United States 9, World All-Stars 6
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Cindy Parlow scored three goals Friday night to lead the United States to a 9-6 victory over a team of world all-stars in the first stop of the 12-city Toys ’R Us Victory Tour.
There was no penalty-kick shootout that followed 120 scoreless minutes like in July when the United States won the Women’s World Cup over China.
This time, the game was played indoors and there were goals. Lots of them.
``We think this is a perfect way to thank the fans, to thank all the kids and families who supported us during the World Cup and celebrated with us after,″ said Mia Hamm, who scored two goals. ``We want this tour to be about fun, a celebration of the game. This isn’t win at all costs. This is fun.″
Parlow said her playing has improved quite a bit since her days growing up in Memphis playing soccer in indoor arenas.
``I was pretty bad then,″ she said. ``This was a lot better today.″
Twelve of 19 players on the roster suit up in each city on the tour. Six of the cities were also World Cup sites.
Some 9,875 fans, many of them children, turned out to watch the game Friday night. Hamm thanked them before the game, encouraging them to show the same excitement that characterized her team’s run through the World Cup.
The fans didn’t disappoint, cheering ``Mia, Mia″ almost every time she touched the ball. When the game was in hand, they jumped to their feet chanting ``U-S-A, U-S-A.″
But the tour is about more than adulation. Hamm and her teammates show up to play.
``We want to win,″ Hamm said. ``I think as this tour goes on, we’ll start getting used to the indoor game. You’re going to see some pretty good soccer.″
The tour continues Sunday when the teams play in Detroit.
The players, reportedly making $40,000 each for the tour, were without midfielder Michelle Akers, who is injured and may not play at all on the tour.