US struggle as Hamm takes day off

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The Independent Online

It was Mia Hamm's turn to take a day off. Her teammates could have used her.

It was Mia Hamm's turn to take a day off. Her teammates could have used her.

Patience Avre of Brazil scored on a rebound just 21 seconds into overtime on Sunday to lead the world all-star team back from a four-goal deficit and to a 10-9 victory over the US women's World Cup team in Rosemount, Illinois.

Tisha Venturini scored three goals and Tiffany Milbrett added a goal and three assists to lead the US team which was missing its most recognizable player as a roster of 19 for the 12-city tour allows each player to miss one game.

Milbrett conceded that Hamm remains the key to the future success of women's soccer.

"Mia is a marketing magnet," Milbrett said. "She put women's soccer on the map. She still has that. There are a lot of first-time fans who just watched the World Cup this summer and some who just watched the final. That's not the most enormous amount of games."

Pretinha of Brazil had four goals and Avre added three for the world stars.

Despite the loss, the Americans took a lap around the arena's turf after the game to the enthusiastic cheers of 7,392 at the Allstate Arena.

"That was probably the best crowd so far," Venturini said. "It was an exciting game and they were really into it."

The team's next stop is Philadelphia on 13 November.

"This is fun, but I enjoy outdoor a little bit more," Venturini said. "It's good for a short period of time. It's more tiring. It's different and I don't think we really have the strategy down."

Milbrett said the players are concerned about getting hurt on the artificial surfaces of the indoor venues. But she said the players also understand the importance of generating fan support.

"It's the game of soccer. If you get hurt, you get hurt," Milbrett said. "What's good is that hopefully, sponsors and others who keep an eye on this are seeing the support we're getting and the numbers we're drawing. That will speak for itself."