Welcome to your live thread for the final Concacaf Olympic qualifying match in Group A, as the United States Women's National Team takes on Costa Rica. The Yanks and La Sele have both clinched qualification for the semifinals in the tournament but have yet to decide seeding. The winner of this match will win the group and play the second-place team from Group B. The USWNT would also clinch the group with a draw due to a better goal differential.
The U.S. opened qualifying with a less-than-stellar 4-0 win over Haiti last Tuesday night and then ripped Panama to shreds on Friday in an 8-0 match that should have been even more lopsided than the score indicates. Costa Rica opened with a 6-1 win over Panama and then beat Haiti 2-0. So, the USWNT holds a +12 goal differential to Costa Rica’s +7. La Sele cannot win the group — and likely avoid Canada in the semifinals — without winning this match outright. Canada and Mexico — both through to the semifinals — will play tomorrow to decide which of those nations will win Group B.
The USWNT is 15-0-0 in the all-time series against Costa Rica and has only played Canada and Mexico more often than Costa Rica when it comes to Concacaf foes. The teams last met in November in Jacksonville. It was the last match of 2019 for the U.S., which pounded Costa Rica, 6-0. Lynn Williams scored a brace and Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, and Morgan Brian also scored. Costa Rica also scored an own goal for the Yanks.
The USWNT is riding a 15-game unbeaten streak (14-0-1) in friendlies since a 3-1 road loss in France on Jan. 19 of last year. In all competitions, the USWNT is 21-0-3 since that loss to France (this includes 1-0-2 in last year’s SheBelieves Cup and 6-0-0 at the Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. has breezed through Concacaf Olympic qualifying, posting a record of 20-0-1 while outscoring opponents 110-3. The lone draw was a 1-1 final against Canada in the 2008 title game and the USWNT went on to win the ensuing penalty shootout.
Costa Rica provides a tougher test than Haiti or Panama. No. 37 in the world in the current FIFA rankings did not have to face Lindsey Horan in November as she was out with an injury. Horan had a hat trick Friday against Panama but may not start tonight as Vlatko Andonovski is expected to go back to last Tuesday’s starters.
Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez has three goals in the last two games for Costa Rica. The NWSL star will be a player to watch, as will forward Melissa Herrera, who plays professionally in France. Herrera scored Costa Rica’s first goal in the tournament against Panama and finished that match with a brace.
The USWNT squad features three members of the Orlando Pride — goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defenders Ali Krieger and Emily Sonnett. All three played 90 minutes on Friday so I wouldn’t expect any of them to start. Alex Morgan is pretty far along in her pregnancy and is not expected to be available until at least the pre-Olympic camp.
Defenders (6): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 55/0), 19-Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage; 98/24), 11-Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 105/1), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 126/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 173/0), 2-Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride; 42/0).
Midfielders (5): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 96/19), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 80/16), 16-Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 40/11), 3-Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 61/14), 6-Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 16/0).
Forwards (6): 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 163/33), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 289/122), 14-Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage; 15/3), 20-Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 132/53), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 162/50), 13-Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 23/8).
Goalkeepers (3): 1-Noelia Bermudez (Saprissa), 13-Dinnia Diaz (Liberia), 18-Priscilla Tapia (Moravia).
Defenders (8): 2-Gabriella Guillen (Þór/KA, Iceland), 3-Maria Paula Coto (AD Moravia), 4-Mariana Benavides (AD Coronado), 5-Fabiola Sanchez (CODEA-LDA), 6-Carol Sanchez (AD Moravia), 8-Daniela Cruz (RCD Espanyol, ESP), 12-Lixy Rodriguez (Codea-IDA), 15-Stephannie Blanco (Codea-IDA).
Midfielders (5): 9-Gloriana Villalobos (Herediano), 10-Shirley Cruz (Codea-IDA), 11-Raquel Rodriguez (Portland Thorns, USA), 16-Katherine Alvarado (RCD Espanyol, ESP), 20-Raquel Chacon (Codea-IDA).
Forwards (4): 7-Melissa Herrera (Stade de Reims, FRA), 14-Priscilla Chinchilla (Codea-IDA), 17-Maria Paula Salas (Codea-IDA), 19-Jazmin Elizondo (Herediano).
How to Watch
Match Time: 8:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: BBVA Stadium — Houston, TX.
TV: FS1, TUDN.
Streaming: FOX Sports GO.