The United States was absolutely ravenous for goals and jumped all over Jamaica early, winning 6-0 in the Concacaf Championship semifinals at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. With the win, the USWNT has officially qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, along with Canada, which beat Panama in the early semifinal game, 7-0.
The U.S. pounced on the Reggae Princesses by scoring five times in the game’s first 33 minutes, including the first goal less than 120 seconds after the opening kickoff. This came against a Jamaican team that allowed only two goals — both to Canada — in the three group matches.
Tobin Heath opened the scoring and had a brace early, with Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz, and Alex Morgan all scoring in the first 45 minutes to seize control of the match. Morgan added a goal from the penalty spot in the second half to complete the scoring for a U.S. team that has pounded opponents by an aggregate score of 24-0 through the first four games of the tournament.
Jill Ellis played the A team for the semifinal with a qualifying spot on the line, rather than rotate as she did between the group stage games.
The United States came out on a mission and it didn’t take the Yanks long to find the net. Just two minutes in, a bouncing ball sent into the area by Rose Lavelle fell for Lindsey Horan. She blasted one on frame and Sydney Schneider made the save but couldn’t control the rebound and Heath swooped in and smashed it into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Morgan was just about in alone on goal in the sixth minute but center back Konya Plummer showed outstanding pace to track back and muscle her off the ball to thwart the danger. Horan then blasted a shot off a nice cutback pass from Rapinoe but Schneider made the save and didn’t spill it with Ertz lurking nearby.
The U.S. lead doubled at the 15-minute mark. Rapinoe took a phenomenal long pass from Abby Dahlkemper, chested it down, cut inside to the corner of the six-yard box, and blasted a goal into the top of the net to make it 2-0.
Ridiculous ball from Dahlkemper to Rapinoe on the 2nd US goal vs Jamaica. World Cup berth getting closer. 2-0.pic.twitter.com/55RZd1CpTk— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) October 15, 2018
After a weak shot from Morgan was easily saved in the 20th minute, the lead grew in the 21st. A terrific cross from Crystal Dunn at the end line found the head of Ertz, who nodded home to push the lead to 3-0.
The United States kept coming. Lavelle found the ball at her feet off a corner kick but got under her shot and fired over the bar in the 24th minute. Seconds later, Morgan laid a ball off for Lavelle at the top of the box but her shot was partially blocked and collected by Schneider. Morgan really got hold of one in the 26th, smashing a shot that Schneider fought off but no U.S. players could get onto the big rebound.
In the 29th minute, Heath completed her brace to make it 4-0. Horan took the ball toward the center of the pitch and floated in a perfect service to her Portland Thorns teammate, who struck it perfectly. It hit Schneider’s leg but had too much power on it to be stopped.
Still the U.S. continued its relentless pursuit of goals. Morgan slipped a ball in for Lavelle that was a bit too strong, but the Washington Spirit youngster made a crafty move to steal it before it could be shepherded out for a goal kick. She kept it in play, turned, and fired but her shot hit Schneider and went out for a corner. Seconds later, Morgan hit the woodwork on the ensuing corner.
Morgan got her first goal in the 33rd minute. Rapinoe fizzed in a low cross off a free kick near the corner. The Orlando Pride striker only had to redirect it through traffic to make it 5-0. It was Morgan’s 95th career international goal.
Although there were no more goals in the first half, it wasn’t because the U.S. took its foot off the pedal (yet). Dunn sent in a cross that Schneider had to punch away in the 38th. Ertz blasted a shot on frame from the top of the area in the 39th that nearly got through Schneider, who bobbled but held onto it.
Shortly thereafter, Ertz picked up a knock and had to go off but she returned shortly and saw out the first half. The United States took its 5-0 lead into the break.
Ertz was subbed off at halftime for Morgan Brian and Christen Press checked in for Rapinoe.
The United States continued to work hard to win back the ball and pressure Jamaica but the foot came off the pedal a bit and the Yanks worked the ball around the pitch constantly, rarely making forays into the area. The goal was to run clock and keep possession in the second period.
A ball was played into the area for Horan in the 54th minute but Schneider came off her line quickly to leave the NWSL MVP no room and block the shot attempt. A minute later, Morgan fired one on frame that Schneider fought off.
Emily Sonnett came on for Lavelle in the 58th and the latter went off to the locker room although she appeared to be walking OK. It’s not known whether she picked up a knock.
in minute 63, a ball over the top found Morgan, who tried to chip Schneider but she hit the shot too hard and it sailed over the net. Two minutes later, it was Press taking a beautiful pass in the area but her shot attempt was knocked out for a corner by the goalkeeper. Seconds later, Heath had an opportunity to complete a hat trick but her shot went off the back post and stayed out. A minute after that, Morgan headed a shot right at Schneider.
Horan tried to give Heath her hat trick in the 67th, sliding a ball into the area, but Schneider was quick off her line to break it up. Morgan then couldn’t handle a cross fizzed in by Kelley O’Hara a moment later.
Jamaica finally got a shot attempt in the 74th minute but Deneisha Blackwood fired well wide of Alyssa Naeher’s goal.
Morgan got in behind in the 81st minute, and took a touch past the onrushing goalkeeper but that touch took her away from goal. She recovered the ball, turned, and was pulled down in the area to win a penalty. She took the spot kick herself, sent the keeper the wrong way and completed her brace to make it 6-0 in the 84th minute. Morgan’s 96th international goal gave her 23 goals in her last 23 games and she’s now level with Canada’s Adriana Leon for the tournament’s golden boot. Each player has six goals in the tournament.
There was a scary moment late when Morgan Brian took a knock to the head and had to leave the match. The U.S. finished with 10 players but that was no problem and the game ended at 6-0.
The USWNT held a 24-1 advantage in shots (18-0 on target), and led in possession (59%-41%), corner kicks (5-1), and passing accuracy (85%-82%).
The USWNT improved to 36-1-1 all-time in the Concacaf Championship, 15-0-2 in 2018, and 22-0-3 since the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
The United States and Canada will square off Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET for the Concacaf Championship title and Jamaica will face Panama for third place and the final automatic World Cup berth. The third-place match loser will have to play in against Argentina.