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Parlow finds net twice in dominant 4-0 decision over Australia.

CARY, N.C. (Wednesday, October 2, 2002) -- Striker Cindy Parlow scored two goals while defender Brandi Chastain opened the scoring with a penalty kick for the second straight game, leading the United States past Australia 4-0 in the Nike U.S. Women's Cup before 2,661 at SAS Stadium tonight.

In the second game, Russia (1-1, 3 points) recorded a 2-1 triumph over Italy (0-1, 0). That means the U.S. (2-0, 6) can make it nine U.S. Women's Cup crowns in nine tries with a victory or draw against Italy here Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET), a match that will be televised by ESPN2.

The tournament ends next Wednesday when Italy faces Australia here.

Tonight's match was an improvement in rhythm and energy from the U.S.'s somewhat lackluster 5-1 opener against Russia Sunday. It's difficult for these players who play 40 games and 11 months out of the year to get excited for every game," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "Collectively, our team struggled mentally for the Russia game and we all knew we had to be better tonight. You saw some dynamic, attacking, creative soccer. We created enough chances to win and scored some nice goals."

The U.S. dominated the match, out-shooting the Matildas 14-3, but found space in the offensive third lacking because of the Australians' organization. Before taking the lead, the Americans endured one scary moment in the ninth minute when Auatralian defender Gillian Thomson worked free into the left side of the U.S. penalty area and slid a pass across to striker Joanne Peters whose sliding shot on goal was blocked by sliding defender Danielle Slaton.

From there, the U.S. dominated, taking a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute on Chastain's penalty kick which hit the left post and hit goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri's heel before going in. The PK, leading to Chastain's 27th career goal, was awarded after striker Mia Hamm played a short pass to Parlow who was chopped down by defender Dianne Alagich at the top of the box.

Seven minutes later, Hamm slipped a short pass into the left side of the penalty area to advancing midfielder Kristine Lilly who slid a cross on the ground for Parlow to re-direct into the right corner from six yards out with the outside of her right foot to make it 2-0.

"Cindy's a threat in the box every time we get in there and every time we have a set play," Heinrichs said. "I'm pleased with her. I think she knows she played well tonight. With her back to goal, she was a little more confident. She was dangerous running at players and also playing her teammates in."

Midfielder Aly Wagner almost added to the lead after Parlow had beat Cheryl Salisbury in the right side of the box and found Wagner for a spinning shot off the crossbar from 13 yards. Defender Joy Fawcett almost scored off a flick from a corner kick in the 44th minute, but the ball was smothered by Barbieri at the near post.

In the 58th minute, another Fawcett flick off Hamm's blistering corner kick allowed the Americans to expand the margin to 3-0. Parlow, jostling with her defender, stepped in front and volleyed the ball with the outside of her foot off a defender and just over the goal line for her 52nd international goal.

"On both goals, I had great passes," Parlow said. "On the first one, Mia and Kristine played a great combination and it was pretty easy shot for me. I just had to flick it. Mia's service was key on the second one. It came off Joy and I just had get through couple of defenders to kick it in."

In the 74th minute, striker Shannon MacMillan recorded her 48th international goal and team-leading 13th tally of the year with a bending left-side corner kick for a 4-0 advantage.

"This is a big field and you want to try to compact the other team as much as possible," Hamm said. "We were patient and let them play around with the ball in the back and then they got forward into our zones and gave us the opportunity to step in an intercept balls."

Goalkeeper Siri Mullinix received her first start of 2002, her first action with the national team since a 1-0 victory over Canada on July 3, 2001, in Blaine, Minn.

United States 4, Australia 0

Lineups: United States - Siri Mullinix, Kate Sobrero (Cat Reddick 62), Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Danielle Slaton (Tiffany Roberts 68), Kristine Lilly, Lorrie Fair, Julie Foudy (Angela Hucles 62), Aly Wagner (Heather O'Reilly 75), Mia Hamm (Shannon MacMillan 64), Cindy Parlow (Abby Wambach 64). Australia - Melissa Barbieri, Diane Alagich, Anissa Tann, Rhian Davies (Sacha Wainwright 46), Gillian Thomson (Thea Slayter 85), Cheryl Salisbury, Kelly Golebiowski (Amy Wilson 74), Olivia Hohnke (Heather Garriock 46), Joanne Peters, Tal Karp (Peita-Claire Hepperlin 83), April Mann (Natalie Thomas, 74).

United States - Chastain (penalty kick) 23.
United States - Parlow (Lilly) 34.
United States - Parlow (Fawcett) 58.
United States - MacMillan (unassisted) 74.

Shots: United State 14, Australia 3. Shots on goal: United States 8, Australia 2. Saves: United States 0, Australia 5. Corner kicks: United States 5, Australia 2 Fouls: United States 9, Australia 12. Offside: United States 2, Australia 0. Yellow card cautions: Australia - Salisbury 89.

Referee:Riabel Trujillo (United States). Assistant referees: Jon Wilson (United States), Kim Oberle (United States). Attendance: 2,661 at SAS Stadium in Cary, N.C. Weather: Hot, humid, 80 degrees.

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