Originally created 12/18/00

Japan 1, United States 1



PHOENIX -- Carla Overbeck's final game with the U.S. national team was less satisfying than she hoped it would be.

Overbeck, the longtime captain of the decorated women's soccer team, missed two shots in injury time, and the Olympic silver medalists played to a 1-1 tie Sunday with Japan in the final game of their 2000 season.

"I was angry that I didn't get that last one to go, but you've got to accept that sometimes, I guess," said Overbeck, who will continue to play for North Carolina of the Women's United Soccer Association.

Brandi Chastain had the U.S. goal, and Homare Sawa scored for Japan.

Overbeck was open in the first 90 seconds of the extra period, but kicked the ball over the net. Then an accurate corner kick by Shannon MacMillan came to her 3:30 in, but Overbeck's header was a few feet wide of the post.

A few seconds later, the stoppage time accumulated because of two Japanese injuries and other delays expired.

"It would have been extremely appropriate had Carla scored," Chastain said. "It would have been the best closing act to a most wonderful play, and I think she still needs to be proud of herself for the effort she gave."

The first soccer game ever played in Bank One Ballpark attracted a crowd of 12,039, who cheered wildly for Overbeck and Chastain at the end.

The Americans, who had an 18-1 edge in corner kicks for the game, spent most of the last 11 minutes of regulation in Japan's end but couldn't convert on several opportunities.

"We couldn't find the net," MacMillan said. "We just couldn't put them away."

Japan, which has never beaten the United States, earned its first tie in 15 games thanks to goalkeeper Nozomi Yamago, who had four saves, and good defense.

The U.S. team finished 26-6-9 after playing a record 41 games. It was 1-1-1 in "Glory Tour" exhibitions that followed a 3-2 loss to Norway in the gold-medal game of the Sydney Olympics.

Cindy Parlow, who scored two goals in a 3-2 win over Mexico on Dec. 10, and four other U.S. Olympians did not play in this game.

Parlow skipped the finale to have surgery on an impacted nerve in her foot, Danielle Slaton was sidelined following surgery, Joy Fawcett and Briana Scurry were attending to family matters and Sara Whalen was not called in for this match.

But Chastain, whose penalty kick clinched the win over China that secured the 1999 World Cup, was still in form.

She sent the United States into a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute with a header off a corner kick by MacMillan.

The Americans had a 10-0 advantage in corner kicks in the first half, but the Japanese, sparked by Eriko Arakawa's aggressive play, outshot the United States 6-4 and capitalized on their final shot.

The play began with a direct kick after Kate Sobrero drew a yellow card for tripping Arakawa.

Yayoi Kobayashi lofted a pass to Sawa, who booted the ball past goalie Siri Mullinix in the 35th minute.