You could say the United States Women's National Team got off to a fast start, but that may not be accurate enough. Alex Morgan fired home on the half volley just 12 seconds into the team's first Olympic qualifier of 2016 and bagged another for the brace as the U.S. rolled Costa Rica Wednesday night, 5-0.
Straight off the bat, the U.S. proved that it was the superior team. A long ball from Lindsey Horan found the head of Carli Lloyd, who flicked the ball on to Morgan who fired home before the fans at Toyota Stadium could take their seats. The goal was the fastest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying history and was Morgan's fourth in the last six games for the Yanks, and the team was just getting started.
Nine minutes later Crystal Dunn was brought down at the top of the box, earning the Stars and Stripes a penalty kick. While replays show the foul on Dunn was just outside the box, that didn't stop Lloyd from stepping up and sliding the spot kick home to make it 2-0. The goal made it five goals in five games for Lloyd, who has been on fire since becoming the hero of last summer's World Cup.
The U.S. did not have to wait long to make it 3-0 either. A loose ball in the box found the foot of Dunn, whose first-time shot was blocked, but the speedy winger managed to stab home her follow-up shot right on the goal line to give the team a three-goal cushion heading into the break.
In the 62nd minute, it was duo of Lloyd and Morgan which struck again. A beautiful ball from Lloyd found Morgan at the top of the six-yard box and the pride of the Pride made no mistake, heading home to complete her brace.
Yes please. pic.twitter.com/ymXpUrtFgE— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) February 11, 2016
With the game safely in hand, Mallory Pugh entered the game in the 68th minute, replacing Dunn. The future UCLA Bruin became the youngest American to play in an Olympic qualifier in USWNT history, according to U.S. Soccer.
But it was another U.S. sub who made her time count -- Christen Press entered the game in the 74th minute, and nine minutes later she made her mark. Off a cross from Heath, Press took the ball out of the air with a cheeky heel touch, turned and fired home from six yards to finish the scoring for the Americans.
Goal USA - No. 12 Christen PRESS @ChristenPress | @ussoccer_wnt @Fedefutbol_CR #CWOQ2016 https://t.co/0PCr0FwsQA— CONCACAF (@CONCACAF) February 11, 2016
While the U.S. is the favorite in this group and the tournament going forward, it will not find itself on top of the group in the morning. Mexico defeated Puerto Rico, 6-0, in the other group match and tops the group on goal differential. Next up for the U.S. is group leader Mexico on Saturday.
Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was an unused sub, as Hope Solo went the distance, as expected.