Captain Christine Sinclair, the hero of Canada’s bronze-medal match four years ago in London, led the Canadian women back into the Olympics with a pair of highlight reels goals in a 3-1 win over Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship semifinal Friday.
While there are players on the current national team that won the World Cup last summer, there are new additions and veterans and rookies alike are hungry for Olympic gold, according to Fox Sports.
Morgan’s hat trick, the third of her career, highlighted the United States’ 5-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Friday night in the semifinal round of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
The United States was set to play Trinidad and Tobago in the late match at BBVA Compass Stadium for the tournament’s second Olympic berth this summer.
She added her second of the game in the 52nd minute on a nice individual bit of skill that included a bit of juggling near the penalty spot and a left-footed volley that gave no chance to the Costa Rican goalkeeper.
They’ve met in some close games since then, including the instant classic in the semi-final match of the 2012 London Olympics. Dunn joined the party in the 66th minute when she replaced Lloyd. With the exception of the opponents it plays Sunday, CONCACAF can still only delay its best team, not test the United States. Lastly, Syndey Leroux won’t be playing in the Olympics as she announced her pregnancy earlier this year.
Canada, the 11th ranked team in the world arrived with a team that changed its direction if for nothing else than this tournament.
This U.S. roster features only 13 of the 20 players who were on the World Cup team. “We have players retiring and obviously with Pinoe’s injury, [we are] just looking for different types of creative attacking players”. “You’ve got Deanne (Rose) at 16 and scoring goals in the biggest game of her career”. It will be the typical players that have led them to World Cups. “The ball bounced to me and I chose to juggle it a little bit and I turned and shot”, Sinclair said.
While there is always an element of tension in such a win-or-bust scenario, the USA has every reason for confidence. “I’m proud of the players”.
Handed a surprise start, Mallory Pugh was tormenting Soca Princesses right back Khadidra Debesette at will along the US left, and the 17-year-old skipped clear yet again and cut back an inviting low cross into space near the penalty spot, where Tobin Heath latched onto it and stroked a confident finish past goalkeeper Kimika Forbes for a 1-0 advantage.
Canada has had success this tournament by starting its game with a more traditional long-ball approach to settle into the first 15 minutes before moving into more possession-style play.
With the U.S. having last conceded a goal at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers back in 2008, Trinidad faced an uphill struggle if they were to secure their first appearance at the Games. But the coach also chose to leave Whitney Engen and Heather O’Reilly off the qualifying roster. “But I know without my teammates being there I don’t think I would be able to kind of let the nerves go away and just play the game”.
“It’s certainly understood that that’s the target, that’s the goal”, Ellis said, “and now figuring out how to get from [point] A to B. Part of that is how do we do that?” I think both teams are going to go at one another, so it should be really good.