With a place in next summer’s World Cup in Canada already secured, the U.S. WNT set about confirming its regional dominance, beating Costa Rica 6-0 at PPL Park.
After being left out of the starting lineup for the 3-0 semifinal win versus Mexico, Abby Wambach led the way with four goals tonight against the young Ticas.
With World Cup hosts Canada receiving a bye into the 2015 Women’s World Cup, this World Cup Qualifying/ CONCACAF Championship figured to be a stroll for the world’s number one ranked nation.
When the U.S. opened the tournament with a less than impressive 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, some cracks began to appear in the Americans facade of invincibility. But a 5-0 win over Guatemala righted the ship and the U.S. WNT machine began picking up steam as the CONCACAF Championships progressed.
Coach Jill Ellis has experimented with various lineups throughout this regional championship. College star Morgan Brian got a run tonight at the fulcrum of the U.S. attack, playing between seasoned vets Carli Lloyd and Lauren Holiday in a stacked a U.S. midfield.
Centerback Becky Sauerbrunn also was back in the lineup, as she continues to compete for a spot in a crowded central defense.
As for Wambach, the powerful striker played like she had something to prove against Las Ticas, and prove it she did, notching a first half hat trick to devastate Costa Rica.
Wambach towered over Las Ticas diminutive defenders and her physique played a role in all three of her first half tallies. But goal number four, career goal 178 was pure skill, as Wambach delicately chipped the keeper.
The U.S. showed that they meant business right from the start of this final, when Carli Lloyd scored in the fourth minute off of a set up from Wambach. Roles were reversed in the 17th minute when Lloyd, who scored two goals for the U.S. against Mexico on Friday, served up an assist for Wambach.
Two more Wambach goals before the halftime whistle put this one to bed early, and should be enough to allow the U.S. to maintain its grip on the number one position in the FIFA World Rankings.
From the start Costa Rica were not content to sit back, to their credit the young Ticas tried to attack their illustrious opponents when they could. Alas, discretion is often the better part of valor, although despite this beating Costa Rica may have learned some valuable lessons tonight.
The learning continues too for Ellis, who took over as U.S. WNT head coach on a full time basis in May. Ellis has the difficult, if enviable task of leafing through the enormous depth of talent at her disposal, and figuring out her best 11, and 23.
Keep in mind than that injury knocked Alex Morgan out of this tournament early. Add Morgan to the mix of attacking options that includes Wambach, Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd, Christian Press, Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath. It is dizzying. The Americans outscored their compatriots 21-0 enroute to claiming a seventh straight CONCACAF title.
In addition to selecting her team, Ellis is now faced with sharpening her squad in preparation for far tougher competition that awaits next year in Canada as the defending Olympic Champions look to claim its third World Cup, and first since 1999.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 2 6
CRC 0 0 0
USA – Abby Wambach (Morgan Brian) 4th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (Abby Wambach) 17
USA – Abby Wambach (Carli Lloyd) 35
USA – Abby Wambach (Carli Lloyd) 41
USA – Abby Wambach (Sydney Leroux) 71
USA – Sydney Leroux (Tobin Heath) 73
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 16-Meghan Klingenberg, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 11-Ali Krieger; 12-Lauren Holiday, 7-Morgan Brian (2-Sydney Leroux, 56), 10-Carli Lloyd; 14-Christen Press (9-Heather O’Reilly, 56), 20-Abby Wambach, 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Tobin Heath, 57)
Subs Not Used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Whitney Engen, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Julie Johnston
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
CRC: 1-Dinnia Diaz; 5-Diana Saenz (9-Carolina Venegas, 46), 6-Carol Sanchez, 8-Daniela Cruz, 10-Shirley Cruz (capt.); 11-Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño, 12-Lixy Rodriguez (2-Gabriela Guillen, 76), 15-Cristin Granados, 16-Katherine Alvarado; 17-Daphnne Herrera, 20-Wendy Patricia Acosta (19-Fabiola Sanchez, 74)
Subs Not Used: 3-Mariane Ugalde, 4-Maríiana Benavidez, 7-Gloriana Villalobos, 13-Noelia Bermudez, 14-Yesmi Rodriguez, 18-Yirlania Arroyo
Head Coach: Avedissian Garabet
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 21 / 2
Shots on Goal: 14 / 0
Saves: 0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 18 / 6
Offside: 1 / 2
USA – Megan Rapinoe (caution) 27th minute
USA – Lauren Holiday (caution) 60