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USA vs. Costa Rica, World Cup Qualifying: Final Score 6-0 as Yanks Roll Into the Semifinals

The USWNT finishes group play atop Group A.

United States v Costa Rica: Group A - 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The United States Women’s National Team completed the sweep of Group A with a 6-0 win over Costa Rica at BBVA Stadium in the final match day of group play. Christen Press scored a brace in the first half, Sam Mewis added a brace in the second half, and Lindsey Horan and Jessica Mcdonald also scored.

The U.S. out-scored its three Group A opponents by 18-0 and allowed only one shot attempt to group runner-up Costa Rica, which was blocked. The U.S. improved to 16-0-0 all-time against Las Ticas.

Vlatko Andonovski largely went back to the starters from the tournament opener against Haiti, but Orlando Pride defenders Ali Krieger and Emily Sonnett got their second straight start on the back line along with Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper in front of goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Mewis, Julie Ertz, and Horan made up the midfield behind a forward line of Press, Carli Lloyd, and McDonald.

It took only four minutes for the USWNT to take the lead. Press got the ball in the attacking third moving toward the right side of the box. She stopped, cut back to her left and curled a golazo into the upper 90 just inside the far post to make it 1-0. It was the first time Costa Rica had trailed in the tournament.

The U.S. nearly doubled the lead seconds later. Lloyd got her head to a McDonald cross and sent it on target but her header was right at Costa Rican goalkeeper Priscilla Tapia. Instead, it was Horan doubling the lead at the 10-minute mark. Krieger stepped up and sent a diagonal ball to Lloyd, who quickly turned and played Horan into the area behind the defense. Horan passed the ball inside the right post to make it 2-0.

McDonald headed wide in the 14th minute off a cross from Dunn as the United States continued to keep Costa Rica penned in through constant pressure. Ertz put a shot on target in the 19th but Tapia pushed it past the post. McDonald fizzed a dangerous cross through the box in the 32nd minute that only needed a touch to send it home but none of her teammates could get that touch. But the U.S. extended the lead to 3-0 anyway in the 36th. Press cut in from the left side and smashed a shot into the far corner to nab her brace.

That was the last decent chance in a dominating opening half and the U.S. took its 3-0 lead into the break. The USWNT had a 12-0 lead in shots, a 5-0 advantage in shots on goal, and 70% of the first-half possession.

The USWNT wasn’t as sharp coming out of halftime, mostly maintaining possession but flubbing several opportunities to add a fourth goal. The closest scoring chance came on a cross from Horan for Lloyd that actually hit a defender and deflected toward goal. Tapia made a diving stop and did just enough to keep it out in the 54th minute.

It took until the 63rd minute before the U.S. could add to its lead. Second-half sub Kelley O’Hara drew a free kick on the right side. Press served it into the box to an unmarked Mewis, who stuck out her foot and redirected it just under the bar to make it 4-0.

Things got a bit sloppy again for the U.S. for a while after the Mewis goal but the Yanks continued to apply pressure, win the ball, and create chances. McDonald finally broke through in the 77th minute after Mewis stole the ball in the penalty area and squared it across the front of goal. It was an easy tap-in for the North Carolina Courage striker and it pushed the lead to 5-0.

Mewis notched her brace in the 82nd minute on a header off a cross by O’Hara. The shot went off the crossbar and bounced down. It didn’t appear that the entire ball crossed the line but the referee awarded the goal and there was no Video Assistant Referee in this tournament. Regardless, Mewis’ second pushed the USWNT lead to 6-0.

Press had one opportunity to complete her hat trick late, smashing a wicked volley on target but Tapia was able to stop it. Moments later the final whistle blew on another dominant performance by the U.S.

With the win, the USWNT finishes atop Group A and will play the Group B runner-up in the semifinals on Friday. Costa Rica finishes second in the group with six points, while Haiti took third in the group after beating Panama earlier in the day.

Next up for the USWNT is a semifinal match-up against either Canada or Mexico on Friday night in Carson, CA. Whichever team loses Tuesday’s match — most likely Mexico — will face the United States, while the winner will play Costa Rica in the other semifinal.