Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly each scored two goals yesterday to help lead the U.S. women's national soccer team to a 9-8 victory over the World All-Stars in an indoor exhibition game before 13,258 at MCI Center.
The U.S. team (3-4) ended a four-game losing streak against the World All-Stars (4-3) on its seventh stop of a 12-city victory tour to celebrate the team's World Cup title last July.
The world squad was led by midfielder Hege Riise of Norway and forward Pretinha of Brazil. Each scored two goals.
"We played well," said Hamm, a graduate of Lake Braddock High School in Burke who played defensive midfielder rather than her usual role of forward. "Based on the players we have, we didn't have a lot of defenders, so one of us had to play defensive mid."
Hamm scored the U.S. team's first goal at the 11-minute, 1-second mark of the first quarter off a feed from forward Cindy Parlow. By halftime, the U.S. team had built a 6-1 lead. The U.S. team scored three more goals in the second half to hold off the All-Stars, who exploded for seven goals in the second half.
"We had almost forgotten what it was like to win," U.S. defender Brandi Chastain said. "At halftime, we were talking about it--'We're not losing focus.' That seemed to be our drop-off point at halftime [in previous games]. We would go up and just kind of cruise through the second half. And end off giving up five or six goals unnecessarily.
"We did a much better job defensively today. We got five people behind the goal as opposed to four in the past. I think we played harder. We had a determination about us that we weren't going to lose another game."
Yesterday's crowd was the second largest to watch the two teams play on this victory tour, which started Oct. 22 to drum up support for a women's pro soccer league. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala served as honorary coach of the U.S. team and cheered on the American players from the bench.
Many fans were members of girls and boys soccer teams. Brittany Doyle, 11, a sixth grader from Stafford County, came with 10 other teammates and her coach. "I like the U.S. women's World Cup team," she said. "That's what I want to be when I grow up: a famous soccer player."