A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
HUCLES GOAL LEADS U.S. WOMEN PAST MEXICO 1-0 IN K.C.; USA FACES IRELAND IN CHICAGO, HOUSTON NEXT WEEK
KANSAS CITY, Mo
KANSAS CITY, Mo—-The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a deserved 1-0 shutout in front of 20,435 fans at Arrowhead Stadium as Angela Hucles scored in the first half to lift her team over Mexico in the fifth match of the 10-game “Fan Celebration Tour.”
It was the largest crowd to watch the U.S. women in 2004, besting the previous high of 18,806 that saw the USA defeat New Zealand, 6-0, last weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The win moved the USA to 5-0-0 during the 10-game tour and 25-1-3 on the year. The USA is now within two wins of breaking the record for most victories in a calendar year for the U.S. women (26, set in 2000), with five matches remaining on the “Fan Celebration Tour.”
On a chilly night in front of an appreciative crowd, the U.S. came up against a young, but pesky Mexican side that battled well against the Olympic champions on both ends of the field, only to produce one truly dangerous chance during the match. That came in the 33rd minute after a long ball sailed over the U.S. back line and onto the foot of Teresa Worbis, but she wasted her one-on-one chance by blasting her volley high over the crossbar from 18 yards out.
The USA, which created nine corner kicks in the first 30 minutes, and 13 for the match, finally broke through in the 36th minute off a great build-up instigated by a dynamic penetrating dribble from Hamm. The world’s all-time leading scorer then sent a nice pass down the left flank to Aly Wagner, who bent a pin-point early ball on the ground into the penalty area to the streaking Hucles, who ripped her shot off of Mexico goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar’s hands and into the lower right corner for her fifth career goal.
Hucles rolled her ankle in the 81st minute and had to leave the match. As the USA has already used all of its available substitutes, back-up goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was sent into the game to play forward. It was an extremely unique first cap for the 23-year-old Barnhart, a Stanford University senior who was called in only to replace the USA’s starting goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who had to miss this match due to a previous commitment. Barnhart, the starting goalkeeper for the USA’s Under-21 National Team, had several quality touches on the front line for the USA. She played a Pac-10 match for Stanford yesterday and will return to the Bay Area tomorrow morning to suit up for the Cardinal as they play Arizona State tomorrow afternoon.
Kristin Luckenbill made three saves in goal for the USA to earn her second career shutout.
The “Fan Celebration Tour” stops next in Chicago as the USA plays the first of two matches against Ireland on Wed., October 20 at Soldier Field (7:30 p.m. CT). The USA then travels to Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, October 23 (7 p.m. CT) for the second leg.
The “Fan Celebration Tour” will finish with two matches on the East Coast against Denmark on Nov. 3 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (7:30 p.m. ET) and on Nov. 6 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. (4 p.m. ET), before ending with yet-to-be confirmed match in early December.