U.S. women, hot weather wither New Zealand, 5-0 American coach lauds team's 'dynamic' showing

May 31, 1998|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- New Zealand came into yesterday's game at RFK Stadium with a 1-1 record against the U.S. women's national team, its win occurring in 1987. And even match, eh? Looks deceive.

Outplayed from the opening minutes, the Kiwis, in black uniforms, found themselves punished not only by a wilting midday sun, but also by the red-hot Americans, 5-0. Several nice saves by keeper Rachel Howard, including a tip off the crossbar and a point-blank snuff, kept things from getting worse.

U.S. coach Tony DiCicco's decision to let his squad play a man down -- "practice" he called it, after Brandy Chastain went out ill about 15 minutes from the end -- didn't help, either. Neither did the absence of American star Mia Hamm, out with a hamstring injury, or the fact that the Yanks were tinkering with a new 4-3-3 alignment.

"It was lots of fun to watch," DiCicco said. "We played a very dynamic game."

The U.S. team, just back from three wins in Japan and on a 33-game home winning streak, got two goals and an assist from veteran Debbie Keller -- making eight goals in her past eight games.

Cindy Parlow opened the American scoring just six minutes into the game from 7 yards. Nine minutes later, Keller scored from 17, and three minutes later hit again, this time from 19.

Lorrie Fair, 19, a second-half substitute, scored her first international goal from 22 yards at 54 minutes, and 23 minutes later she sent a crisp, 15-yard killer pass into the box to Tiffeny Milbrett, who scored past the sliding, oncoming keeper.

Milbrett also assisted on one of Keller's goals and helped set up the other.

Pub Date: 5/31/98

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