Facebook Twitter

Americans win Gold Cup crown

SHARE Americans win Gold Cup crown

United States 1, Brazil 0

FOXBORO, Mass. — The No. 1 team in the world officially has a new No. 1 goalkeeper.

Tiffeny Milbrett scored in the 44th minute Monday night, and Siri Mullinix made five saves for her 10th shutout as the U.S. women's soccer team won its fifth title of the year, beating Brazil 1-0 in the championship game of the Gold Cup.

After the game, coach April Heinrichs said what has become obvious: Mullinix has surpassed injured World Cup hero Briana Scurry as the team's top goalkeeper.

"I think we all get a sense that Siri Mullinix is playing big-time soccer," Heinrichs said. "The decision as to who is our No. 1 goalkeeper right now is easy."

The United States, building toward the Olympics in Sydney in September, won the Australia Cup in January, the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March, the U.S. Women's Cup in May and the Pacific Cup in Australia last month. The team is 17-3-3 this year and is unbeaten in 42 games (41-0-1) in tournament play on home soil since 1990.

"Winning is the icing on the cake," Heinrichs said. "The process, the journey, the growth that we've been able to have during the course of the games is what's going to take us one step closer to being the single best team that we can be when it really matters, at the Olympics. . . . We have a confidence against any team in the world."

Brazil and the United States played to a 0-0 draw at this same stadium in group play last week. The result tied the two teams at the top of the standings, and the U.S. team won a coin toss immediately after the game to decide the seeding for the semifinals.

Monday's rematch, before 20,123 at Foxboro Stadium, was one of those classic 1-0 one-sided soccer games. Brazil had trouble getting the ball out of its own end early in the game, and the U.S. team's deft passing attack kept the pressure on. The Brazilians' close man-to-man marking and aggressive tackling prevented the Americans from building a big lead.

And Mullinix, who has made her run at Scurry's starting job while Scurry nurses shin splints, was there to answer any threat. Mullinix was at her best when she came off the line and rolled on the ground to kick the ball away from Cidinha on a breakaway in the 60th minute.

Mullinix has allowed just three goals — two on penalty kicks — in 14 games this year.

"This is the first time I've had to play three big games in a row," said Mullinix, who never started a U.S. team game until this year. "The first wonder is, 'Can I play at this level?' I felt I accomplished that."

Brazil stole a couple of other quick scoring chances: Sissi hit the crossbar from 30 yards in the seventh minute, and Katia da Silva blasted a shot just high from 16 yards in the 29th.

Yet it was Milbrett whose speed and flair made her a dangerous force throughout. She finally gave the Americans the lead with a classic one-touch 12-yard shot with her left foot on an assist from Mia Hamm. It was Milbrett's 76th international goal in 147 appearances.

"Sometimes we catch ourselves watching her," Hamm said. "She's so explosive."

China beat Canada 2-1 in the third-place game.