- USA Will Face Costa Rica Live on Universal Sports Network on Friday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m. PT for Berth to 2012 London Olympics
- Lloyd Nets First Career Hat Trick, Giving Her Goals in Each Qualifying Match
- Cheney Posts Tournament-High Sixth Assist
- USA Improves to 11-0-1 in Olympic Qualifying, 26-1-1 Against Mexico
VANCOUVER, Canada (Jan. 24, 2012) – Midfielder Carli Lloyd scored three goals and the U.S. Women’s National Team netted two early strikes in the opening eight minutes to defeat Mexico 4-0 and win Group B of the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament at BC Place Stadium.
The USA earned the full nine points to win the group stage, posting a plus-31 goal differential while earning the right to face Group A runner-up Costa Rica in the semifinal on Friday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on Universal Sports Network and streamed on universalsports.com and CONCACAF.com.
Host Canada will play Mexico in the other semifinal at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET. Canada topped Costa Rica 5-1 on Monday to win Group A. The semifinal winners earn berths to the 2012 London Olympics.
“I am very happy about four goals and especially Carli Lloyd, the way she was on the end of the set pieces,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “In the beginning of the game we got up 2-0 fairly quickly, but after that we couldn’t find the rhythm in the attack and it was a little bit tough for us to change the point of attack and get it going. In the second half, by putting Syd Leroux up top, we stretched the team a little bit and it got better and better. And of course getting that 3-0 goal gave us confidence.”
Three of the USA's goals came via set pieces; two off corner kicks and one off a free kick. The U.S. netted back-to-back goals in the seventh and eighth minutes to gain the quick 2-0 lead. In the seventh minute, Lloyd notched her third goal of the tournament with a nifty finish. The play originated off a Lauren Cheney corner kick from the right side. U.S. defender Rachel Buehler slid to hammer a shot off the right post, but Lloyd was the first to pounce on the rebound and head the bouncing ball through traffic and into the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead.
In the eighth minute, Heather O’Reilly tallied an unassisted goal to make it 2-0, but Amy Rodriguez deserved much of the credit for the score. The speedy Rodriguez, who got the start at left midfield, raced into the left side of the penalty area and crossed a ball that deflected off of a Mexico defender. Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago stretched to her left to parry the ball away, but couldn’t turn it away from danger. O’Reilly rushed the net and pounded the loose ball into the roof of the goal from close range for her fourth score of the group stage. It was her 34th career international goal.
The USA was in control of the match the whole way as some sturdy defending held Mexico without a shot on goal for the entire 90 minutes. Mexico, however, also showed some gritty work on defense and had some key stops to keep the match within reach heading into halftime. Mexico’s biggest stop came from Alina Garciamendez, who bailed out her goalkeeper Santiago with a goal-line block in the 23rd minute after U.S. striker Abby Wambach had cracked a shot on goal from close range.
Mexico did knock the ball around nicely, especially in the second half, but couldn’t find a way to get behind the U.S. defense.
In the 57th minute, Lloyd gave the USA a cushion with her second tally of the game, and fourth of the tournament. O’Reilly was chopped down on the right flank and Cheney took the free kick. A perfect service found Lloyd in at the far post in the six-yard box and she jumped over a Mexican defender to head home. Santiago and Mexico defender Marlene Sandoval appeared to be more concerned with containing Wambach who was in the vicinity, leaving Lloyd to score her second header of the game and third of the tournament. Cheney’s assist to Lloyd was her sixth to lead the tournament competition. Wambach came out of the match after an hour as Sundhage chose to rest her for the all-important semifinal match.
Lloyd completed her hat trick and wrapped up the night in the 86th minute. Substitute Megan Rapinoe took the team’s 11th corner kick on the left side. Buehler, making a near post run, did the brunt of the work to win the ball, and from the end line she sent a right-footed cross on the ground to Lloyd, who was wide open at the top of the six-yard box. Lloyd finished smartly for her fifth goal of the tournament and 33rd of her career.
With the win, the USA improves to 11-0-1 in Olympic qualifying matches and improves to 26-1-1 overall against Mexico. The U.S. has outscored the tournament field 31-0, previously earning a 14-0 win against the Dominican Republic and a 13-0 victory against Guatemala in the other Group B matches.
Mexico could not muster the magic that the team had on Nov. 5, 2010, when it upset the USA with a 2-1 win during the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament to force the USA into a third-place match against Costa Rica, and ultimately a two-game playoff against Italy to qualify for last year’s World Cup.
Mexico only troubled U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo a few times with long range shots that were off the mark and the USA ended the game with a 17-4 shot advantage.
The USA also defeated Costa Rica for berths to the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, winning 4-0 in San Jose, Costa Rica, back on March 3, 2004, and 2-0 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on April 9, 2008, in a match that was played in a dust storm. The USA will have no such issues on Friday night as the game will of course be played indoors at BC Place.
- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Jan. 24, 2012
Competition: 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament – Group B
Venue: BC Place Stadium; Vancouver, Canada
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT
Weather: Indoors; 72 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 2 4
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Carli Lloyd (Rachel Buehler) 7th minute
USA – Heather O’Reilly 8
USA – Carli Lloyd (Lauren Cheney) 57
USA – Carli Lloyd (Rachel Buehler) 86
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 19-Rachel Buehler, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd, 7-Shannon Boxx (16-Lori Lindsey, 77), 8-Amy Rodriguez (14-Sydney Leroux, 46), 12-Lauren Cheney; 20-Abby Wambach (15-Megan Rapinoe, 61)
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 13-Alex Morgan, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head coach: Pia Sundhage
MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago; 3-Marlene Sandoval, 4-Alina Garciamendez (8-Marylin Diaz, 73), 5-Bianca Sierra, 6-Natalie Garcia Mendez; 13-Jennifer Ruiz, 15-Rosario Saucedo, 10-Dinora Garza (7-Teresa Noyola, 66), 17-Veronica Perez; 9-Maribel Dominguez (capt.), 11-Monica Ocampo (18-Christina Murillo, 59)
Subs not used: 2-Arianna Romero, 12-Anjuli Ladron De Guevara, 16-Anisa Guajardo, 19-Monica Alvarado, 20-Chrystal Martinez
Not eligible: 14-Renae Cuellar
Head coach: Leonardo Cuellar
Statistical Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 17 / 4
Shots on Goal: 9 / 0
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 11 / 1
Fouls: 11 / 7
Offside: 2 / 2
Referee: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Marie-Josee Charbonneau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Shirley Perello (HON)
4th Official: Irazema Aguilera (CUB)
Bud Light Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd