Kristine Lilly set up two second-half goals to lead the United States to a 2-0 victory over Italy Sunday in the championship game of the U.S. Women’s Cup.
Cindy Parlow scored in the 68th minute and Mia Hamm added the clincher in extra time, both on passes from Lilly.
“Lilly is one of the best midfielders in the world,” U.S. coach Tony DiCicco said. “She has been our most consistent player and it was a nice reward for her to get the two assists. They were both brilliant balls.”
Playing before a crowd of 11,208 fans at RFK Stadium, the United States dominated play, out-shooting Italy 20-7. The Americans had 10 corner kicks in the match, while U.S. keeper Briana Scurry (2 saves) didn’t have to face an Italian corner.
The U.S. team, the Olympic gold medalist, is unbeaten in its last 30 international games.
Debbie Keller, a second-half substitute, made nifty passes to Lilly on both of the goals.
“The Italian game is to bunch defensively and swarm the ball so they weren’t worried about the ball getting through,” Lilly said.
The first goal was spectacular, with Keller flicking the ball to a sprinting Lilly on the left side of the penalty area. Lilly made a pinpoint left-foot pass that Parlow headed past Giorgia Brenzan, the Italian goalie. It was her 14th international goal in 28 games.
“Lilly sent me such a perfect ball, if I would have missed, I never would have heard the end of it,” Parlow said.
Lilly used her right foot to find Hamm open from 12 yards, and Hamm easily beat Brenzan for her sixth goal in the three-game cup competition and her 78th international goal in 130 games.
Hamm scored just moments after a fall that left her motionless on the turf.