The United States Women's National Team will be making its sixth straight appearance in the Summer Olympics following a crushing 5-0 defeat of Trinidad & Tobago in Houston tonight. With a shutout and a hat trick from Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan, the United States is steamrolling into the final against Canada, which will take place Sunday.
Tobin Heath opened up the scoring for the United States in the 12th minute with an assist from 17-year-old Mallory Pugh, who received her second start for the Red, White & Blue. The women kept the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper diving for saves for most of the first half until the Morgan started scoring in the 31st minute with a cross from Kelly O'Hara.
Goal USA - No. 13 Alex MORGAN @alexmorgan13 | @ussoccer_wnt @TTFootballAssoc#CWOQ2016 https://t.co/CYlQyINy4b— CONCACAF (@CONCACAF) February 20, 2016
Less than ten minutes later, captain Carli Lloyd got in on the action, scoring off a corner to put the Americans up 3-0 at the half.
The start of the second half proved to be more difficult for the United States, as Head Coach Jill Ellis made several substitutions before another goal was scored. In the 71st minute, Alex Morgan, once again found the back of the net, off a scramble in the area:
WATCH: If at first you don't succeed... @alexmorgan13 scores after some pinball in the box. #USWNT https://t.co/jZFGBtpiKl— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 20, 2016
Just two minutes later, Morgan scored again to complete her hat trick:
#:baby::horse: x 3 #WNTRunTheWorld pic.twitter.com/cAM4cqmAvc— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) February 20, 2016
This was Morgan's third career hat trick and her sixth goal during the tournament and helped the USWNT improve to 10-0-0 against T&T in the all-time series. So, how many days is it until she comes to Orlando to lead the Pride?
Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was an unused substitute.
While this game saw a lot of veterans returning to the starting lineup, youngsters like Pugh and Lindsey Horan shined, making Jill Ellis' job even harder as she will look to cut the roster down to 18 before heading to Rio.
Celebrations may be going on tonight, because the United States has officially qualified for the Olympics, but the job is not quite done. The women will be back in action of Sunday as they look to win their eighth CONCACAF Gold Medal against a strong Canadian side. You can catch the game on NBC Sports at 5 p.m. ET.
Let's let Alex have the last word tonight. She earned it.
"We're off to Rio!" Thanks for being a part of this journey, much left ahead. #RoadToRio #BestFansInTheWorld pic.twitter.com/XK0uhEXZa6— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) February 20, 2016