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WUSA: Hooper, Beat on top after topping Washington
June 29th, 2003 12:45AM

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Atlanta rode an early Charmaine Hooper goal to beat Washington in a showdown and return to first place, and Carolina netted two late goals to earn a dramatic draw at New York in WUSA action on Saturday.

Marinette Pichon scored her league-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season as last-place Philadelphia grabbed a tie with visiting Boston.

Saturday's highlights:

Philadelphia 2 Boston 2: Ragnhild Gulbrandsen came off the bench to score her first career WUSA goal, an 88th-minute shot off the crossbar that left both teams with a point before 8,021 at Villanova Stadium.

Pichon, who grabbed the top spot in the league's scoring race with 22 points (10 goals, 2 assists), scored in the 25th and 84th minutes as the Charge (3-6-3, 12 points) twice pulled ahead. Melanie Hoffmann earned assists on both goals.

The Breakers (6-4-3, 21 points) answered both within four minutes. Dagny Mellgren's seventh goal of the season made it 1-1 in the 29th. Angela Hucles assisted both Boston strikes.

Gulbrandsen's WUSA career has been filled by injury. She has been limited to four games (128 minutes) this season and 10 games in two years.

Philadelphia was missing two backline starters, with Heather Mitts sidelined after fracturing her right tibia and Jenny Benson serving a red-card suspension. Rookie Rachel Kruze, assigned to stick to Boston's Maren Meinert, held the league's No. 2 scorer without a point. Pichon overtook Meinert (21 points) with her goals.

Atlanta 1 Washington 0: Hooper's second-minute strike, her fifth goal of the season, and the Beat's top-ranked defense held off the visiting Freedom (5-4-2, 17 points), which hasn't won in its past four games.

Hooper struck after Skylar Little miscleared a ball to her.

Washington managed just one shot on goal, which Briana Scurry saved in notching her fourth shutout of the season. Mia Hamm, held out the first half with a hamstring strain, revitalized the Freedom in the second half.

Atlanta (6-2-4, 22 points), which has surrendered only nine goals in 12 matches, is one point ahead of Boston and five ahead of third-place Washington and New York.

The match, which drew 10,124 to Herndon Stadium, was halted for more than a half-hour in the 23rd minute by lightning.

New York 3 Carolina 3: The Courage (4-6-3, 15 points) twice took advantage of Power miscues in the closing minutes, getting a Birgit Prinz goal deep into stoppage time to pick up a point before 4,404 at Mitchel Athletic Complex.

Danielle Borgman trimmed New York's 3-1 lead after a poor Cheryl Salisbury clearance in the 85th minute, and Prinz scored her eighth goal of the season in the 95th after the Power (5-7-2, 17 points) failed to clear a ball from its box.

Krista Davey scored a sixth-minute goal and added two assists in her second Power start of the season, and Tiffeny Milbrett scored her first goal at home since 2001 as New York built a two-goal advantage by the 56th minute. Milbrett, who had gone 13 successive home games without a goal, also had an assist on Davey's goal.

Rookie Heather Beem netted her first WUSA goal five minutes into the second half, a header from Davey's cross.

Venus James, starting up front in place of injured Danielle Fotopoulos -- who tore her left anterior cruciate ligament in Wednesday's tie at San Jose -- scored from a Prinz assist in the 33rd minute.

New York has given up a league-worst 33 goals in 14 matches, an average of 2.36 per game. The Power last season gave up 62 goals, 2.95 per match.

SATURDAY'S SUMMARIES

June 28 at Villanova, Pa.

Philadelphia 2 Boston 2. Goals: Pichon (Misaki, Hoffmann) 25; Pichon (Fair, Hoffmann) 84; Mellgren (Hucles) 29, Gulbrandsen (Hucles) 88.

Philadelphia -- Moore; Fair, McVeigh, Kruze, Tietjen-Prozzo; Makinen; Misaki (Hall, 77), Hoffmann, Tullock, Burt; Pichon.

Boston -- LeBlanc; Kluegel (Gulbrandsen, 80), Sobrero, McCann, Gonzalez; Mugneret-Beghe, Hucles, Monroe (Hawkins, 57), Lilly; Meinert, Mellgren.

Yellow cards -- Philadelphia: Burt 38.

Referee -- Kari Seitz.

A -- 8,021.

June 28 at Atlanta

Atlanta 1 Washington 0. Goals: Hooper 2.

Atlanta -- Scurry; Bivens, Nonen, N. Augustyniak, Gaston; Sawa (Withers, 85), Serlenga; Parlow (Crumpton, 67), Dominguez (Miller, 46); Pohlers (J. Augustyniak, 85), Hooper.

Washington -- Mullinix; S. Little, Moore, Grubb, Barr; Stoecker (Lindsey, 65), Golebiowski (Hamm, 46), Minnert, Jones; Little, Wambach.

Yellow cards -- None.

Referee -- Terry Vaughn.

A -- 10,124.

June 28 at Uniondale, N.Y.

New York 3 Carolina 3. Goals: Davey (Tietjen, Milbrett) 6, Beem (Davey, Rapp) 50, Milbrett (Davey, Boxx) 56; James (Prinz) 33, Borgman 85, Prinz (Fettig) 95+.

New York -- Webber; Pearce, Raveia (Orlandos, 51), Salisbury, Tietjen; Davey (Janss, 81), Peters, Boxx, Rapp (Baumgardt, 77); Milbrett, Beem (Pearman, 88).

Carolina -- Luckenbill; Boyd, Baxter (McCullough, 71), Fettig, Slaton (Wallis, 61); Burt, Roberts, O'Hanley (Borgman, 62), Lehn (Overbeck, 71); James, Prinz.

Yellow cards -- New York: Orlandos 92+; Carolina: Lehn 58.

Referee -- Michelle Tubre.

A -- 4,404.

WUSA STANDINGS

Pl W-L-T Pts (GF-GA)
1. Atlanta 12 6-2-4 22 (24-9)
2. Boston 13 6-4-3 21 (21-22)
3. Washington 11 5-4-2 17 (21-18)
4. New York 14 5-7-2 17 (24-33)
5. San Diego 11 4-3-4 16 (16-14)
6. San Jose 12 5-6-1 16 (13-14)
7. Carolina 13 4-6-3 15 (21-23)
8. Philadelphia 12 3-6-3 12 (18-25)

THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Saturday, June 28

Philadelphia 2 Boston 2
Atlanta 1 Washington 0
New York 3 Carolina 3

Sunday, June 29
San Jose at San Diego, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, June 25
Boston 2 New York 1
San Jose 2 Carolina 0

All times Eastern

LEADING SCORERS

G-A--Pts
1. Marinette Pichon (Philadelphia) 10-2--22
2. Maren Meinert (Boston) 8-5--21
3. Danielle Fotopoulos (Carolina) 7-6--20
Mia Hamm (Washington) 7-6--20
5. Birgit Prinz (Carolina) 8-3--19
6. Maribel Dominguez (Atlanta) 7-4--18
7. Charmaine Hooper (Atlanta) 5-6--16
Dagny Mellgren (Boston) 7-2--16
9. Julie Fleeting (San Diego) 6-2--14
Pretinha (San Jose) 5-4--14
11. Tiffeny Milbrett (New York) 4-5--13
Abby Wambach (Washington) 5-3--13
13. Christie Welsh (New York) 6-0--12
14. Melanie Hoffmann (Philadelphia) 3-5--11
15. Jacqui Little (Washington) 2-5--9
Cindy Parlow (Atlanta) 3-3--9
17. Krista Davey (New York) 3-2--8
Julie Foudy (San Jose) 3-2--8
Homare Sawa (Atlanta) 3-2--8
20. Emily Janss (New York) 3-1--7
Conny Pohlers (Atlanta) 2-3--7
Margaret Tietjen (New York) 1-5--7
23. Shannon Boxx (New York) 0-6--6
Abby Crumpton (Atlanta) 2-2--6
Angela Hucles (Boston) 1-4--6
Joanne Peters (New York) 2-2--6
Sissi (San Jose) 1-4--6
Stacey Tullock (Philadelphia) 1-4--6
Zhang Ouying (San Diego) 1-4--6
30. Brandi Chastain (San Jose) 1-3--5
Kelly Golebiowski (Washington) 2-1--5
Venus James (Carolina) 2-1--5
Unni Lehn (Carolina) 0-5--5
Shannon MacMillan (San Diego) 1-3--5
Anita Rapp (New York) 1-3--5
Lindsay Stoecker (Washington) 2-1--5
Aly Wagner (San Diego) 1-3--5
Kylie Bivens (Atlanta) 1-2--5
39. Danielle Borgman (Carolina) 2-0--4
Nel Fettig (Carolina) 1-2--4
Monica Gonzalez (Boston) 1-2--4
Steffi Jones (Washington) 1-2--4
Katia (San Jose) 1-2--4
Tammy Pearman (New York) 1-2--4



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