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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Alex Morgan's three equals third

By Scott French

Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan netted her first international hat trick Wednesday, leading the U.S. women's national team to a disappointing third-place finish at the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal.

The Americans are used to carting off the trophy -- they'd won seven of the past nine years -- but had to settle for a 4-0 romp over Sweden in the consolation game after falling to Women's World Cup champion Japan in their group finale Monday.

Morgan, who scored five times in the tournament, tallied in the fourth, 33rd and 72nd minutes to lead the Americans, netting her 19th, 20th and 21st goals in just 36 international appearances. Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach also tallied, her 134th international goal.

Germany won the title, pulling out a 4-3 victory in stoppage time against Japan in the final.