- Four Different Players Score for USA as Americans Sweep First Round Matches
- Wambach Nails First-Half Penalty Kick; Cheney, Averbuch and Morgan Tally in Second Half
- USA Will Wait for Completion of Group A Matches On Nov. 2 to Find Out Semifinal Opponent
CANCUN, Mexico (Nov. 1, 2010) – The U.S. Women’s National Team earned its third consecutive shutout by defeating Costa Rica 4-0 to win Group B at the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament.
Abby Wambach nailed a first half penalty kick, upping her tournament total to six and her career total to 115, while Lauren Cheney, Yael Averbuch and Alex Morgan scored in the second half. The USA scored 18 goals over the three group games while allowing zero.
The victory earns the Americans the right to face the second place team from Group A in the semifinal on Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. local / 10 p.m. ET for a berth to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. Fans can watch live on CONCACAF.com and follow on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The USA’s opponent will be either Canada or Mexico, who face each other for first place in Group A on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. local / 9:30 ET. Canada needs just a tie to win the group while Mexico would need to win. The first place team in Group A will face Costa Rica in the semifinals.
U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage gave three players the starting nod for the first time in the tournament, inserting Ali Krieger at right back, Kristine Lilly at left midfield and Lauren Cheney at forward.
Amazingly, Costa Rica actually had three scoring chances before the USA created any of its own. The first opportunity came just two minutes into the game after the USA gave the ball away in midfield. That led to a wide open shot for Wendy Acosta in the left side of penalty area, but she struck it wide right.
In the eighth minute Costa Rica mounted a nice attack down the right flank that ended with a well-struck cross rolling across the U.S. goalmouth, but no attacker could get a foot on it.
In the 16th minute, a free kick from deep on the right wing was headed high by Silvia Flores, who got a good piece of the ball. After that, Costa Rica failed to create any quality scoring chances, although the Ticas did keep battling until the end.
The Americans started poorly in attacking rhythm in the first two games of the tournament and this match was no exception. The first chance for the U.S. came in the 24th minute after Wambach got in behind the defense in the right side of the penalty box. She played a firm square pass to Carli Lloyd on the ground, but her shot was blocked about 10 yards from the net by a scrambling Costa Rican defender.
The USA got down the flanks repeatedly in the first half, especially on the right side, but virtually every cross sailed behind the goal. After its initial flurry that produced those three chances for Costa Rica, the Central Americans settled back behind the ball and looked to counter, but nothing troubled U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart for the rest of the half. Barnhart did have to make a tough save off a free kick in the dying minutes though, pushing a well-struck shot over the crossbar.
The U.S. pressure finally produced a goal when Cheney was taken down in the penalty box in the 31st minute after she had settled a long free kick from Amy LePeilbet. Wambach stepped up and finished coolly into the left corner to give the USA a 1-0 lead. It was the USA’s first shot on goal of the half.
Sundhage sent on Lori Lindsey in the 37th minute to give Lloyd a rest in advance of the important semifinal match in four days. The USA’s attacking midfielder had played every minute of the tournament thus far.
The first half was a bit disjointed due to the 21 fouls called, 13 on the USA, but the Americans finally settled down in the second half and found the net three times.
The first sign the Americans were knocking on the door came in a flurry of three shots in three minutes starting in the 56th. The first chance came when Lilly played Cheney in behind the defense in the left side of the box, but her left-footed shot was stabbed by Costa Rican goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz.
Next, Cheney slapped a volley right at Diaz off a right wing cross from Ali Kreiger and then Lilly struck a hard volley that drew a great save from the Costa Rica goalkeeper after an Averbuch cross skipped through to her at the left post.
Diaz would get injured in the 62nd minute after she crashed into Cheney who was chasing a looping ball over the top of the defense. Somehow Cheney, who was playing the ball and did not even see Diaz, was shown a yellow card. The Costa Rican ‘keeper, who had her knee bent back at an awkward angle, stayed down for several minutes. She rose to play on, but only for six more minutes.
Cheney finally got her goal in the 68th minute off a right side corner kick from Averbuch. The ball bounced around in the box for a moment before Cheney struck a blistering volley over and through goalmouth traffic and into the roof of the net from about eight yards out. This time Diaz stayed down and did not get up, having to be stretchered off.
Reserve goalkeeper Priscila Tapia had the unfortunate experience of touching the ball for the first time when she picked it out of the back of the net.
In the 73rd minute, Morgan was taken down about 27 yards from the goal and a shade to the left. Lilly touched a short square pass to the right and Averbuch drilled a world class swerving shot that flew past the cold ‘keeper and into the net. It was Averbuch’s first career goal for the national team.
Morgan, who entered the match in the 62nd minute for Wambach, added a definite spark to the attack with her speed and then tallied the final goal, her third in just five caps for the USA.
The final goal was also perhaps the best, coming after two huge switch passes. The first was from Averbuch to Lilly on the left wing and Lilly then played it back to 75th minute substitute Heather O’Reilly on the right flank. O’Reilly skinned her defender and drove to the end line before playing a ball to Morgan at the near post. It got stuck under her feet for a moment as she spun toward goal, but she dug it out and then tapped a shot through three defenders and past the Tapia from three yards out.
As teams are allowed to suit up just 18 of the 20 players on their roster for each game of this tournament, defender Heather Mitts and forward Amy Rodriguez did not dress for the USA.
The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place from June 26-July 17 in nine venues across Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Mönchengladbach, Sinsheim, Wolfsburg, Augsburg, Bochum, Dresden and Leverkusen.
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Costa Rica
Date: Nov. 1, 2010
Competition: 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament – Group B
Venue: Estadio Quintana Roo; Cancun, Mexico
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Local (9:30 p.m. ET)
Weather: Warm, breezy – 67 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
CRC 0 0 0
USA – Abby Wambach (penalty kick) 32nd minute
USA – Lauren Cheney 68
USA – Yael Averbuch (Kristine Lilly) 73
USA – Alex Morgan (Heather O’Reilly) 81
USA: 18-Nicole Barnhart; 16-Ali Krieger, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 19-Rachel Buehler; 4-Yael Averbuch, 7-Shannon Boxx (9-Heather O’Reilly, 75), 10-Carli Lloyd (11-Lori Lindsey, 37), 13-Kristine Lilly; 12-Lauren Cheney, 20-Abby Wambach (5-Alex Morgan, 62)
Subs not used: 1-Jill Loyden, 14-Stephanie Cox, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 17-Becky Sauerbrunn
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage
CRC: 1-Dinnia Diaz (18-Priscila Tapia, 72); 20-Wendy Acosta, 3-Hazel Quiros, 6-Carol Sanchez, 2-Silvia Flores; 5-Ivonne Rodriguez, 10-Shirley Cruz (capt.), 16-Katherine Alvardo, 12-Laura Sanchez; 15-Monica Malvassi (7-Maria Barrantes, 79), 19-Adriana Venegas (9-Carolina Venegas, 59)
Subs not used: 4-Yahaira Aguilar, 13-Yuliana Rodriguez, 14-Cristin Granados, 17-Jacqueline Alvarez
Head Coach: Randal Chacon
Statistical Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 13 / 5
Shots on Goal: 8 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 22 / 9
Offside: 1 / 2
CRC – Shirley Cruz (caution) 31st minute
USA – Lauren Cheney (caution) 61
Referee: Lucila Venegas (MEX)
Assistant Referee: Mayte Chavez (MEX)
Assistant Referee: Jaqueline Saez (PAN)
Fourth Official: Quetzalli Alvardo (MEX)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Amy LePeilbet