Crystal Dunn scored five goals as the U.S. Women National Team eased its way into the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Semifinals with a 10-0 victory over a hapless Puerto Rico side, and in truth, the game wasn’t really that close.
With that semifinal berth having previously been secured U.S. coach Jill Ellis made wholesale changes to the lineup that won the first two games against Costa Rica, 5-0, and Mexico, 1-0.
Dunn was one of the regular first 11 to retain her place and she set the tone tonight in Frisco, Texas with the opening goal in the sixth minute when she slotted home after good set up work from 17-year-old Mallory Pugh.
Pugh also made the second goal possible when she drew a penalty that captain Carli Lloyd finished, scoring after a controversial penalty call for the second time in as many games.
In Saturday’s 1-0 win over Mexico, Lloyd followed her pk to score after her initial spot kick had been saved. That penalty looked like a bad call and tonight replays confirmed that Pugh tripped over her own feet, although there was a slight push.
It would hardly matter as the goals soon piled up. Dunn made it 3-0 with her second and Kelley O’Hara sent to the U.S. to the break 4-0 leaders with skillful backheeled effort.
The halftime stats showed the U.S. possessed the ball for 78% percent of the first 45 minutes though it was difficult to recall that much time on the ball for the overmatched underdogs.
The second half was more of the same, only worse for the visitors with Dunn leading the way with a second stanza hat trick to claim a piece of the U.S. WNT record, becoming the seventh player to notch five goals in one game.
Just on the hour mark teen sensation Pugh forced an own goal, just part of a fine night by the fast-rising national team star. Less than a minute later Dunn pounced on a Puerto Rican defensive error and fired a fine left-footed shot to complete her hat trick, but as we know, there was more to come from the 2015 NWSL MVP.
Incredibly, and painfully for Puerto Rico, when Christen Press banged home U.S. goal number seven with 61:57 showing on the unofficial game clock the Americans had scored three times in less than two minutes.
Dunn capped her big night with two more goals 1:45 apart, with the second shaking the twines in the 87th minute. Then, finally, as the clock struck 90 midfielder Sam Mewis put one more past the beleaguered Puerto Rico keeper, for the first international goal of Mewis’ career.
It was a different story earlier on Monday night as Costa Rica ousted Mexico by a 2-1 score behind a brace from recent Sky Blue FC draftee Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno. Rodriguez Cedeno also claimed a hat trick in Costa Rica’s previous game versus Puerto Rico.
The Ticas eliminated Mexico with the win and will go up against favored Canada in one semifinal on Friday with the Americans opponent in the remaining semi still to be determined.
Friday’s matches will determine CONCACAF’s representatives at this summer’s Olympic Games, with the two winners heading to Rio.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 6 10
PUR 0 0 0
USA – Crystal Dunn (Mallory Pugh) 6th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (Penalty Kick) 19
USA – Crystal Dunn (Christen Press) 21
USA – Kelley O’Hara (Stephanie McCaffrey) 45
USA – Ashley Rivera (Own Goal) 60
USA – Crystal Dunn (Alex Morgan) 61
USA – Christen Press 62
USA – Crystal Dunn (Meghan Klingenberg) 85
USA – Crystal Dunn (Morgan Brian) 87
USA – Samantha Mewis (Crystal Dunn) 90+1
USA: 20-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Emily Sonnett,11-Ali Krieger, 19-Jaelene Hinkle; 15-Stephanie McCaffrey, 3-Samantha Mewis, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 2-Mallory Pugh (7-Meghan Klingenberg, 67); 12-Christen Press (14-Morgan Brian, 74), 16-Crystal Dunn
Subs Not Used: 1-Hope Solo, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Julie Johnston, 9-Lindsey Horan, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis
PUR: 1-Karly Gustafson; 2-Kelley Johnson, 4-Viviana Foil (19-Stephanie Colón, 46), 6-Ashley Johnson (12-Alejandra Carrión, 55); 8-Selimar Pagán (16-Mirianee Zaragoza Hernández, 71), 9-Karina Socarras, 10-Laura Suárez (capt.), 11-Annie Méndez; 14-Ashley Rivera, 17-Adriana Font; 18-Nicole Rodríguez
Subs Not Used: 3-Victoria Barris, 5-Noelia Reyes, 7-Delyaliz Rosario, 13-Sandra Rolón,15-Ángela Díaz Vázquez, 20-María Guerrero
Head coach: Garabet Avedissan
Stats Summary: USA / PUR
Shots: 32 / 1
Shots on Goal: 17 / 1
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 9 / 0
Fouls: 8 / 6
Offside: 2 / 1