U.S. Women One Step From World Cup Qualification

Americans will play Haiti tonight and then finish off group play by Monday.

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U.S. Women's Soccer Team Wins Group, One Step From World Cup

Abby Wambach scored her sixth goal of World Cup qualifying to lead the U.S. Women's Soccer Team to a 4-0 victory over Costa Rica.

The victory gave the USWNT the top spot in Group B of CONCACAF qualifying and means they'll play either Mexico or Canada for a spot in the 2011 World Cup. Canada needs a tie to win their group and avoid a match with the United States. The semifinal match will be played on Friday in Cancun. The winners of the semifinal matches will be guaranteed spots in the World Cup, while the losers will play for third place and the final qualifying spot.

The U.S. got through their group winning their three matches by a collective score of 18-0.

In this game, they held Costa Rica to just two shots, neither of which were on goal.

Alex Morgan also added her second goal of the tournament and Lauren Cheney and Yael Averbuch each scored their first goals of the tournament.

In six games against Costa Rica, the Americans have won by a collective score of 31-0.


United States 9-0 Guatemala, Full Time: If The Mercy Rule Exists, USWNT Missed The Cutoff

At 8-0, the girls decided to stop being big meanies. They added another goal anyway.

The United States did all that was expected of them and more on Saturday night, running riot in Cancun on their way to a 9-0 thrashing of Guatemala. The USWNT now has a +15 goal differential and the maximum six points from their two World Cup qualifying matches.

The seventh goal came only four minutes after halftime from substitute Alex Morgan. Right winger Heather O'Reilly added yet another assist as she sent in a cross from the right flank that was finished brilliantly by Morgan with a spinning backheel. It was a welcome change from most of the previous goals, at least four of which could have been easily prevented.

Goal number eight came from a penalty kick. In the 54th minute, Guatemala's Kathrine Ramos hauled down Alex Morgan in the box, resulting in a yellow card and a penalty kick for the USWNT. Carli Lloyd stepped up to take it and finished confidently to the keeper's right.

The girls then let up on the gas, coasting to a comfortable victory. A ninth would come in the 88th minute, though, thanks to some nice combination play between Morgan and Amy Rodriguez. Morgan cut in down the end line from the left flank and played a pass towards the penalty spot, where Rodriguez was waiting. She made no mistake about slotting the ball into the back of the net, completing her hat trick and making the score 9-0, which is how the match would end.

The United States' last game is against Costa Rica, who has also taken the maximum six points from their first two matches.


United States 6-0 Guatemala: Halftime Update

Hopefully Women's World Cup Qualifying has an obscure mercy rule.

The United States women have piled it on further, expanding their lead to six goals going into halftime. The Guatemalans were completely over-matched in the final 25 minutes of the half as the USWNT piled it on.

The third and fourth goals of the game also came in quick succession, both from Abby Wambach. One came with her head off of a Megan Rapinoe delivery and one came from a great individual effort, finished off with a right footed strike. However, Wambach would not be allowed to complete her perfect hat trick as she was substituted off for Alex Morgan as Pia Sundhage opted to rest her star with a large lead.

Rapinoe added her second goal of the match with a good assist from Carli Lloyd. An impressive passing sequence led to Rapinoe having a simple left-footed strike to put another one past Spross. Only a minute later, substitute Alex Morgan hit the post on a Rapinoe cross. In stoppage time, the USWNT would find their sixth goal through Amy Rodriguez, who tapped in a rebound off of a Heather O'Reilly shot once again.

Coach Sundhage has opted to rest another one of her stars due to the large lead, substituting in Lori Lindsey for Shannon Boxx at halftime in a like for like swap. Yael Averbuch, Kristine Lilly, Ali Krieger, and Becky Sauerbraunn are the remaining field players available off the bench.


United States 2-0 Guatemala: USWNT Gifted Two Goals

The United States has scored two goals in very quick succession, taking control of their match against Guatemala.

Amy Rodriguez has scored her second goal in two games, putting the United States 1-0 up in the 20st minute. Heather O'Reilly attempted a drive from just outside the area that was saved by Spross, but she couldn't hang on and the ball dribbled away for Rodriguez to tap in.

Only one minute later, Megan Rapinoe doubled the U.S. lead. The left winger hit a hard drive with her right foot into the area that could have been a cross or a shot, but it fooled Spross who made another bad error, letting the ball by her and into the back of the net.

The USWNT got off to a sluggish start in the first 20 minutes, but their two quick goals appear to have energized the team and have certainly given them more of a margin for error. Since the two goals, the forwards Rodriguez and Abby Wambach seem more willing to be creative and attempt tricky passes.


Women's World Cup Qualifying, United States vs. Guatemala: Pre-Match Primer

The USWNT kicked off their qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win against Haiti two days ago while Guatemala put in a disappointing performance in a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica. In order to keep their qualification hopes alive, Guatemala will have to pull off a massive upset tonight against a United States team that has never lost in World Cup qualification. This is the first ever meeting between the two nations in women's soccer.

United States coach has made two changes from the match against Haiti, preferring Megan Rapinoe to Yael Averbuch on the left side of midfield and Stephanie Cox to Rachel Buehler at left back.

United States Lineup: Barnhart, Mitts, Rampone, Lepeilbet, Cox, Boxx, Lloyd, Rapinoe, O'Reilly, Rodriguez, Wambach

Guatemala Lineup: Spross, Barrios, Rivera, Pineda, Monterosso, Mendez, Suriano, Sosa, De Leon, Andrade, Ramos

Kickoff is 7:35 pm ET from Estadio Andres Quintana Roo, the home of Atlante F.C. in the Mexican Primera division.


United States 5-0 Haiti: Full-Time Wrap

The United States women's national team did exactly what was expected of them on Thursday night in Cancun with an easy 5-0 win over Haiti in the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying. Abby Wambach netted a hat trick, Rachel Buehler scored her first career goal in a USWNT shirt, and Kristine Lilly made her 350th career appearance, but despite the milestones, it was business as usual.

Three of the five goals came on set pieces, with Yael Averbuch and Carli Lloyd providing great deliveries from dead balls. Lloyd was also particularly impressive with her passing and creativity from open play, an encouraging sign after lackluster performances in the friendly matches against China. Lloyd assisted on the fourth goal of the night, Wambach's second, and helped set Kristine Lilly up for the cross that led to the fifth goal of the night, Wambach's third.

The other goal of the night came via Amy Rodriguez, who tapped in an easy goal off of a corner kick by Averbuch and a header by Wambach. Rodriguez was largely disappointing on the night, but her goal could prove to be a confidence boost going forward.

The United States' next game takes place in two days against Guatemala. That Guatemala team lost in disappointing fashion tonight against Costa Rica, derailing their hopes of qualifying for the 2011 World Cup. The United States will be heavily favored in that match, but it shouldn't be quite as easy as tonight's match against Haiti.


United States 5-0 Haiti: USWNT Makes Three Subs, Wambach Adds Another

Abby Wambach has scored yet again in the 62nd minute to give the United States a 5-0 lead. Kristine Lilly made a fantastic turn and a better cross from the left flank, finding Wambach at the far post for an easy header.

The United States women appear to have let off the gas a bit and have made three substitutions. Kristine Lilly has extended her all time caps record, entering the match for Yael Averbuch, Megan Rapinoe has entered for Heather O'Reilly, and Lauren Cheney has come in for Amy Rodriguez.

The United States has been less direct in the second half and more content to keep the ball. Rapinoe has looked dangerous and Kristine Lilly's technical skill has helped the United States play more of a possession game.


United States 4-0 Haiti: Halftime Update

The United States has extended their lead to 4-0 at halftime of their Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying match against Haiti, although their lead should be much larger.

The third goal game in the 40th minute, once again off of a Yael Averbuch corner. From the right corner, Averbuch hit the ball to the back post for Abby Wambach. She headed it back across the goal where it was easily tapped in by Amy Rodriguez. The goal was Rodriguez's first of the match, although it wasn't her first great opportunity.

In the first minute of second half stoppage time, the USWNT added another. Carli Lloyd skinned her defender on the right flank and put in a cross to the back post. Wambach was making a completely unmarked surging run to the back post and had a simple tap-in to put the United States up 4-0.

The United States played the first half in their normal 4-4-2 setup, but with minor alterations. Yael Averbuch started on the left wing with Carli Lloyd and Shannon Boxx starting in the middle, despite conventional wisdom being that the three wouldn't play together and either Lloyd or Averbuch would be replaced by the quick traditional left winger Megan Rapinoe. However, Rapinoe was poor in the USWNT's last match and Averbuch's delivery on set pieces has been superb. Also, as a result of the team having three players who can cover in the center of midfield, along with the fact that they are playing inferior opposition, both Lloyd and Boxx have made runs forward and into wide positions more often than usual.

If coach Pia Sundhage is looking to make any changes, this seems like an appropriate game to give run-outs to Alex Morgan and Lori Lindsey, the two least capped players in the team. The aforementioned Megan Rapinoe is likely to feature at some point as well.


United States 2-0 Haiti: USWNT Piling It On Early

The United States Women's national team is off to a great start in their quest to win the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup and qualify for the 2011 Women's World Cup, going up 2-0 early on Haiti.

The first goal came in the 9th minute off a set play. Central midfielder Carli Lloyd took a shot from a direct free kick that was saved well by Haiti goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus. Unfortunately for Haiti, the ball eventually fell to U.S. defender Rachel Buehler. She pounced on the loose ball and put it into the back of the net, putting the U.S. up 1-0 and notching her first career international goal.

It took only another six minutes for the USWNT to find their second goal. A corner kick found the head of midfielder Shannon Boxx, who headed towards the goal mouth. Her header looked like it was going to be on target and challenge Saintilus, but U.S. striker Abby Wambach, who was in the way of the goal, deflected the ball just to make sure it was going to give Haiti trouble and give them trouble it did, sailing into the back of the net for the 110th international goal of Wambach's career.

Both goals came from set plays, but striker Amy Rodriguez has had the USWNT's best opportunities from open play. It would be surprising to see the score hold anywhere near 2-0.


U.S. Women's World Cup Qualifying Kicks Off In Mexico

A handful of veterans will lead a largely inexperienced U.S. Women's National Team into World Cup qualifying starting tonight in Cancun, Mexico.

Just seven of the 20 women on the roster have ever played in a World Cup qualifier and head coach Pia Sundhage has never been the head coach of a World Cup team, although she was an assistant with China in 2007.

That doesn't mean the team isn't entirely without experience. Abby Wambach (142 caps), Kristine Lilly (349), Heather O'Reilly (127) and Shannon Boxx (129) all have extensive time with the national team. Goalkeeper Hope Solo is among the familiar names who won't be playing as she is nursing a shoulder injury. In her place are a pair of relatively inexperienced players, Nicole Barnhart (24 caps) and Jill Loyden (1).

The Americans will open play against Haiti before playing Guatemala on Saturday and Costa Rica on Monday to round out their CONCACAF Group B play.

The U.S. is the favorite in their group and will likely play Canada or Mexico in the semifinals.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster

Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders: Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Washington Freedom)

Midfielders: Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (FC Gold Pride), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)

Forwards: Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (California), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

2010 CONCACAF Group B Qualifying Schedule

  • vs. Haiti, Today, 8:30 p.m. ET, CONCACAF.com
  • vs. Guatemala, Saturday, 8:30 p.m. CONCACAF.com
  • vs. Costa Rica, Monday, 9:30 p.m. CONCACAF.com
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