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Hamm has two goals, assist in 5-1 rout of Russia to open Women's Cup.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (Sunday, September 29, 2002) - Striker Mia Hamm provided two goals and an assist while midfielder Aly Wagner added a goal and two assists, leading the United States women to a dominant 5-1 triumph over Russian to open the Nike U.S. Women's Cup before 4,322 at Mitchel Athletic Complex this afternoon.

Defender Brandi Chastain's penalty kick and striker Cindy Parlow's tallies gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead midway through the first half before a barrage of three goals in five minutes after intermission expanded the margin to five.

"The good thing about a good team is that you can get better during the game," said U.S. coach April Heinrichs. "That's a good sign of our team and some of our individual players. If you step out on the field and things aren't going well, your number one job is to find ways to make it better and I thought we did that in the second half."

The U.S. will face Australia Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and Italy next Sunday at 2 p.m. in remaining U.S. Women's Cup games, both at SAS Stadium in Cary, N.C., and broadcast on ESPN2.

The U.S. managed only three shots in the first 24 minutes today, but scored in the 25th on Chastain's penalty kick after Hamm was cut down in the box by defender Vera Stroukova.

Six minutes later, U.S. midfielder Kristine Lilly won a tackle on the left flank and drove to end line before she sending a floating cross to the far post. Hamm flew to the end line to save the ball with a flicked header, athletically looping the ball over goalkeeper Tatiana Pitchougova for Parlow to easily put away with her head and a 2-0 advantage.

It was Parlow's 50th international goal, becoming the sixth U.S. player to reach that threshold. Parlow's first tally was also against Russia in her first appearance for the national team in 1996.

Among three halftime substitutions, Heinrichs brought on Wagner who assisted Hamm's goals in the 59th and 62nd minutes. First, Wagner slipped the ball at an angle behind several defenders to Hamm in the box. Hamm reached the ball just before it went out and whipped a quick shot inside the near left post to make it 3-0.

Then, Wagner sent a through ball to Hamm, who was making a diagonal run into the box and had time to collect the ball and shoot into the right corner for her 135th career international goal and a 4-0 margin.

"Mia makes great runs," Wagner said. "She's such an awesome player, she's dynamic and the defenses just can't stay with her. She slices and dices through that back line and it's easy to put the ball in her path. Plus, she's a great finisher so she's going to finish the chances she gets."

Wagner made it 5-0 herself, hitting a solid header off a Kate Sobrero right-side cross over Pitchougova in the 64th minute.

"We're seeing some qualities in Aly that make her a world class player," Heinrichs said. "She has the ability to change the point of attack and has great composure in her possession and her decision-making with the ball. She also has the ability to find her teammates and put the ball on their feet."

Russia cut its deficit to 5-1 in the 84th minute when Natalia Barbachina converted a penalty kick after she was fouled by U.S. midfielder Joy Fawcett in the box.

"I was concerned with our mental preparation with this game," Heinrichs said. "It didn't seem like we were totally prepared to step on the field against a team in the World Cup. Quite a few of our players didn't prepare properly for this game and what you saw was a lot of carelessness out there."

United State 5, Russia 1

Lineups: United States - Briana Scurry, Kate Sobrero, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Danielle Slaton, Tiffany Roberts (Angela Hucles 46), Kristine Lilly (Lorrie Fair 46), Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm (Shannon MacMillan 64), 12-Cindy Parlow (Aly Wagner 46), Abby Wambach (Heather O'Reilly 39). Russia - Tatiana Pitchougova, Marina, Kolomiets, Natalia Karaseva (Anastassia Poustovoitova 46), Vera Stroukova, Svetlana Sedakova (Irina Mironova 69), Tatiana Skotnikova, Alexandra Svetlitskaya (Oxana Shmachkova 46), Natalia Barbachina, Olga Letyushova, Elena Fomina, Elena Jikhareva.

United States - Chastain (penalty kick) 25.
United States - Parlow (Hamm) 31.
United States - Hamm (Wagner) 59.
United States - Hamm (Wagner) 62.
United States - Wagner (Sobrero) 64.
Russian - Natalia Barbachina (penalty kick) 84.

Shots: United States 22, Russia 4. Shots on goal: United States 10, Russia 2. Saves: United States 1, Russia 4. Corner kicks: United States 5, Russia 3. Fouls: United States 16, Russia 10. Offside: United States 2, Russia 1.

Yellow card cautions: Russia - Jikhareva 40.

Referee: Rachel Woo (United States). Assistant referees: Steve Karaduzovic (United States), Brenda Wright (United States). Attendance: 4,322 at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. Weather: Sunny, breezy, 73 degrees.

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