Sept. 2, 2003
CARSON, Calif. - The U.S. Women's National Team got goals from five different players to roll past Costa Rica 5-0 Monday night in front of a crowd of 12,349 in the team's first ever match at The Home Depot Center, and second to last match prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003, which begins on Sept. 20. Former Santa Clara University soccer standout Aly Wagner netted a goal and an assist and was named the Chevrolet Woman of the Match.
While the U.S. had numerous close chances in the first 15 minutes, including driven headers from imposing forwards Cindy Parlow and Abby Wambach that sailed high, and a close-range shot from midfielder Angela Hucles that hit the left post, the USA didn't break through the Costa Rican bunker until the 17th minute. Wagner settled a short back pass from Parlow just outside the right side of the penalty area, sized up the frame and used her left foot to bend a perfect 19-yard shot into the upper left corner. It was Wagner's 11th international goal in her 46th game.
The U.S. continued to dominate the match, as symbolized by the roar of the crowd when goalkeeper Siri Mullinix touched the ball for the first time in the 38th minute, albeit with her feet. However, the U.S. couldn't add another score until the 41st minute, when Wagner took possession on the left side of the penalty area and hit a driven ball to the far post where Wambach powered a header into the right corner from close range before falling on Herra, temporarily injuring the goalkeeper.
At halftime, U.S. head coach April Heinrichs made six of the seven allowed subs, inserting Mia Hamm at forward, Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly in the midfield and Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett and Christie Pearce alongside Kylie Bivens in the back.
A fourth Bronco, Danielle Slaton, joined Wagner as a starter.
The biggest crowd roar of the night came in the 70th minute, when midfielder Shannon MacMillan entered the game for Wambach, marking an incredible return to the field just 102 days after reconstructive surgery on her right ACL on May 20. Despite missing the last three months of action, MacMillan still leads the team in scoring in 2003 with six goals and two assists.
Hamm punctuated the dominating U.S. performance when she pounced on a loose ball in the box and slotted it past Herra in the 82nd minute. The final stats revealed a whopping 32-0 advantage on shots and a 13-0 advantage on corner kicks.
The win was the 10th of the year for the U.S. women, who will play its final match before the FIFA Women's World Cup against Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. PT live on ESPN at Spartan Stadium up the coast in San Jose.
The U.S. opens its quest for a third Women's World Cup title on Sunday, Sept. 21 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., at 9:30 p.m. Pacific. From there, the U.S. travels to Philadelphia to face Nigeria on Sept. 25 at Lincoln Financial Field, before finishing Group A play on Sept. 28 versus North Korea at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
A complete recap of the match can be found at U.S. Soccer's website.