Late Parlow goal gives U.S. women 1-1 tie with Germany

Substitute forward Cindy Parlow headed in a Kristine Lilly corner kick in the 76th minute to earn the U.S. women's national team a 1-1 draw with European champion Germany in front of a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd of 5,938 fans at the Anheuser-Busch Conference and Sports Centre in St. Louis. The match began in stifling 90-degree heat and humidity and the temperature never dipped below the low 80s throughout the game. The conditions made for a sluggish pace for both teams, and sloppy play by the USA, which gave away several balls in the back, leading to dangerous German shots. Germany was surely the more dangerous team in the first half, out-shooting the Americans 5-3, including four close chances from Inka Grings, one on a breakaway that was saved by U.S. goalkeeper Briana Scurry. Germany took the lead five minutes into the second half when Melanie Hoffmann blasted a world-class 18-yard shot into the left corner, giving Scurry no chance. "I thought the game was pretty fast considering the heat," said U.S. coach Tony DiCicco. "It's not easy to play in these conditions, but we must get used to it because this is the kind of weather we will face next summer in the Women's World Cup." After the German goal, the Americans attacked with more urgency and took over the game, but the tough German central defense of 5-foot-9 Doris Fitschen and 5-foot-11 Steffi Jones repelled cross after cross. Germany substituted starting goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg with backup Nadine Angerer in the 72nd minute and it was she who gave up the equalizer. After pounding away at the German defense for most of the second half, the USA finally drew even after Lilly swung her cross to the far post, where Parlow headed it off a defender and into the lower left corner to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd. Parlow brought the stadium to its feet again when she had a winning goal disallowed in the 89th minute as the referee whistled her for offside. "This team is great at creating chances to score, but it took us a while to find our rhythm," said the 20-year old Parlow, who scored her 17th international goal. "Once we did in the second half, we were unlucky not to get a winning goal." Parlow was an offensive spark after coming on at halftime, and almost got the winner in the 80th minute, but pushed her shot just past the right post. Angerer barely beat Shannon MacMillan to a through ball in the 82nd minute and cleared it away with her feet. "We had too many chances without enough quality connections in the final third of the field," added DiCicco. "For the amount of times we got behind their defense on the flanks, we did not create enough dangerous shots." U.S. forward Mia Hamm returned to the lineup for the first time since straining her right hamstring against Japan on May 17 in Tokyo and played a solid match. She was given special attention by the German defense, hitting the turf on numerous occasions and drawing a yellow card from sweeper Jones, until she was replaced by MacMillan in the 65th minute. With less than a minute to play in the match, Scurry smothered a 25-yard shot to preserve the tie. The USA extended its domestic unbeaten streak to 35 matches and will meet Germany again on Sunday, June 28, at Soldier Field in Chicago, a venue for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. Kickoff for that match is 5 p.m. CT (broadcast tape delayed on Fox Sports Net on July 2). June 25 in St. Louis USA 1 Germany 1. Goals: Parlow 76; Hoffman 50. USA -- Scurry, Overbeck, Pearce, Chastain, Fawcett, Foudy (Sobrero, 73), Venturini (Parlow, 46), Lilly, Keller (Fair, 61), Milbrett, Hamm (MacMillan, 65). Germany -- Rottenberg (Angerer, 72), Stegeman, Jones, Fitschen, Fuss, Smisek, Hoffman (Becher, 65), Lingor (Hingst, 46), Grings, Vreden (Moeller, 46), Meyer (Brandebusemeyer, 80). Yellow cards: USA -- Pearce 89; Germany -- Fuss 24, Jones 56. Referee: Nancy Lay (USA). Att.: 5,938 (sellout).
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