Abby Wambach scored a pair of goals to lead the United States past Haiti 6-0 on Monday and punch their ticket to the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying semifinals.
The USWNT got off on the right foot, scoring the opener in the 9th minute when Carli Lloyd was able to chest down a poor clearance from Haiti goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus and blast her shot into the back of the net. Meghan Klingenberg started the sequence by chipping a ball into the box, but Saintilus' attempt to punch it clear went right to Lloyd.
The dominance continued, even if the clear-cut chances weren't exactly frequent as the United States kept Haiti almost hopelessly pinned back. Wambach did add another goal to her tally before the half, though, again taking advantage of a poor clearance from a Haiti defender. This time, Christen Press sent in a cross that first hit off a Haiti defender, but Wambach was able to quickly head it past the goalkeeper in the 39th minute.
The second half was much of the same with the USWNT dominating possession and Haiti basically being reduced to bunkering deep in their own end in an effort to limit opportunities. But it didn't take long for the next breakthrough. Heather O'Reilly sent in a cross that Haiti was unable to effectively clear. Klingenberg was able to run onto it about 24 yards and laced a half-volley past the goalkeeper.
Just four minutes later, Wambach added her second goal. Again, she got it by taking advantage of a poor Haiti clearance. Lloyd was able to get her head onto a ball into the box and it fell to Wambach's feet, at which point she easily finished.
Christen Press added goal No. 5 in the 65th minute and then set up Morgan Brian for goal No. 6 in the 82nd minute.
USA: Ashlyn Harris; Kelley O'Hara, Christie Rampone, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg; Carli Lloyd, Lauren Holiday, Megan Rapinoe (Heather O'Reilly 45); Christen Press, Abby Wambach (Sydney Leroux 62), Tobin Heath (Morgan Brian 63).
Goals: Lloyd (9'), Wambach (39', 61'), Klingenberg (57'), Press (65'), Brian (82')
Haiti: Geralda Saintilus; Kencia Marseille (capt.), Kimberly Boulos, Lindsay Zullo, Woodlyne Robuste; Marie Jean Pierre; Samantha Brand, Shanna Hudson (Generve Charles 84), Yvrose Gervil; Roselord Borgella, Clorene Rateau.
1. Mission accomplished -- There was never much doubt that the USWNT was going to move through the group stage, but it's still worth pointing out that they did it. That they managed to get through without allowing a goal and outscoring opponents 12-0 is also a feather in their cap, albeit somewhat expected. Now they'll likely play Mexico in the semifinals on Friday for a chance to go to the World Cup.
2. They finally dominated for 90 minutes -- The opener against Trinidad & Tobago was far more tense than anyone wanted and the 5-0 romp over Guatemala was an improvement, but this was the first time that the U.S. looked like the better team for virtually every minute of the match. Haiti could barely get out of their own end, let alone pose any kind of credible threat to Ashlyn Harris. The US pushed high, never let up and punished the mistakes Haiti made. All six goals weren't pretty -- in fact a lot of them were the opposite -- but the U.S. deserves credit for forcing the errors, too.
3. The attack is just fine without Alex Morgan -- Again, this is more confirmation than real discovery, but this should really put to rest any doubts that the loss of Morgan would be a serious problem, at least in the short term. Press was dangerous throughout and Wambach did her thing as a classic No. 9. Tobin Heath was the other starting forward and looked perfectly fine. That Sydney Leroux wasn't even called upon until it was 4-0 speaks to just how deep this team is.