- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2003

Mia Hamm reckons she was about 12 the last time she played two soccer games in the same day. Ditto for Briana Scurry.
Both stars get a chance to relive their youth today in the first women's soccer doubleheader at RFK Stadium. The U.S. women's national team plays Canada in a World Cup tuneup, followed by a WUSA clash of unbeatens when the Washington Freedom (3-0) face the Atlanta Beat (2-0).
In a situation like this, it's always country over club.
"We're in with the national team, and that's where our priorities lie," said Hamm, the Freedom's leading scorer with three goals and two assists. "If I play 90 minutes, I don't know if [Freedom coach Jim Gabarra] would want me on the field against Atlanta with the way they are playing right now. He'll want somebody who can get up and down the field."
In a fortuitous twist, both the Freedom and the Beat will have two players called up for the national team. Hamm and Freedom goalkeeper Siri Mullinix will appear in the first game, while the Beat contributes goalkeeper Scurry and forward Cindy Parlow.
It could have been much worse for the Beat. Canada became a last-minute replacement for Nigeria as the U.S. national team's opponent after the Nigerians couldn't secure proper travel visas. The Beat feature two Canadian national team standouts forward Charmaine Hooper and defender Sharolta Nonen and don't have to release them for the exhibition because the club was not given 15 days' notice for a national team call-up.
"We're just going to play off how much my players play [in the first game]," Gabarra said. "Siri will play irrespective of how much time she gets with the national team. I would imagine she would play 45 minutes. With Mia, it's going to be a decision made right after the game depending on how much she plays and how she feels, and that will dictate how we use her."
The Freedom got a break when forward Abby Wambach was not named to coach April Heinrichs' final 18-player U.S. roster yesterday. Earlier, Wambach was selected for the 24-player training camp roster and worked out all week with the team.
Meanwhile, Jacqui Little, the Freedom's second-leading scorer with two goals and two assists, is listed as questionable after severely spraining her ankle this week. If Little can't go, Gabarra is considering giving rookie Laura Schott her first career start at forward alongside Wambach.
The Freedom are off to their best start in franchise history. A win today over the Beat would tie the Philadelphia Charge's WUSA record for the most wins to start a season.
The game against the Beat is huge, featuring the two top scoring teams in the WUSA battling for first place and to remain undefeated. In their two games this season, the Beat have scored a staggering 11 goals and allowed none.
"Our depth will be tested for sure," Gabarra said.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide