The player U.S. Coach Anson Dorrance calls the "consummate goal scorer" scored the biggest goal of her career Saturday, giving the United States team the title in the first FIFA women's world soccer championship.
Striker Michelle Akers-Stahl took advantage of a Norwegian mistake and scored with three minutes left as the United States defeated Norway, 2-1, before 60,000 at Tianhe Stadium.
"I'm excited," said Dorrance, who has coached the U.S. women's team since 1986. "When they start listing world champions in women's soccer, the United States is at the top of that list. That's a thrill."
Defender Tina Svensson hit a weak back pass toward goalie Reidun Seth, but Akers-Stahl intercepted, dodged around Seth and pushed the ball into the open goal. It was one of the few mistakes made by the tough Norwegian defense.
"Not to take anything away from Michelle Akers-Stahl. She's the top goal scorer in this tournament (10 goals)," Dorrance said, "but the odds of a player of that caliber making that kind of mistake are remote. She jumped on the chance."
In the first half, Akers-Stahl jumped to head a free kick from Shannon Higgins into the net for a 1-0 U.S. lead after 20 minutes. But the Norwegians struck back eight minutes later on a similar ball lobbed into the penalty area, and Linda Medalen, Norway's top scorer, headed in her sixth goal for a 1-1 tie.