Since USWNT fans were recently treated to a replay of the game that featured Abby Wambach‘s 100th international goal, KeeperNotes.com is going to highlight a few other “100th goal” games. First up, here are a few notes on the game that saw the first American reach the 100-goal milestone — USA versus Russia, September 1998, with Mia Hamm‘s 100th international goal (and 101st). Full match video below.
Hamm’s milestone goal happened toward the end of the 1998 MLB season as Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were both battling for a new home run record — look for the “Sosa/McGwire/Hamm” sign shown in the stands a few times during the game.
• This match was part of the 1998 U.S. Women’s Cup, a four-team invitational tournament featuring the USA, Russia, Mexico and Brazil. The USWNT won the tournament with 3 wins, scoring 16 goals and conceding none.
• The USWNT played 14 home matches in 1998 as part of the push to promote both the team and ticket sales for the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Average attendance for the year was 15,467, the highest average USWNT attendance for a non-Olympic/non-World Cup year until 2013.
• The USWNT had faced Russia four times before this game (including the two matches against the Soviet Union in 1990-1991).
• Hamm’s two goals and one assist in this match contributed to her total of 20 goals, 20 assists for 1998. She was the first USWNT player to record a “20/20” season, and only one other American has done it since — Alex Morgan in 2012, with 28 goals and 21 assists in 31 games played.
• As much as this game is heralded for Hamm’s 100th goal, the match is also a showcase for Tiffeny MIlbrett — she assisted both of Hamm’s goals and scored two goals herself in her 100th appearance for the USWNT.
• Look for a young Christie Pearce (Rampone) starting as an outside back, in just the second year of her international career.
• Before this friendly tournament, Russia had placed second in its UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifying group, and was set to face Finland in a two-game series in October 1998 to battle for a berth at the 1999 tourney. Russia went on to win that series 4-2 on aggregate to qualify for its first-ever World Cup.
• Look for two Russian legends in this game — #10 Natalia Barbashina, the team’s all-time leading scorer with 46 goals (1995 – 2009), and goalkeeper Svetlana Petko, who is still the Russian all-time leader with 144 caps (1990 – 2004).
• USWNT legend Michelle Akers scored her 100th international goal two days later against Brazil. (Unfortunately I don’t have that game on video.) The graphic at the beginning of the Russia broadcast indicated that she had 97 goals at the time. However, this graphic is in error, as two 1995 matches (which featured two goals by Akers) were later found to be missing from the USWNT stats. So Akers actually had 99 international goals at the same time that Hamm did, although Hamm still reached the 100-goal milestone first.
• Highlights of the two US Women’s Cup games before this one are shown during the halftime segment — USA vs. Mexico and Brazil vs. Russia.
It’s hard to believe after watching this game video that this is the same field where the Western NY Flash hosted Seattle Reign in the notorious “baseball outfield” match of the 2016 NWSL season.