thursday, March 7, 2002) -- Striker Shannon MacMillan continued her torrid scoring, notching three goals in a game for the second time in her career, enough to lead the United States women to a 3-2 decision over Denmark for fifth place in the Ninth Algarve Cup before 250 at Montechoro Training Complex today.

By scoring in a fifth straight match dating back to a 2-0 victory over host China on January 27, MacMillan netted seven of the eight goals for the U.S. in compiling a 2-1-1 record in this tournament.

"I was on the receving end of a lot of good crosses and great through balls. I really had a lot of opportunities in this tournament," said MacMillan who earned the tournament's Golden Boot as the event's top goal scorer, increasing her totals to 10 international goals for 2002 and 45 for her career. "It felt like most of what I was hitting was going in so I just tried to keep taking shots. On the goal against Norway, I just heard Julie (Foudy) say, 'Hit it,' so I did, and by the time I looked up in was in the net."

China won the Algarve championship by defeating Norway 1-0 on an early goal from midfielder Zhao Lihong.

MacMillan’s two goals in a four-minute span midway through the first half put the Americans ahead to stay. By completing her hat trick in the 64th minute, she provided what proved to be necessary insurance.

"Without Parlow and Hamm, it is difficult for us to score and Mac stepped up to score seven goals in the tournament," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said of her injured strikers Cindy Parlow and Mia Hamm. "That boosts her confidence and she is reaching a new level for us where she is scoring, making space for us, holding possession and creating chances."

The game was played on a rather small field, 106 yards long by 64 yards wide which compressed both teams’ efforts, but also provided an impetus for direct play and thus end-to-end action.

"We saw a lot of good things out there," Heinrichs said. "It was a very, very small field and that doesn't favor the U.S. team. But the bright spots were that (veteran defender) Joy Fawcett is stepping up her leadership for us and we were able to play some younger player and invest in their development. We were able to play some players to help us evaluate them for the long term and find out which ones will be able to help us in 2003 and which ones are continuing to grow."

The U.S. withstood a shaky start that saw its goalkeeper Hope Solo stop a breakaway from Merete Pedersen in just the third minute before Denmark’s striker Lene Jensen hit the crossbar a minute later.

Forward Kelly Wilson, a freshman at the University of Texas, made her first career start for the full national team and played a solid 90 minutes, creating MacMillan's first goal in the 29th minute by sending a high cross from deep on left flank. Goalkeeper Tine Cederkvist misjudged the ball a bit and MacMillan, making hard run at far post, smacked a first-time volley into right corner with the inside of her right foot with the shot grazing the right post on the way in.

MacMillan made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute, courtesy of a fine pass from forward Danielle Fotopoulos who ran onto long ball and touched it perfectly over defense into the right side of the penalty area. MacMillan allowed the ball to come to a roll before clinically striking a first-time bullet inside the lower far post.

The U.S. was aided by the booming punts of Solo which kept Denmark on its heels, but on more than one occasion, the kicks bounced directly into the arms of the opposing keeper.

Firmly in control of the match, the U.S. let Denmark back into the game less than two minutes into the second half. Halftime substitute Janne Madsen crossed from the right side to Jensen who was slashing through the middle and lifted a header over Solo who had taken a step toward the cross.

With new life, the Danes battled for an equalizer, but MacMillan restored the Americans’ two-goal cushion with 26 minutes remaining. In a wild sequence, MacMillan's corner kick from the left side was headed back to her on the flank. She spun a high cross into the middle that bounced around before U.S. midfielder Devvyn Hawkins caught up to it and fed quickly to defender Kylie Bivens in the right side of the penalty area.

Bivens bent a high cross to the far post where MacMillan jumped over a defender to nod her header back into the right corner to make it 3-1.

The Algarve Cup "is always a great tournament and it really does simulate World Cup competition," MacMillan said. "You really have to be ready for every game or before you know it, you'll be playing for fifth place. Even though we didn't get the results we wanted this tournament, I think we are in a good place. We have a lot young players that are part of the future of this team and our veterans are still some of the best players in the world."

The final 20 minutes featured chances from both teams. Dane Merete Pedersen volleyed past the right post from 22 yards after a counter attack. In the 72nd minute, MacMillan sent a corner kick to the near post where it was flicked on Fawcett and into the hand of a Danish defender, but there was no call.

MacMillan sent the ensuing corner kick off the top of the crossbar.

Denmark pulled to within 3-2 in the 74th minute when captain Lene Terp sliced through the U.S. defense to put her head on a corner kick and nail the top left corner from six yards.

The U.S. was fortunate in the 84th minute after a Denmark attack put the U.S. under pressure and Bivens, sliding to clear the ball, made contact with an attacker in the top of the penalty area without referee Vibeke Karlsen making a call.

One minute later, reserve striker Heather O'Reilly, who came on for Fotopoulos in the 59th minute, beat a player in the right side of the penalty area, but hammered her shot into the side netting. In the 85th minute, defender Kate Sobero sent a wonderful pass over the defense on the left flank to MacMillan who cut her cross back to midfielder Aly Wagner for a dummy to Lorrie Fair. The U.S. midfielder shot wide right.

"The most important thing is that individuals get playing time and experience and grow," Heinrichs said. "Our Norway loss really exposed a lot of our weaknesses and they don't get exposed as much back in the (Women’s United Soccer Association) or playing for their college team or their U-21 team or when we are playing a team that isn't in the top five in the world as we don't get stretched as much. We did a lot of self-evaluation and players know where they stand and what they need to work on over the next two to three months. The big picture is that it's more important to build on these performances and how to play out of multiple formations against different conditions to develop players and the team over the long haul."

United States 3, Denmark 2

Lineups: United States Hope Solo, Thori Staples (Kylie Bivens 46), Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero, Jena Kluegel, Aly Wagner, Lorrie Fair, Devvyn Hawkins, Kelly Wilson, Danielle Fotopoulos (Heather O'Reilly 59), Shannon MacMillan. Denmark Tine Cederkvist, Gitte Andersen, Lene Terp (captain), Katrine Pedersen, Cathrine Paaske Sorensen, Louise Hansen (Signe Andersen 53), Christina Bonde (Janne Madsen 46), Sandra Jorgensen, Merete Pedersen, Julie Rydahl Bukh, Lene Jensen.

United States - MacMillan (Wilson) 29.
United States - MacMillan (Fotopoulos) 33.
Denmark - Jensen (Madsen) 47.
United States - MacMillan (Bivens) 64.
Denmark - Terp (Andersen) 74.

Shots: United States 15, Denmark 11. Shots on goal: United States 6, Denmark 6. Saves: United States 3, Denmark 3. Corner kicks: United States 9, Denmark 3. Fouls: United States 12, Denmark 11. Offside: United States 5, Denmark 4. Yellow card cautions: United States - Bryan 5; Denmark - K. Pedersen 29.

Referee: Vibeke Karlsen (Norway). Assistant referees: Kim Chalmers (Canada), Allan Thurston (Scotland). Attendance: 250 at Montechoro Training Complex in Albufeira, Portugal. Weather: Sunny, breezy, 76 degrees.

Algarve results

Championship: China 1, Norway 0
Third place: Sweden 2, Germany 1
Fifth place: United States 3, Denmark 2
Seventh place: Finland 3, Canada 0
Ninth place: England 4, Scotland 1
11th place: Portugal 4, Wales 0

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