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
CHICAGO (Oct. 6, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 20 players to the roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship that will be contested from Oct. 15-26 in four U.S. cities. CONCACAF will officially announce the rosters for all the competing teams today.
“I’ve said on numerous occasions, I feel this is one of the most competitive rosters to make in our recent history,” said Ellis. “The way the players performed during our most recent camp and two games against Mexico certainly made it difficult on the coaching staff. In the end, we feel we came to the best decisions possible and we have depth and versatility at every position. This is a highly motivated group and we’re ready for the qualifying tournament.”
The 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship features eight countries divided into two groups of four with each group’s top two finishers after round-robin play advancing to the semifinals. The two finalists and the winner of the third-place match will qualify directly to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. The fourth-place finisher will earn a spot in a two-game playoff against Ecuador, which finished third in South America qualifying, for a final berth to the tournament.
The U.S. Women’s National Team opens Group A play at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports 2). The USA will then face Guatemala on Friday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m. CT (FOX Sports 1) at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, and finish the first round against Haiti on Monday, Oct. 20, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., at 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1).
In addition, fans will have comprehensive access to all 16 matches with live and on-demand streaming via FOX Soccer 2Go and FOX Sports GO, the app that provides live video of FOX Sports content at home or on the go. FOXSoccer.com will also feature video highlights, editorial coverage, live play-by-play and scoring updates.
Eleven players on the roster have previous Women’s World Cup qualifying experience, led by forward Abby Wambach and midfielder Heather O’Reilly, both of whom played in the qualifying tournaments for the last three Women’s World Cup tournaments. Defender Christie Rampone and midfielder Carli Lloyd played in the last two CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying tournaments. Other U.S. WNT players with previous qualifying experience are Lauren Holiday, Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo.
Ellis named a roster that features seven defenders, six midfielders and five forwards, along with two goalkeepers in veteran Solo and Ashlyn Harris, who makes her first CONCACAF qualifying roster at the senior level.
The group of defenders is an excellent mix of young and experienced players. Rampone, the world’s active leader in caps at 297, two-time NWSL Defender of the Year Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Krieger all have world championship pedigrees. Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg, who are both working toward 20 caps, have tremendous experience in both U.S. and international pro leagues and played in the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final last season for their Swedish club, Tyresö. Crystal Dunn had a fine rookie season in the NWSL and was a key player on the USA’s 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup championship squad.
The midfield is also vastly experienced with three players sitting on 100 caps or more, led by O’Reilly (208 with 41 goals), Lloyd (175/51) and Holiday (105/23). Tobin Heath (77/9) and Rapinoe (87/27) are also fast approaching the century mark while 21-year-old University of Virginia senior Morgan Brian (13/2) adds a dash of youth to this group as the youngest player on the roster.
The U.S. forwards are a formidable group, having combined for 27 of the USA’s 48 goals this year. Four of the five forwards have played in multiple world championships for the USA, and Christen Press, who has scored 13 goals in her first 27 matches, was an alternate on the 2012 Olympic Team. Wambach, who has scored more goals in Women’s World Cup qualifying (11) than all but two players in U.S. history (Michelle Akers with 17 and Mia Hamm with 12), heads into the tournament with 170 career goals. Sydney Leroux leads the USA in scoring this year with eight goals while Morgan has scored five in five games in 2014. Rodriguez tallied her second international goal of the year on Sept. 18 against Mexico and was second in the NWSL in scoring with 13 goals while adding three more in the playoffs.
- Fourteen of the players on this roster participated in the qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympics. The six players that did not are: goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defenders Crystal Dunn, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg, midfielder Morgan Brian and forward Christen Press.
- The USA is 10-2-3 in 2014.
- The U.S. WNT is 22-1-0 all-time in CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying from 1991-2010.
- Thirty-one players have scored for the USA in Women’s World Cup qualifying and four of them have hit double-figures: Michelle Akers (17), Mia Hamm (12), Abby Wambach (11) and Carin Gabarra (10).
- Amy Rodriguez scored five goals in six games in her one previous Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in 2010. That includes her game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory against Italy in the second leg of the playoff that helped the USA earn its berth to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Qualification for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup did not go exactly as planned for the USA as the Americans were upset in the semifinal by Mexico, 2-1, in Cancun. The USA was forced to win the third-place match to earn a right to face Italy in a two-legged playoff for the final berth to the Women’s World Cup in Germany and emerged victorious by a 2-0 aggregate score.
- Alyssa Naeher will be training with the team as a third goalkeeper during the duration of the tournament, but will not be a part of the official game roster. Defender Julie Johnston and midfielder Kristie Mewis will train with the U.S. team for a week in Kansas City, but will depart camp before the competition begins.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)