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- Milbrett finds net five times in 9-0 rout of Panama.
- Formality of World Cup qualification is completed with 7-0 rout of Costa Rica.

U.S. women

Hamm's overtime chip hands Americans Gold Cup crown 2-1 over Canada.

PASADENA, Calif. (Saturday, November 9, 2002) -- Striker Mia Hamm's goal four minutes into sudden death lifted the United States women to a 2-1 triumph over Canada to capture the Second CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup before 6,911 who braved the rain at the Rose Bowl tonight.

Both the U.S. and Canada had clinched berths in the 2003 Women's World Cup with their semifinal victories in this tournament on Wednesday.

In overtime, U.S. midfielder Aly Wagner won a header in the midfield, sending it to Hamm who beat defender Breanna Boyd to the ball. Though Boyd was battling Hamm, not seeming to give her enough room to get off a blast, Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc decided to come out -- a questionable decision -- and Hamm chipped her shot over the keeper from 18 yards for the 2-1 final in the 94th minute.

Hamm, who injured her shin early in a 3-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago October 29 in Group 1 action and had played sparingly since, replaced Tiffeny Milbrett after intermission. "Aly won that header and just put it over,'' said Hamm whose tally was her first of this tournament and world-record 136th in international competition. "Karina was doing a good job of coming out and I knew I had to hit it on the first touch. If I had tried to touch it again, she would have eaten the ball up.'

"I got hurt in the second game and I wanted to come back and play. The coaches talked about my coming in in the second half of this game as a tactical move.''

The Americans raised their all-time record against Canada to 24-3-2, but the Canadians were 2-2-1 in the five meetings prior to this competition which has been dominated by the U.S. The Canadians were also the last team to defeat the U.S. on home soil, a 3-1 victory two years ago. The Americans are 16-0 in home games since.

"Canada is an athletic team," said U.S. captain Julie Foudy who was strong in midfield. "They are combative and they're the kind of team that will always gets in a foot or a tackle. In conditions like this tonight, that's a perfect game for them, because they are a scrappy team. I give them tremendous credit. Their federation has put a lot of support behind their women's team and you can see the result."

Heavy afternoon rain stopped before the tonight's title match commenced, but there was a drizzle early in the contest and thick fog rolled in as intermission approached. By the time the second half began, however, both the fog and rain had cleared.

"Considering the conditions, I thought we played marvelously from start to finish. The weather is a great neutralizer,'' U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "Canada played a (defensive) bunker that we've seen in all the games the last two weeks. I thought we found a variety of ways to fight it and created chances.''

The U.S. went ahead 1-0 on a goal by Milbrett in the 27th minute. The sequence started when Wagner played a pass into midfielder Kristine Lilly's path on the left flank. Lilly beat speedy defender Candace Chapman around the corner and whipped a cross into the middle for Milbrett who was making a hard lateral run across the six-yard box. Milbrett beat midfielder Silvana Burtini to the ball and, with her first touch, fired a left-footed volley over LeBlanc into the roof of the net for her 95th international goal.

"It was an incredibly ball from (Lilly)," said Milbrett who tied for the Gold Cup lead with Canada's Chamaine Hooper and Christine Sinclair, each scoring seven goals. "She had to beat that defender, took her on a good 20 yards down the field and got off a great cross. I delayed my run a little bit and it was a perfect ball, perfect timing."

Hooper tied the match at 1-1 in first-half stoppage time, a goal obscured from many fans and a television audience by thick fog. Burtini's cross bounced off several of her teammates before popping free to Hooper who poked a soft shot that hit U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry's foot, then bounced back to Hooper who cracked the rebound off Scurry and into the roof of the net from close range.

It was Hooper's 10th career goal against the U.S. The goal ended the USA's 527-minute shutout streak in Gold Cup action dating back to the inaugural event in 2000.

"We have so much respect for Canada and how hard they play," Hamm said. "That's why our focus and commitment was there tonight. Every player made an impact in this tournament. Everyone unselfishly said, 'What do I have to do to win.' And that's how you win tournaments like this. It's a grind and people get injured, and other people have to carry the load, and this team did that."

The U.S. entered the final having outscored opponents 22-0 in four tournament games. Canada held a 25-1 edge in four outings.

Milbrett was named tournament "Most Valuable Player." "She's a world class finisher and she proved that again tonight," Hamm said.

In tonight's opener, Mexico kept its hopes for a World Cup berth alive, using two goals by Maribel Dominguez to beat Costa Rica 4-1 for third place.

Mexico will face an undetermined Asian nation in a home-and-home playoff for a Cup spot.

United States 2, Canada 1 (OT)

Lineups: United States: Briana Scurry, Kate Sobrero, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Cat Reddick, Tiffany Roberts (Lorrie Fair 46), Julie Foudy (captain), Kristine Lilly, Aly Wagner, Cindy Parlow, Tiffeny Milbrett (Mia Hamm 46). Canada - Karina LeBlanc, Breanna Boyd, Sharolta Nonen, Andrea Neil (Carmelina Moscato 46), Candace Chapman, Brittany Timko, Randee Hermus, Kara Lang (Melanie Booth 91+), Silvana Burtini, Christine Sinclair, Charmaine Hooper (captain).

Scoring:
United States - Milbrett (Lilly) 27.
Canada - Hooper (unassisted) 46+.
United States - Hamm (Wagner) 94.

Shots: United States 14, Canada 5. Saves: United States 1, Canada 4. Corner kicks: United States 5, Canada 2. Fouls: United States 8, Canada 19. Offside: United States 2, Canada 2.

Referee: Dianne Ferreira-James (Guyana). Assistant referees: Isabel Tovar (Mexico), Lynda Bramble (Trinidad & Tobago). Attendance: 6,911 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Weather: Wet, rain, fog, 64 degrees.

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