December 15, 2000
By John Philip Wyllie
Coming into Sunday night's game with the United States, Mexico's fledgling women's national soccer team had been outscored 41-0 by the defending Women's World Cup champions. The fact that Mexico had never come close to winning and not scored a single goal in the team's five previous meetings no doubt weighed heavily on the mind's of Leonardo Cuellar's young players. This made Sunday's hard fought battle, a 3-2 decision in favor of the United States, all the more surprising.
Mexico caught the U.S. at the perfect time. Still reeling from last month's shocking 3-1 loss to Canada and leg weary from an indoor game played the previous night, the lack of U.S. preparedness was obvious. Shots that on a typical night would have been goals, were sailing wide, high or hitting the woodwork. With some excellent Linnea Quinones goal-keeping, and two well struck goals from Mexico's Maribel Dominguez and Iris Mora, Mexico nearly pulled off an upset of gigantic proportions.
After holding the the vaunted U.S. attack in check for 36 minutes, midfielder Kristine Lilly finally broke the ice for the United States when her blast found the upper right hand corner of the net. The 1-0 U.S. lead held up until twelve minutes into the second half when Mexico's leading scorer, Maribel Dominguez, teamed with Iris Mora to capitalize on a U.S. miscue. The historic goal, which came in the game's 57th minute, was scored by Dominguez after she took a pass from Mora and outraced the U.S. defense.
Eight minutes later, Mexico had an unlikely lead when Mora made the Americans pay dearly for another defensive blunder. Young American goalkeeper, Hope Solo, who came on in relief of starter, Siri Mullinix at halftime, placed the ball right on Mora's foot as she was attempting to clear it. With Solo out of position and Mora standing near midfield, she simply shot the ball over her and into the net. This put Mexico ahead 2-1. The lead would be short-lived however. In the game's 70th minute, Cindy Parlow knotted the score with a blast from the top of the penalty arc after taking a pass from San Diego native and San Pasqual High alumna, Nikki Serlenga.
Parlow's second goal coming in the 75th minute from 25 yards out, averted what might have been an embarrassing result for the U.S. and allowed Parlow to take home Player of the Game honors.
While disappointed in the result, Mexico has to be pleased with what can only be considered a moral victory. Scoring two goals against a defense that is considered one of the best in the world and withstanding a barrage of shots while allowing only three goals, gives them something to build on.