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U.S. women

Formality of World Cup qualification is completed with 7-0 rout of Costa Rica.

SEATTLE (Wednesday, November, 2002) -- The United States women completed the formality of qualifying for the 2003 Women's World Cup tonight, defeating Costa Rica 7-0 behind three goals by striker Cindy Parlow in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals before 10,079 at SAFECO Field.

A sloppy first-half effort could not derail the Americans from walloping a hopelessly overmatched opponent for the fourth consecutive outing at this tournament which also serves as qualifying for next year's world championship. Since CONCACAF, the region of North America, Central America and the Caribbean has two automatic berths, both semifinal winners earned advancement.

"The best part about today was our players' response to winning," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "They were absolutely, genuinely elated that we earned the right to go back to the World Cup."

Canada defeated Mexico 2-0 in tonight's second match to also qualify. The U.S. and Canada meet in the rather anticlimactic Gold Cup final Saturday at the Rose Bowl at 10 p.m. (ET), a meeting televised by Fox Sports World.

"We still have a very important game left," said U.S. forward Mia Hamm who, nursing a minor shin injury, played only the final 19 minutes. "Our first goal was to qualify for the World Cup, and we did that, so now our goal is to win the Gold Cup."

Costa Rica and Mexico face off in an earlier third-place match with the winner facing an opponent from Asia for another birth in the World Cup which will be held in China from September 24 to October 11.

The U.S. outshot Costa Rica 37-1 and a U.S. goalkeeper has yet to face a dangerous shot in this tournament. The Americans have outscored their opposition 22-0 in four games hand held a 130-6 shots advantage. Only three opponent shots required saves.

Costa Rica managed virtually no possession beyond the center stripe, its players clearly less talented, poorly conditioned and less experienced, from a national that devotes only a small fraction of the resources that benefit the Americans. Still, the U.S. managed only a 1-0 lead going into intermission because of some horrendous finishing and an occasional good save by keeper Marie Claire Herra.

"We were pleased with way our team started off and the way we pursued goals," Heinrichs said. "We talked at halftime about being patient and confident, and if someone could please knock that glass shield off the goal so that we can put in a few in the second half. And that person was Cindy Parlow."

Parlow's first goal, in the 30th minute, gave the Americans some breathing room. A deft flick from Aly Wagner sent fellow midfielder Julie Foudy free down the right flank and for a beautiful cross two yards from the far post. On the receiving end was Parlow who calmly tapped the ball home with the outside of her right shin.

Parlow scored again in the 49th and 52nd minutes to allow the U.S. to coast. Parlow's second came off a header from defender Cat Reddick's long cross and then she used her head to put a corner kick by midfielder Kristine Lilly into the lower left corner.

"The service I received tonight was the best I've received all year with the national team," said Parlow, who now has 57 international goals with her fifth career hat trick. "I was talking with Cat Reddick at halftime and I was telling her that the early service behind the defense was on, and five minutes into the second half, she puts it right on my head."

United States 7, Costa Rica 0

Lineups: United States - Briana Scurry, Cat Reddick, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Jenny Benson (Lorrie Fair 46), Tiffany Roberts (Angela Hucles 46), Aly Wagner, Julie Foudy, Shannon MacMillan, Cindy Parlow (Mia Hamm 71), Kristine Lilly. Costa Roca - Marie Claire Herra, Gabriela Trujillo, Karol Segura, Monica Salazar, Cinthia Lopez, Xiomara Briceno, Maricela Rojas, Cindy Rodriguez (Heilyn Barrantes 82), Shirley Cruz, Ericka Castro (Jackeline Alvarez 46), Megan Chavez (Ana Gabriela Campos 74).

Scoring:
United States - Parlow (Foudy) 30.
United States - Parlow (Reddick) 49.
United States - Parlow (Lilly) 52.
United States - Hucles (MacMillan) 65.
United States - own goal (Lopez) 79.
United States - MacMillan (unassisted) 86.
United States - Lilly (Aly Wagner) 90.

Shots: United State 37, Costa Rica 1. Saves: United States 1, Costa Rica 11. Corner kicks: United States 17, Costa Rica 0. Fouls: United States 11, Costa Rica 9. Offside: United States 2, Costa Rica 1

Referee: Sonia Denoncourt (Canada). Assistant referees: Isabel Tovar (Mexico), Jackeline Sawz (Panama). Attendance: 10,079 at SAFECO Field in Seattle. Weather: Cool, dry, 45 degrees (roof closed).

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