Entering the USA’s final Group A match against Puerto Rico on Feb. 15 at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, forward Crystal Dunn had scored five goals in her career with the WNT. She walked off the field with 10.
Dunn did what only seven other women in the 31 years of the WNT program had done before, scoring five goals in one match to tie a record first set in 1991 by Brandi Chastain during a Women’s World Cup Qualifying match.
In fact, of the seven times a U.S. player has scored five goals in a game, only twice was it not in a CONCACAF qualifier for the World Cup or Olympics, that being when Abby Wambach scored all five goals in the second half of a 5-0 win vs. Ireland in 2002 and Michelle Akers scored five in a Women’s World Cup match against Chinese Taipei in 1991.
“This was a special moment, definitely,” Dunn said. “Anytime I score goals on this team, I think it’s always special. There are so many great finishers in the history of this team and to be among the players who have scored five goals is a great feeling.”
Dunn scored twice in the first half, which was already the first multi-goal game of her career, and then followed it up by adding three more in the second to catapult her performance into the record books.
“It felt amazing to score those five goals, but I certainly didn’t expect it,” said Dunn, who played in the striker position for the first time for the U.S. WNT. “I can’t remember ever scoring five goals before but I just I wanted to play well and do well for my team.”
The reigning NWSL Most Valuable Player will see her name in the record book alongside Chastain, Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux, the last two, each getting five in a game at the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament in Vancouver.
While Dunn realizes the historical significance of the feat, she also knows that there are many more goals to achieve.
“It was a special game for sure but I’d like to think there’s more to come,” she said. “So I’ll hold that in my back pocket for now and at the end of my career we’ll see where it stands as far as highlights.”