U.S. 5, New Zealand 0
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Cindy Parlow scored a hat trick for the second straight game, leading the U.S. women’s soccer team to a 5-0 rout of New Zealand on Sunday in the Pacific Cup.
Parlow, who scored three goals in Friday’s 9-1 victory over Canada, was backed by Christie Welsh with two goals.
Parlow started her spree late in the first half with a drive from the edge of the penalty box. She added two goals within three minutes in the second half, both from sharp angles and at close range, to extend the U.S. team’s 3-0 halftime lead.
``All of my goals have been through the assistance of teammates who have provided me with tremendous passes, which left me free in front with the goal wide open,″ the midfielder said. ``Sometimes ... it would have been harder not to score.″
In other games, China maintained its unbeaten stretch with a 2-0 win against Japan and Canada upset Australia 2-0.
Parlow is the tournament’s top scorer with six goals from three games. Mia Hamm has yet to score despite almost a dozen shots on goal.
``The tournament has so far been generous to me but very stingy to (Hamm),″ Parlow said.
Welsh opened the scoring in the 11th minute when she picked up Hamm’s chip and sent a half volley past goalkeeper Yvonne Vale. Welsh added another goal in the 29th minute when she placed a ball under Vale as the goalkeeper moved out of the box.
The World Cup champions opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to China, but Parlow said the Americans have found ``really good rhythm in the last two games.″
China leads with nine points, followed by the United States and Canada with six points. Australia and Japan have three points and New Zealand none.
The winner of the six-nation tournament will be the team with the most points during the round-robin competition.