FERREIRAS, Portugal - The U.S. women beat France 5-1 Sunday
on the first day of the Algarve Cup.
The Americans took a 4-0 first-half lead, two of the goals by
Abby Wambach scored the first goal for the United States,
heading in a cross from Mia Hamm in the 16th minute. It was
Wambach's 20th career goal in just 31 career international games.
''We definitely came out ready to play and were focused,''
Wambach said. ''We just played a great first half.''
Hamm, soccer's career scoring leader, made it 2-0 on a penalty
kick. Hucles scored on a header off Hamm's corner kick, then on
another feed from Hamm, who had a goal and three assists.
Lindsay Tarpley connected early in the second half. Five of the
first six U.S. shots found the net.
''The best part of today's game is that everyone who played,
played well,'' coach April Heinrichs said. ''You can't say that too
often, because this is a difficult game, but today everyone
This is the United States' ninth appearance in the Algarve Cup,
one of the world's most prestigious invitational tournaments. The
Americans won it in 2000 and 2003.
The 20-member U.S. roster includes many players who are expected
to compete in the Athens Olympics. Defender Joy Fawcett, midfielder
Kristine Lilly and striker Heather O'Reilly are not at the Algarve
Defenders Brandi Chastain and Kylie Bivens, along with
midfielder Lori Chalupny, have taken their places.
''This year, although players are match fit, they are also
fatigued. Raising the level of the younger players is the main
objective of this year's Algarve Cup,'' Heinrichs said.
The United States is in Group A of the event, and has upcoming
matches against Denmark and 2003 World Cup finalist Sweden. Norway,
Finland, Italy and China make up Group B.
The winners of the two groups meet in the final March 20.