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U.S. Defeats Norway in Algarve Cup

Times Staff Writer

A goal by the San Diego Spirit’s Shannon MacMillan earned the United States women’s national team a 1-0 victory over Norway on Sunday and kept the Americans on course to reach the championship game at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

In the second match of the year between the reigning world and Olympic champions, MacMillan, playing in her 150th game for the U.S., scored in the fourth minute, blocking a clearance kick by Norwegian goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth, gaining control of the loose ball and then firing it from a narrow angle between Hjelmseth and the near post.

“I think the keeper took a longer touch than she wanted to and I was able to get a foot on it,” MacMillan said of her 53rd international goal. “When I looked up, I saw some space between the goalkeeper and the post.”

Sunday’s victory, achieved in extremely windy conditions in Ferreiras, Portugal, marked the first time the Americans have defeated Norway three consecutive times, having also beaten it, 1-0, in January en route to winning the Four Nations Cup in China and 4-0 last July in Blaine, Minn.

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The U.S. can reach the Algarve Cup final with a victory Tuesday over Sweden, which was held to a 1-1 tie Sunday by Canada. Also on course for the championship game is China, which shut out France, 3-0, on Sunday.

Galaxy Earns Tie

The Galaxy, which won the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2000, began its quest to become champion of soccer’s North and Central American and Caribbean region for a second time Sunday by holding CD Motagua of Honduras to a 2-2 tie in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Los Angeles twice held the lead, first on a Carlos Ruiz goal in the 21st minute and then on an Alexi Lalas goal in the 61st, but each time CD Motagua tied on goals by midfielder Amado Guevara, who scored in the 36th and 85th minutes.

The Galaxy suffered a potentially damaging blow late in the game when Ruiz, Major League Soccer’s leading scorer in 2002, was ejected, along with CD Motagua’s Jorge Lozano, for fighting.

Ruiz will miss the second game of the two-game, total-goals series, on Saturday night at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium.

In other Champions Cup games involving MLS teams, the Columbus Crew was beaten, 2-1, on the road by Deportivo Arabe Unido of Panama, while the San Jose Earthquakes were crushed, 4-2, on the road by CSD Municipal of Guatemala.

Mexican Roundup

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Cruz Azul and Pachuca, two teams that were embroiled in all sorts of chaos last week, both achieved notable victories over the weekend in the 10th round of the Mexican league season.

On Tuesday, Cruz Azul fired Mario Carillo as coach, along with all his players, and said it would only rehire them on performance-based contracts, a move the players rejected. The club hired former Mexico national team coach Enrique Meza on Wednesday and Meza fielded basically a youth team on Saturday. Still, Cruz Azul won its first game of the season, beating the Pumas of UNAM, 2-0, on two goals by Juan Carlos Cacho.

The defeat was even more bitter for outspoken UNAM Coach Hugo Sanchez, who was red-carded in the 75th minute for protesting decisions made by referee Hugo Leon Gujardo.

Pachuca, meanwhile, gave new Coach Carlos Trucco of Bolivia a victory on his debut, defeating Necaxa, 2-0, on second-half goals just three minutes apart by Argentina’s Victor Muller and Colombia’s Andres Chitiva.

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Trucco, a 1994 World Cup goalkeeper for Bolivia, took over the team in midweek after quitting as coach of Bolivia’s national team.

Chivas of Guadalajara remained in first place overall in the 20-team Mexican league after edging Santos Laguna, 1-0, Sunday, while Guadalajara’s other team, the Tecos of UAG, remained the only team without a win when they were beaten by Morelia, 2-0.


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