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WNT Punches Ticket to Rio With 5-0 Win Against Trinidad & Tobago

HOUSTON, Texas (Feb. 19, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a berth to its sixth consecutive Olympic Games with a 5-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago in the semifinal of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Canada earned CONCACAF’s other spot with a 3-1 victory against Costa Rica in the other semifinal and will meet the United States in the tournament’s championship game on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. CT live on NBC Universo and NBC Live Extra, and on replay at 10 p.m. CT on NBCSN.

Alex Morgan’s third career hat trick led the way for the USA as she scored once in the first half and twice in the second while Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd also tallied. Lloyd increased her goals in Olympic Qualifying to 12 and is two goals away from tying Abby Wambach’s record of 14 goals career goals in this tournament.

Hope Solo earned her 94th shutout and recorded her 143rd win, further extending her U.S. records.

On the other end, T&T goalkeeper Kimika Forbes made more than a few excellent saves to keep the score down.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Tobin Heath (Mallory Pugh), 12th minute:
Mallory Pugh sprinted past a defender down the left flank and cut a pass on the ground back into the middle. Heath made a hard run into the box and beat her defender to the ball to send a powerful spinning left-footed strike into the right side of the net. The goal was Heath’s first since the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final against Japan, USA1, TRI 0 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Alex Morgan (Lindsey Horan), 30th minute: Kelley O’Hara sent a fantastic cross from the right side that Lindsey Horan got under near the far post and headed the ball back into the middle where Alex Morgan was waiting. Morgan used the inside of her left foot to tap it home for her 60th international goal. USA 2, TRI 0. (SEE GOAL)

USA – Carli Lloyd (Morgan Brian), 43rd minute: Morgan Brian took a USA corner kick from the right and Carli Lloyd met the cross in the middle of the box to send a powerful header that slipped through the arms and legs of kneeling T&T goalkeeper Kimika Forbes, who up until then had a fantastic game. USA 3, TRI 0 (SEE GOAL).

USA – Alex Morgan, 71st minute: Samantha Mewis headed the ball on goal but T&T defender Jennelle Cunningham was able to clear the ball off the goal line. Alex Morgan jumped on the clearance inside the six-yard box and again headed it on goal but Cunningham once again cleared it out, this time with her head. Morgan then pounced on the second rebound and this time to blasted home a left-footed shot for her second goal of the match. USA 4, TRI 0. (SEE GOAL)

USA – Alex Morgan (Morgan Brian), 72nd minute: Julie Johnston passed the ball to Morgan Brian who was just outside the penalty area. Brian the crossed it to the middle of the area where Alex Morgan volleyed it inside of the right post to complete her third career hat trick. USA 5, TRI 0 (SEE GOAL) FINAL.

Key Saves and Defensive Stops
TRI – Kimika Forbes, 3rd minute:
Meghan Klingenberg slipped a pass into the penalty area for Alex Morgan on the left side. Morgan fired hard and low, but Kimika Forbes did a great job to put her body in front of the ball and blocked the attempt with her legs to keep the game scoreless early on.

TRI – Kimika Forbes, 22nd minute: Carli Lloyd outran a pair of defenders into the box and blasted a powerful attempt to the middle of the net but Kimika Forbes was once again alert batted the ball away.

TRI – Kimika Forbes, 29th minute: Carli Lloyd fed Alex Morgan into the left side of the penalty area, but Forbes once again used her body well to block the shot with her legs.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. WNT will face Canada in the title game of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. CT. The U.S. has qualified for its sixth consecutive Olympics and will attempt to win the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship for the fourth consecutive time. The championship final will match can be viewed live NBC Universo and NBC Live Extra, and on replay at 10 p.m. CT on NBCSN.

Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt@ussoccer_esp);FacebookInstagram; Snapchat (ussoccer_wnt)

Additional Notes:

  • The U.S. WNT extended its streak to nine consecutive games in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying without allowing a goal, dating back to the Final of the 2008 Qualifying tournament when the U.S. tied Canada 1-1 on April 12, 2008 and went on to win in penalty kicks 6-5.
  • The USA has never lost a match in Olympic Qualifying, but did tie Canada 1-1 in the title game of the 2008 tournament before prevailing in penalty kicks. It remains unbeaten in all-time CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying with a 17-0-1 record.
  • Tonight’s match was the second consecutive start for Kelley O’Hara and Mallory Pugh after both were in the starting XI against Puerto Rico on Feb. 15. It was also Pugh’s second career start.
    • Johnston and Horan played in their third Olympic qualifier. They both made their Olympic Qualifying debut against Costa Rica on Feb. 10. Samantha Mewis played in her second Olympic Qualifying match when she came in for Horan in the 60th minute.
    • With tonight’s start, five players in the lineup have now seen action in every game so far in the tournament: Lloyd, Morgan, Brian, Klingenberg and Pugh. Lloyd is the only one to have started every match so far in the tournament. Dunn and Press, who came in as subs in the second half in the 66th and 59th, have also played in all four matches.
    • Lloyd and Brian, who play for the NWSL’s Houston Dash, played in their home venue, BBVA Compass Stadium and combined for the USA’s third goal.
    • Lloyd is the only player at this year’s Olympic Qualifying tournament to have scored in all four games.
    • Morgan’s hat trick was her first since Nov. 28, 2012, against Ireland.
    • Seven players on the roster have scored a goal in an Olympic Qualifying match for the USA: Lloyd (12), Morgan (9), Dunn (6), Heath (4), Press (3), O’Hara (1) and Mewis (1).
    • Heath’s goal marked her 13th international score.
    • Dunn, Morgan and Lloyd lead the scoring in this year’s tournament with six, five and four goals, respectively.
    • Sauerbrunn made her 99th appearance for the WNT, and could hit the century mark if she plays on Sunday’s championship match.
    • Pugh is the youngest player ever named to a U.S. Olympic Qualifying roster. She also became the youngest female player in WNT history to play in an Olympic qualifier match at 17 years, 9 months and 12 days old when she came on for Dunn in the 68th minute against Costa Rica on Feb. 10. She recorded her first career assist against Puerto Rico on Feb. 15. She assisted on another goal in tonight’s match.

Milestone Watch:

  • Carli Lloyd leads the team with 13 all-time Olympic Qualifying appearances. With 12 Olympic Qualifying goals scored, Lloyd is two goals behind Abby Wambach’s U.S. record of 14 goals in Olympic Qualifying. Alex Morgan has nine tallies and Crystal Dunn has six.
  • Lloyd earned her 216th cap tonight while Hope Solo recorded her 189th, extending her own record for a U.S. goalkeeper.
  • Lloyd has now scored 86 international goals and remains in sixth place on the WNT’s all-time scoring list. Lloyd has scored 23 goals in the USA’s last 18 matches starting with the Round of 16 game vs. Colombia at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
  • With her tally in the 30th minute, Morgan tied Shannon MacMillan for eighth on the USA’s all-time scoring list. She then scored two more and with 62 goals now has sole possession of eighth place.
  • Solo played in her 11th Olympic Qualifying match, earning her 94th shutout tonight and 143rd wins.

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report – 

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: Feb. 19, 2016
Competition: 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying – Semifinals
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 5,561
Weather: 69 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            3          2          5
TRI                              0          0          0

USA – Tobin Heath (Mallory Pugh)                            12th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Lindsay Horan)                         30
USA – Carli Lloyd (Morgan Brian)                              43
USA – Alex Morgan                                                    71
USA – Alex Morgan (Morgan Brian)                          73

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O'Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 14-Morgan Brian, 9-Lindsey Horan (3-Samantha Mewis, 60), 17-Tobin Heath, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (16-Crystal Dunn, 66), 2-Mallory Pugh (12-Christen Press, 59); 13-Alex Morgan
Subs Not Used: 6-Emily Sonnett, 11-Ali Krieger, 15-Stephanie McCaffrey, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Jaelene Hinkle, 20-Alyssa Naeher
Head coach: Jill Ellis

TRI: 1-Kimika Forbes; 2-Jenelle Cunningham, 4-Danielle Blair, 5-Arin King, 6-Khadidra Debesette, 8-Victoria Swift (11-Janine Francois, 68), 9-Maylee Attin-Johnson (capt.), 10-Tasha St. Louis (3-Mariah Shade, 72), 12-Ahkeela Mollon, 14-Karyn Forbes, 19-Kennya Cordner
Subs Not Used: 7-Kayla Taylor, 13-Naomie Guerra, 15-Lian Hinds, 16-Jo Marie Lewis, 17-Anastasia Prescott, 18-Shalette Alexander, 20-Saundra Baron
Head coach: Richard Hood

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 27 / 1
Shots on Goal: 15 / 0
Saves:  0 / 9
Corner Kicks: 10 / 0
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 7 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
TRI – Tasha St. Louis (caution)                27th minute

Officials:
Referee: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
Assistant Referee 1: Mayling Chavarria (NCA)
Assistant Referee 2: Princess Brown (JAM)
4th Official: Quetzalli Alvarado (MEX)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Alex Morgan

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WNT Feb 19, 2016

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: Feb. 19, 2016
Competition: 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying – Semifinals
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 5,561
Weather: 69 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:       1          2          F
USA                             3          2          5
TRI                               0          0          0

USA – Tobin Heath (Mallory Pugh)                                  12th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Lindsay Horan)                                30
USA – Carli Lloyd (Morgan Brian)                                    43
USA – Alex Morgan                                                       71
USA – Alex Morgan (Morgan Brian)                                 73

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O'Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 14-Morgan Brian, 9-Lindsey Horan (3-Samantha Mewis, 60), 17-Tobin Heath, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (16-Crystal Dunn, 66), 2-Mallory Pugh (12-Christen Press, 59); 13-Alex Morgan
Subs Not Used: 6-Emily Sonnett, 11-Ali Krieger, 15-Stephanie McCaffrey, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Jaelene Hinkle, 20-Alyssa Naeher
Head coach: Jill Ellis

TRI: 1-Kimika Forbes; 2-Jenelle Cunningham, 4-Danielle Blair, 5-Arin King, 6-Khadidra Debesette, 8-Victoria Swift (11-Janine Francois, 68), 9-Maylee Attin-Johnson (capt.), 10-Tasha St. Louis (3-Mariah Shade, 72), 12-Ahkeela Mollon, 14-Karyn Forbes, 19-Kennya Cordner
Subs Not Used: 7-Kayla Taylor, 13-Naomie Guerra, 15-Lian Hinds, 16-Jo Marie Lewis, 17-Anastasia Prescott, 18-Shalette Alexander, 20-Saundra Baron
Head coach: Richard Hood

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 27 / 1
Shots on Goal: 15 / 0
Saves:  0 / 9
Corner Kicks: 10 / 0
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 7 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
TRI – Tasha St. Louis (caution)                     27th minute

Officials:
Referee: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
Assistant Referee 1: Mayling Chavarria (NCA)
Assistant Referee 2: Princess Brown (JAM)
4th Official: Quetzalli Alvarado (MEX)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Alex Morgan

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US Soccer

The Brooklyn Italians: More than a Club

Borough Park is not Williamsburg. The corner of 58th St. & 18th Ave is Brooklyn-Brooklyn and the headquarters, the still-beating heart, of the Brooklyn Italians Soccer Club. “It used to be Italian people as far as you could see in this neighborhood,” said Ludo Masucci, current club director, unlocking the front door and nodding to a family of Hasidic Jews who pass. “All the way up to 85th street. To Bensonhurst and the Bay.” 

He threw a switch inside and the fluorescent bulbs warmed over an old social club. It’s an ethnic club like thousands of others established by Italians and Poles and Slovaks and Portuguese. These waves, these eager arrivals through the 19th and 20th century, through to the end of World War II, made America the place it is today. They made New York City’s borough of Brooklyn a miracle of a melting pot. But this one social club is a little bit different. Trophies of all shapes and sizes line the walls like a parade. Pictures of Pele and former club president Joe Manfredi smile out from behind the glass of a trophy case. There’s a young Maradona. Is that Franco Baresi? This club is a museum. It’s not well curated – there are piles and stacks of this and that – buried treasures waiting for attention, but it’s a monument packed with mementos of titles and triumphs.

The sign over the front door says it – it bellows out in block letters: U.S. Open Champions 1979 & 1991. Founded 1949. “Everyone knows the Brooklyn Italians,” said Masucci. He smiled at a group of children tapping on the glass, eyeing the trophies along the ledge. “They always come up to us and say, “we know the Brooklyn Italians!”

Strong Roots & a String of Names
The Brooklyn Italians have gone by many names in these last 69 years. They were Inter-Brooklyn Italians, Inter SC and even Boca Juniors for a year. They were Palermo FC and the Brooklyn Dodgers (they won the 1979 USOC under this name) before they came around and settled back on Brooklyn Italians. They won the Open Cup twice, in 1979 and 1991, when it was still known as the National Challenge Cup. And they went to two other Finals (’81 and ’90). They are widely considered one of the best Americans teams during those years when everyone had a day-job and semi-pro was as good as it got.

“I just loved to play the game,” said Silvio Montalto, captain of the 1979 Cup winners, now in his sixties and surrounded by photos of his younger self and the team that beat local heroes and three-time Open Cup finalists Chicago Croatia (HNNK Hrvat) in the summer of 1979. “My high school team in Brooklyn was pretty bad – they didn’t know anything about soccer. Some of the Italians from the other high school teams told me about Brooklyn Italians and that’s how I ended up here.”


(The 1979 Open Cup-winning Brooklyn Italians [Dodgers] - Silvio Montalto, 2nd from Right, Standing)

Montalto went on to play for 16 years, a Brooklyn Italian from 1970 to 1986. “Sixteen years. Straight. Non-stop,” he said with a big smile, an espresso cup tiny in his huge hands. While Montalto was one of the best midfielders in the country, he was also a construction worker. “It wasn’t easy to keep up with practice and games and the job. We were getting paid to play, but it wasn’t enough to live on,” said Montalto, his accent from the South of Italy, from Palermo, Sicily, still thick all these years on. “But for me, I just loved to play. It wasn’t about money, or amateur or pro. League games, Open Cup, whatever. Here in Brooklyn, out on the road. I just loved it.”

Lost Generation – Not Forgotten
“If he were playing today, he’d be a huge star,” an old man from a corner table said of Montalto. His three companions nodded. Montalto will happily tell you about the time he had a trial with Juventus. Ask him how it went? He’ll wink and answer: “how do you think?” How far he could have gone or would have gone are debates with nostalgia – the never-ending fodder for lazy afternoons over coffee at the club. But when Montalto was in his prime, the Brooklyn Italians were the best in this country, or right there among it.

It was the same in the late 80s. In those days Mike Windischmann was the captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team and his club was the Brooklyn Italians. It was listed right there on the team sheet when he traveled abroad to compete at the1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Today he laughs when he remembers waiting around in Brooklyn, there at the social club, for someone to finish their coffee and drive him back to Long Island after a game.

“A lot of people ask me now, ‘how come you didn’t leave New York and go play somewhere else?’ and I always tell them that the Brooklyn Italians was some of the best soccer in the country,” said Windischmann, a defender who came to Ridgewood, Queens with his parents from Germany when he was still just a baby. For Windischmann, it was a straight line from the Brooklyn Italians to the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

A Club fit for an American Captain
“There was so much talent in the Brooklyn Italians back then,” remembered Windischmann, who called the club home between 1985 and 1988. He still lives in Queens and teaches physical education in Hollis. “We hardly ever lost. We won everything we played in. I didn’t need to go anywhere to find better soccer or a better team.”


(Interior shot of the Brooklyn Italians Soccer Club - photo Jonah Fontela)

The list of luminaries who’ve pulled on a Brooklyn Italians jersey – and likely waited for rides back home while the bosses sipped coffee and commiserated – is a long one. Hubert Birkenmeier (Cosmos, NASL), Tab Ramos of the U.S. National Team, USA captain John Harkes, Dragan Radovich (NASL), Windischmann himself, Cosmos and Iran international Andranik Eskandarian, current Mexico National Team boss Juan Carlos Osorio, Carlos Llamosa, Toronto FC President Bill Manning and Shalrie Joseph, head coach of Grenada’s National Team and a former MLS all-star and Open Cup winner with New England Revolution. And list goes on. “Who can remember all of them,” asked former club president Jerry Valerio. He joined as a member in 1974, became vice president and then took over the big chair in 1987.

“Our secret was that we had good players,” said Mike Ryback who coached the team for eleven years and won the Open Cup in 1991. “You can have the best coach in the world but without the talent on the field you’ll win exactly nothing.”

Those Heroes of 1991
Ryback had emigrated from Russia in 1980 to Brighton Beach, where he still lives today. He didn’t speak a word of English. “Lucky for me there was a Russian player in the team, Len Roitman, and he was my translator in the beginning before I got caught up.”

They may have been known as The Italians, but those teams from the 70s, 80s and 90s were an international smorgasbord. “We had guys from Africa, Latin America, American guys, Irish guys, Haitian guys – you name it – we had it,” said Junior Superbia, an elegant midfielder from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “It was a very diverse club. And what came natural to us was playing a possession-based game. It translated right away from a great team on paper to a great team on the field.”


(1991 Brooklyn Italians before Open Cup Semifinal)

Superbia, who was cut weeks before the New England Revolution’s first MLS game in 1996, was a member of the Brooklyn Italians side that won the 1991 Open Cup after losing the Final the year before. “It was one of the toughest losses of my life,” Superbia remembered of the game that turned on a mistake by one of the club’s greatest-ever players, goalkeeper Dragan Radovich. “We suffered the next year too. We played for 75 minutes of the ‘91 Final a man down after Bill Manning got a red card…but even without him, playing with ten, it was like we were in the zone. It felt like at least eleven!”

Brooklyn’s Globetrotters
“The talent we had was so fun to think about,” said Ernest Inneh. He scored the only goal in the 1991 Final. He never worried about the early-era artificial turf at their home field, having grown up playing on dust and dirt in his native Nigeria. “Back then we used our brain and our skill – not our physicality. It was about dribbling; about make the other guys look stupid. No one does that anymore.”  

Nostalgia is thick among the old Brooklyn Italians when they talk about those good old days. The heat becomes hotter. The opposing players get bigger. Stronger too. The brawls become pitched battles and they’ll swear they played both halves of every game going up hill.

What they remember clearest, and best, is the celebrations. “We had the whole plane to ourselves on the flight back from Chicago,” said Montalto of the trip home from the ‘79 Open Cup Final. “It’s difficult to put words on it because it was so unbelievable. We were champions of the whole USA. We never won anything so big. We couldn’t stop smiling.”

The Memories that Linger
“I remember lifting the trophy and feeling so light – the fans were all with us and around us,” said Superbia, soft-spoken and thoughtful when he remembers being surrounded by fans and friends at Brooklyn College after the ‘91 Final. “I exchanged jerseys with one of the Richardson Rockets players.”


(Trophies in the window of the Brooklyn Italians Social Club - photo Jonah Fontela)

Jerry Valerio, to this day, is still upset about the sending off of Bill Manning in that '91 Final, the last Open Cup won by the Brooklyn Italians. But he remembers the party with a smile. “Both teams, even the ref, came to a restaurant in Coney Island and we had just a beautiful time.” Superbia nodded: “We all came together at the restaurant and we celebrated. It felt like such a great thing because we knew what it meant to play for Brooklyn Italians. We played from the heart.”

“I didn’t sleep that whole night. I was too excited. I was like a kid,” said Valerio, now 80 years old. His eyes water from age and emotion. All of the Brooklyn Italians, each closer to old than they are to young, light up when they remember the champagne – of what it felt like to be a be a champion for that Sunday, no matter what you had to do come Monday. “When you’re young you’re happy because you win something,” Montalto said, eyeing himself up on that wall and behind glass. “But when you look back now, from distance, you realize how special it really was.”

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