Only Trinidad and Tobago stand between the United States Women’s National Team and a sixth consecutive trip to the Olympics and Jill Ellis’ squad will be expected to sweep past the Women’s Soca Warriors Friday night in Houston to secure a place at this summer’s Games in Rio.
All signs point to an easy victory for the home team, who have yet to lose a game in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying play, compiling a 16-0-1 throughout the years.
Trinidad and Tobago played the U.S. close in the 2014 opener of this event, losing just 1-0 to the eventual World Cup winners in Kansas City back in October 2014 but it is very difficult to see T&T, aka the Soca Princesses, running the Yanks that close tonight in Houston.
In Monday night’s 10-0 win over Puerto Rico, U.S. coach Jill Ellis made eight changes to the lineup from the first two matches. Tonight, with an Olympic berth up for grabs the World Cup winning boss will likely revert to her original 11 although Ellis may be tempted to include 17-year-old Mallory Pugh from the start after she impressed versus Puerto Rico.
Tonight’s early game has the potential to be more of a contest although Canada will ultimately be expected to prevail at the expense of Costa Rica.
Led by MAC Hermann Trophy winner and recent Sky Blue FC draftee Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno the Ticas knocked off Mexico to reach this juncture. The second pick overall in the NWSL draft out of Penn State, Rodriguez Cedeno has tallied five goals in the tournament but Canada’s balanced attack may be too much for the underdogs.
Canada will be led tonight, as always by the sport’s second all-time leading goal scorer Christine Sinclair, who just passed Mia Hamm with 159 goals and trails only Abby Wambach who retired with 184.
Canada vs. Costa Rica- 5:30 ET NBC Universo
U.S.A. vs Trinidad and Tobago 8:30 ET NBC SN