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Hamm, Wambach record hat tricks in 8-2 rout of Scotland.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sunday, September 8, 2002) -- Mia Hamm produced three goals and three assists while fellow striker Abby Wambach contributed three goals and an assist for the United States women who exploded for six second-half goals in routing Scotland 8-2 before 6,295 at Crew Stadium this afternoon.

After an unexpected first-half challenge and a 2-2 tie at intermission, Wambach and Hamm, teammates on the Women's United Soccer Association Washington Freedom, scored in the first five minutes of the second half to take control of the game.

The U.S. jumped ahead 3-2 in the 47th minute after Wambach sent defender Jenny Benson down the left wing, before she drifted into the middle. Benson, who was making her first start for her national team and third appearance, cut back against her defender and chipped a cross into the middle for Wambach to finish smartly with a falling header.

Three minutes later, Hamm sneaked in to pick off a poor back pass from defender Shelly Kerr, then went around stranded goalkeeper Gemma Fay to roll a shot into the net from a sharp angle on the left end line for a 4-2 advantage.

"We could have made several changes at halftime, maybe go with a three-front or play high pressure, which is our traditional way of playing, and maybe that wins that game for us," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "But we stayed with the 4-4-2, stayed in a low-pressure style and said 'Let's develop this system.' "

Kerr exacted some payback moments later, running through Hamm at midfield, causing the American to take a nasty fall before she rose slowly to her feet.

Wambach's second tally made it 5-2 in the 64th minute with her hammering a volley into the left corner after nicely settling a short pass from Hamm who had carried to the left end line.

Wambach returned the favor four minutes later when she took a pass from Hamm in the left side of the penalty area, carried deep and slipped a pass back to Hamm, who deftly re-directed the ball past Fay to complete her hat trick and make the count 6-2.

It was the 10th time Hamm had recorded three or more goals in a game, giving her a world-best career total of 133.

In the 78th minute, Hamm played a through ball to midfielder Shannon MacMillan down the right wing. MacMillan cut to the middle and deep into the box for to beat reserve keeper Claire Johnstone to the near post from four yards.

Wambach made it 8-2 in the 89th heading home a chip from Hamm.

"It was a great start for us, but the second half showed the difference between the two countries," said Scotland midfielder Fleeting, who plays in the WUSA with the San Diego Spirit. "I think we were real beat, as you could tell at the end. The heat is definitely different from what we are used and we struggled with that a bit, and our tired legs took its toll."

The U.S. opened the scoring in the 12th minute when midfielder Kristine Lilly slipped a pass to forward Cindy Parlow, making a diagonal run into the right side of the penalty area. She had enough space to take a touch and crack her shot to the near post under the arm of the diving Fay.

In the 34th minute, Scotland evened matters at 1-1 when midfielder Joanne Love collected a defensive clearance and fired a shot that was saved by a fully extended U.S. keeper Hope Solo. The rebound bounced right to Fleeting who buried a five-yard shot.

Forty second later, the Americans were back on top 2-1 after Lilly got free down the left flank and bent a cross on the ground into the box. Hamm slashed through two defenders to spin her shot through the legs of Fay.

In the 36th minute, Fleeting slid on the end line to save a ball and cross it to striker Debbie McWhinnie who beat both Solo and defender Kate Sobrero to the cross at the near post and put her shot away.

Scotland nearly took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Fleeting worked a breakaway with only Solo to beat, but rolled her shot just wide right. The Scots did not a shot on goal after that.

The U.S. women are next in action September 29 through October 9 with the U.S. Women's Cup which includes Italy, Australia and Russia.

United States 8, Scotland 2

Lineups: United States - Hope Solo (Briana Scurry 46), Kate Sobrero (Heather Mitts 64), Thori Bryan (Kelly Lindsey 46), Brandi Chastain, Jenny Benson, Tiffany Roberts (Jena Kluegel 62), Lorrie Fair, Kristine Lilly (Angela Hucles 46), Julie Foudy (Shannon MacMillan 64), Cindy Parlow (Abby Wambach 46), Mia Hamm. Scotland Gemma Fay (Claire Johnstone 76), Shelly Kerr (Suzi Robertson 84), Stacey Cook, Nicky Grant, Michelle Barr, Julie Smith (Megan Sneddon 65), Joanne Love (Finella Annand 73), Mhairi Gilmour (Alana Bruce 88), Donna James, Julie Fleeting (Suzanne Grant 76), Debbie McWhinnie.

Scoring:
United States - Parlow (Lilly) 12.
Scotland - Fleeting (Love) 34.
United States - Hamm (Lilly) 35.
Scotland - McWhinnie (Fleeting) 36.
United States - Wambach (Benson) 47.
United States - Mia Hamm (unassisted) 50.
United States - Wambach (Hamm) 64.
United States - Hamm (Wambach) 68.
United States - MacMillan (Hamm) 78.
United States - Wambach (Hamm) 89.

Shots: United States 24, Scotland 6. Shots on goal: United States 15, Scotland 3. Saves: United States 1, Scotland 3. Corner kicks: United States 6, Scotland 1 Fouls: United States 5, Scotland 17. Offside: United States 1, Scotland 1. Yellow card caution: Scotland - Cook 37.

Referee: Rachel Woo (United States). Assistant referees: Sharon Wheeler (United States), George Vergara (United States). Attendance: 6,295 at Columbus (Ohio) Crew Stadium. Weather: Sunny, hot, 92 degrees.

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