Breaking Down the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament
The U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team enters the 2012 CONCACAF Womenâ€™s Olympic Qualifying Tournament against some familiar foes (Mexico) and some not-so-familiar sides (Dominican Republic). We run down the tournament field and how the U.S. WNT has fared against the region as the USA looks to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
The U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team will have been in Canada for three days of training before beginning the 2012 CONCACAF Womenâ€™s Qualifying Tournament on Friday, Jan. 20, against the Dominican Republic. Here is a team-by-team breakdown of how the U.S. WNT has fared against the other seven teams competing in the tournament:
Jan. 20: USA vs. Dominican Republic (10:30 p.m. ET) â€“ The U.S. faces the Dominican Republic for the first time this Friday. The Dominican Republic is looking for its first Olympic qualification.
Jan. 22: USA vs. Guatemala (7:30 p.m. ET) â€“ The U.S. battles Guatemala for just the second time this Sunday. In the only meeting between the two sides, the U.S. routed Guatemala 9-0 on Oct. 30, 2010, at Estadio Quintana Roo in Cancun, Mexico. Amy Rodriguez netted her first hat trick as the USA advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Womenâ€™s World Cup Qualifying Tournament. Abby Wambach added two goals in a span of about two minutes in the first half, Megan Rapinoe had two goals, and Carli Lloyd contributed a penalty-kick goal and three assists.
Jan. 24: USA vs. Mexico (10:30 p.m. ET) â€“ The U.S. has recorded a 25-1-1 record against Mexico since the two sides first squared off against each other on April 18, 1991, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That first match resulted in a 12-0 U.S. victory. The USA has obviously dominated the series, but Mexico has played the USA tightly in recent years. The Mexicans earned their first victory over the U.S. on Nov. 5, 2010 â€“ a 2-1 victory in the CONCACAF Womenâ€™s World Cup Qualifying Tournament that pushed the U.S. into a third-place match against Costa Rica and ultimately a two-game playoff against Italy to qualify for the World Cup. Mexicoâ€™s Maribel Dominguez and Veronica Perez were the first-half goal scorers during Mexicoâ€™s lone win over the USA. Last year the U.S. topped Mexico 1-0 on June 5, with Lauren Cheney netting a dramatic long-distance goal in second-half stoppage time.
THE REST OF THE FIELD:
Canada: The U.S. WNT extended its unbeaten streak to 24 games against Canada by posting a 2-0-1 record last year. Overall, the USA is 42-3-5 against its neighbor to the north, and Canadaâ€™s last victory against the Americans was a 3-0 decision on March 11, 2001, in Lagos, Portugal. In 2011, Abby Wambach carried the offense in two matches, netting two goals during a 3-0 win against Canada on Sept. 22, preceded by her lone goal for a 1-1 draw on Sept. 17. Lindsay Tarpley tallied a game-winner on Jan. 23 during the USAâ€™s 2-1 victory over Canada. In the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament final, the U.S. topped Canada 6-5 in a shootout, with USA goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart saving Brittany Timkoâ€™s penalty kick to wrap up the win.
Costa Rica: The U.S. has never lost and has never given up a goal against Costa Rica since the two teams first met in 2000. The USA is a perfect 7-0-0 and has outscored Costa Rica by a 34-0 margin. The two sides did not play against each other last year, with the last match taking place on Nov. 8, 2010 â€“ a 3-0 U.S. victory.
Cuba: The U.S. has not faced Cuba in international competition.
Haiti: The U.S. is 3-0-0 against Haiti all-time with a dominant 23-0 scoring edge. The debut match took place on April 25, 1991, with the U.S. cruising to a 10-0 victory during qualifying for the FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup. Michelle Akers, Tracey Bates, April Heinrichs and Carin Jennings each had two goals in that match. The U.S. and Haiti met in 2004 Olympic qualifying, with the U.S. posting an 8-0 win on Feb. 27. On Oct. 28, 2010, the U.S. shut out Haiti 5-0 during CONCACAF Womenâ€™s World Cup qualifying.
The group stage of the 2012 CONCACAF Womenâ€™s Olympic Qualifying Tournament opens Thursday in Group A, with Costa Rica playing Cuba and Canada facing Haiti. Group B play opens on Friday with Mexico facing Guatemala and the U.S. facing the Dominican Republic. The semifinals take place on Friday, Jan. 27, and the final is on Sunday, Jan. 31. The top two teams advance to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
Group A schedule:
Jan. 19: Costa Rica vs. Cuba, 8 p.m. ET
Jan. 19: Canada vs. Haiti, 10:30 p.m. ET
Jan. 21: Haiti vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. ET
Jan. 21: Canada vs. Cuba, 10:30 p.m. ET
Jan. 23: Cuba vs. Haiti, 8 p.m. ET
Jan. 23: Canada vs. Costa Rica, 10:30 p.m. ET
Group B schedule:
Jan. 20: Mexico vs. Guatemala, 8 p.m. ET
Jan. 20: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 10:30 ET
Jan. 22: Mexico vs. Dominican Republic, 5 p.m. ET
Jan. 22: USA vs. Guatemala, 7:30 p.m. ET
Jan. 24: Guatemala vs. Dominica Republic, 8 p.m. ET
Jan. 24: USA vs. Mexico, 10:30 p.m. ET
Jan. 27: Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up, 8 p.m. ET
Jan. 27: Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up, 11 p.m. ET
Jan. 29: Semifinal winners, 8 p.m. ET
The 2012 CONCACAF Womenâ€™s Olympic Qualifying Tournament marks the third time the event has taken place. The U.S. won in both 2004, when the tournament process launched, and in 2008. The USA topped Mexico 3-2 to earn the 2004 crown and edged Canada 6-5 in a shootout to win in 2008 after both sides played to a 1-1 score through regulation and overtime.
On Wednesday, Universal Sports Network announced that it will provide live coverage of the entire 2012 CONCACAF Womenâ€™s Olympic Qualifying Tournament:
Universal Sports Network/UniversalSports.com
CONCACAF Womenâ€™s Olympic Qualifying Broadcast Schedule
Date Match Time (ET)
Jan. 20 USA vs. Dominican Republic 10:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 USA vs. Guatemala 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 USA vs. Mexico 10:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 Semifinal TBD
Jan. 29 Final (live on NBCSN) 8 p.m.
Jan. 29 Final (delayed re-air) 11 p.m.
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football is one of six continental confederations of FIFA and serves as the governing body of football in this part of the world. Formed in 1961, following the merger of the Confederacion Centroamericana y Caribe de Futbol and the North American Football Confederation, CONCACAF is comprised of 40 national associations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana in the south.