The USA’s qualifying road to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was not without drama or difficulty, but in the end the Americans once again swept through a CONCACAF tournament and booked their tickets to Canada.
The 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship was staged in four U.S. cities – Kansas City, Kan., Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia – with the top three finishers earning automatic berths to the Women’s World Cup.
The USA opened its competition in Kansas City against a tough and determined Trinidad & Tobago side that held the Americans to a lone goal, scored by Abby Wambach in the 54th minute. The USA did have a 29-7 advantage in shots, but T&T goalkeeper Kimika Forbes had an excellent match to keep the score down while her teammates executed their tactics extremely well in forming a bunker in front of her.
A bit of frustration and adversity can add steel to a team, and a focused USA headed to Chicago for its second group match against a Guatemala side that also sat way back in its defensive third. The WNT could produce only one goal in the first half, that coming from Tobin Heath in the 7th minute, but found its legs after the break and smashed in four more goals for a 5-0 win. Heath added another along with single goals from Carli Lloyd, defender Whitney Engen and Megan Rapinoe.
The USA did suffer a setback in the match as forward Alex Morgan badly sprained her ankle in the first half. She was ruled out of the tournament and, unable to replace an injured player after the start of the tournament, the USA continued on with a 19-player roster.
Carrying momentum from the victory against Guatemala, the USA traveled to Washington, D.C. to face Haiti in its final group match, and the Caribbean side dropped even deeper into its own defensive third than the USA’s first two opponents. Despite facing 11 defenders often within 40 yards of the Haiti goal, the USA managed to break the bunker with an early strike from Lloyd, while Wambach scored seven minutes before the break. The USA then put away the Haitians in the second half with another goal from Wambach, a goal-of-the-year worthy strike from defender Meghan Klingenberg (her first in a U.S. uniform) and single scores from Christen Press and Morgan Brian to win 6-0.Read more
CHESTER, Pennsylvania (Oct. 24, 2014) – A focused and aggressive U.S. Women’s National Team booked its seventh consecutive trip to the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 victory against Mexico in the semifinals of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship at PPL Park.
Carli Lloyd scored two first-half goals and Christen Press tallied in the second half as the USA became the 19th team this year to earn a spot in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
The USA will next face Costa Rica in the title match of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship on Sunday at PPL Park. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1). Costa Rica defeated Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 in penalty kicks earlier Friday to advance to the final and qualify for its first FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The USA will be in search of its third World Cup crown in Canada next year, having previously won the title at the 1991 and 1999 events.
Just before kickoff of the USA’s semifinal game, defender and team captain Christie Rampone was honored for making her 300th appearance over her 16-year international career. U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb presented Rampone with commemorative gifts in recognition of this achievement. (Christie Rampone Tribute | In Her Own Words)
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Carli Lloyd (Tobin Heath), 6th minute: Despite facing a packed-in defense in the opening minutes, the USA’s decisive ball movement was too much for Mexico. Lauren Holiday switched the point of attack from the right to left side where Heath controlled. Heath brought the ball to her right foot and crossed back in to the top of the six-yard box, where Lloyd was perched. Without needing to leave her feet, Lloyd headed the ball into the right side of the frame past Mexico goalkeeper Pamela Tajonar to tally her third goal of the tournament. USA 1, MEX 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Carli Lloyd (penalty), 30th minute: Tobin Heath drew a foul in the left side of the box against Mexico’s Christina Murillo to earn a penalty kick. Lloyd stepped up and fired to the left side of the net as Pamela Tajonar guessed the opposite way. It was Lloyd’s fourth goal of the tournament. Additionally, Lloyd now has three multi-goal games this year. USA 2, MEX 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Christen Press (Sydney Leroux), 56th minute: The U.S. worked the ball up centrally with Christie Rampone passing to Leroux in the midfield. Leroux’s through ball split a pair of Mexico defenders and forced Mexico’s Pamela Tajonar to rush off her line. Press got to the ball first, took a right-footed touch to elude Tajonar and then tapped in with her left foot for her second goal of the tournament. USA 3, MEX 0 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
MEX – Pamela Tajonar and Christina Murillo, 19th minute: The USA created several chances during this sequence, starting with a Christen Press shot from the right side of the box that Tajonar parried away. Sydney Leroux was positioned in the right place for the rebound toward the top of the box, but her shot was blocked by Murillo. The U.S. lingered for several more seconds around the box and Mexico eventually cleared.
MEX – Kenti Robles, 74th minute: Christen Press crossed the ball in from the right side of the box to Tobin Heath who had an opportunity from about eight yards out, but a sliding Robles was able to block the attempt.
- Christie Rampone, earning her 300th cap, becomes the second U.S. WNT player to accomplish this feat, joining Kristine Lilly (352 games from 1987-2010).
- With her 54th and 55th goals, Carli Lloyd passes Carin Gabarra (53 goals from 1987-96) for sole possession of eighth place on the U.S. WNT all-time goal scoring list. Next up on the list is seventh-place Shannon MacMillan (60 goals from 1993-2005).
- Abby Wambach and Lloyd made their 13th appearances in a World Cup qualifying match. They are tied for second place on the USA’s all-time list behind only Lilly (17 games).
- Goalkeeper Hope Solo, the U.S. WNT’s all-time shutouts leader, upped her record to 76 clean sheets in 158 games.
Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. WNT advances to the title match of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship on Sunday, Oct. 25, against Costa Rica at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET.
- The USA is now 14-2-3 in 2014.
- The U.S. WNT is now 26-1-0 all-time in CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying.
- The USA moves to 30-1-1 all-time against Mexico. The WNT’s only loss was a 2-1 defeat on Nov. 5, 2010, during 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying in Cancun, Mexico. The USA is 5-1-0 against Mexico in qualifying matches.
- U.S. head coach Jill Ellis made three starting lineup changes following the team’s 6-0 win against Haiti on Monday.
- Hope Solo returned in goal for Ashlyn Harris.
- The back line included three returning starters in left back Meghan Klingenberg and center back duo Whitney Engen and team captain Christie Rampone. Ali Krieger returned to the starting lineup at right back after Kelley O’Hara had played in that spot against Haiti.
- The U.S. midfield remained unchanged from the group stage with the starting trio of Lauren Holiday, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.
- The front three of the USA’s 4-3-3 formation included returning starters Christen Press and Tobin Heath, as well as Sydney Leroux who had started in Oct. 17 match against Guatemala.
- Press is the only USA player to have made an appearance in all 19 games this year.
- In the 62nd minute, USA all-time goal scoring leader Abby Wambach entered the match for Leroux.
- In the 67th minute, Morgan Brian entered for Rapinoe, and with the substitution, Holiday was pushed up into an attacking role in the midfield.
- The USA’s final substitution was Heather O’Reilly replacing Holiday in the 75th minute.
- For the second consecutive game in the tournament, Leroux was unfortunate to hit the woodwork. In the 49th minute, Rapinoe’s searching cross from the right side skipped past Heath to a wide-open Leroux, who put some power behind her close-range shot but hit the crossbar. Then in the 61st minute, Leroux’s shot ricocheted off of the right post.
- Press hit the left post in the 84th minute that would have pushed the USA lead to four goals.
- Lloyd has scored four goals in four games in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Prior to this year’s tournament, she had scored two goals in nine qualifying games.
- Lloyd is the only USA player to have logged the full 360 minutes during this year’s CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
- The U.S. WNT is now 89-8-13 in the 110 games that Rampone has been the team captain.
- The U.S. is 14-0-3 under head coach Jill Ellis.
- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Oct. 24, 2014
Competition: 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship; Semifinals
Venue: PPL Park; Chester, Pennsylvania
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 68 degrees, cool
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
MEX 0 0 0
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Whitney Engen, 16-Meghan Klingenberg; 12-Lauren Holiday (9-Heather O’Reilly, 75), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (7-Morgan Brian, 67); 14-Christen Press, 2-Sydney Leroux (20-Abby Wambach, 62), 17-Tobin Heath
Subs Not Used: 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Julie Johnston
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
MEX: 12-Pamela Tajonar (capt.); 2-Arianna Romero, 3-Bianca Sierra, 4-Alina Garcíamendez, 15-Christina Murillo (14-Monica Alvarado, 72); 6-Liliana Mercado, 7-Lydia Nayeli Rangel, 13-Kenti Robles (8-Teresa Noyola, 76); 18-Dinora Garza, 19-Tanya Samarzich, 20-Luz Duarte (10-Sandra Stephany Mayor, 55)
Subs Not Used: 1-Cecilia Santiago, 5-Paulina Solís, 11-Monica Ocampo, 9-Veronica Charlyn Corral, 16-Karla Nieto, 17-Veronica Perez
Head Coach: Leonardo Cuellar
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 21 / 1
Shots on Goal: 7 / 0
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 0
Fouls: 4 / 12
Offside: 9 / 1
Referee: Sheena Dickson (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Marie-Josee Charbonneau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Kimberly Moreira (CRC)
Fourth Official: Maurees Skeete (GUY)
Budweiser Woman of the Match: Carli LloydRead more