- Hamm's overtime chip hands Americans Gold Cup crown 2-1 over Canada.
Lackluster performance by both sides results in 0-0 draw with Japan.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Sunday, January 12, 2003) -- The United States women opened 2003 with a lackluster 0-0 draw with Japan before 5,099 at Torero Stadium this afternoon.
Each team managed only one shot on goal through 90 minutes as the U.S. was held scoreless for the first time in 17 matches, dating back to a scoreless tie against Germany last January 25. After losing the first 13 meetings of the series by a cumulative 54-5, Japan has tied the Americans in the last two meetings, including 1-1 on December 17, 2000, in Phoenix.
The U.S. next heads to the Four Nations Tournament in China which takes place January 23-29 and includes Norway, Germany and China in a round-robin format. The Americans leave Thursday for China, the site of the 2003 Women's World Cup September 23-October 11.
"When you've have some time off, the last thing that comes back is the finishing touch," said U.S. coach April Heinrichs after a two-month layoff. "You are a step off, or your shots are a few inches wide, but overall it was a great start for us heading into the Four Nations Tournament. We gave a lot of players the chance to play today and the team is ahead of where we were last year at this time."
Heinrichs used all 18 players on her roster. The U.S. has not lost in its last 17 matches on home soil.
The U.S. got the better of possession, but displayed little touch on 12 shots, most of which sailed high. Japan goalkeeper Nozomi Yamago made the one save required of her and ably handled numerous crosses into her box.
Japan managed four shots, but produced the game's most dangerous chance on a left-side cross by defender Emi Yamamoto into the middle of the penalty area in the 71st minute. U.S. keeper LaKeysia Beene came out, but missed the ball which rolled wide of the right post for midfielder Kaoko Kawakami to run on to. With Beene out of position, Kawakami had plenty of open net staring her in the face, but she shanked her angled attempt and it rolled wide of the far post.
"Japan possesses the ball as well as anyone in the world," Heinrichs said. "They are a team that will qualify for the Women's World Cup."
Perhaps the best American chance of the match came in the 39th when midfielder Shannon MacMillan hit a bending free from the right flank. Striker Cindy Parlow flicked the ball on and it bounced to the far post where defender Brandi Chastain headed the ball over the crossbar.
"Sometimes you can appease yourself by saying that we played well and that the game was a good start to the year for us, but it really was," Chastain said. "The goals will come. We have great goal scorers. And our back four is very organized and working very well with the other two lines."
The U.S. will train for three more days in San Diego before departing for China.
United States 0, Japan 0
Lineups: United States - Siri Mullinix (LaKeysia Beene 46), Kate Sobrero (Thori Bryan 57), Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Cat Reddick, Tiffany Roberts (Angela Hucles 46), Lorrie Fair (Lindsay Tarpley 68), Aly Wagner, Shannon MacMillan (Jena Kluegel 46), Tiffeny Milbrett (Heather O'Reilly 46), Cindy Parlow (Abby Wambach 46). Japan - Nozomi Yamago, Yasuyo Yamagishi, Yuka Miyazaki, Mai Nakachi (16-Emi Yamamoto, 57), Yumi Obe, Tomoe Sakai (Akiki Sudo 75), Yayoi Kobayashi, Naoko Kawakami, Homare Sawa, Tomoko Suzuki (Karina Maruyama 70), Shinobu Ohno (Mio Otani 46).
Shots: United States 12, Japan 4. Saves: United States 1, Japan 1. Corner kicks: United States 5, Japan 3. Fouls: United States 7, Japan 14. Offside: United States 0, Japan 1.
Referee: Sandra Hunt (United States). Assistant referees: Roger Itaya (United States), Fabio Tovar (United States). Attendance: 5,099 at Torero Stadium in San Diego. Weather: 68 degrees, sunny, breezy.