USWNT qualify for Olympics in 5-0 route over Trinidad and Tobago

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by TOM SLATER

Any questions about Alex Morgan regaining her form should now be answered.

Morgan continued her comeback from injury with a hat trick as the United States Women’s National Team qualified for the Rio Olympics with a 5-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at BVAA Compass Stadium in Houston. The United States have qualified for the Olympics for the sixth straight time.

The United States will play Canada for the CONCACAF Qualifying championship Sunday at 5 p.m. Canada beat Costa Rica, 3-1, behind two goals from Christine Sinclair.

The fact that Morgan has regained her scoring touch and is combining with just about the entire midfield is certainly good news for USWNT fans and bad news for its opponents. Morgan picked up one goal in the first half when the United States scored three goals to pretty much end the Soca Warriors Olympic dreams. The American forward scored twice within two minutes late in the second half to punctuate the victory for the United States.

The game was more lopsided than the score. Trinidad and Tobago bunkered down as most teams have against the Americans but had barely any possession.

Tobin Heath opened the scoring in the 12th minute, finishing a nice sequence started by left back Meghan Klingenberg. Klingenberg sent a slick through ball to a running Mallory Pugh, getting a start after a good night against Puerto Rico. Pugh went endline and sent a great ball back across the box where Heath stepped in front of her defender and slotted a ball to the right post.

Morgan added her first goal of the night in the 30th minute. Kelley O’Hara, also making a second straight start, sent a cross from the right flank to left post. Lindsey Horan headed the ball back across goal where Morgan nodded it in.

The third goal just before half was the back-breaker both mentally and physically for Trinidad and Tobago. Morgan Brian, who had a great game paired with Horan in midfield, sent her sixth corner kick of the half to the far post about 12 yards from goal. Carli Lloyd got a solid header off but right to goalkeeper Kimika Forbes. But the ball went through the keeper’s arms and legs and into the net.

Morgan finished off the scoring in the 71st minute of second half.  Brian hit a corner kick that was deflected back to Sam Mewis, who shot on goal. The ball bounded to Morgan who headed it off the post. It rebounded back to Morgan, who made no mistake this time.

Her third goal came two minutes later – again with play started from a Morgan corner kick. This time it was Julie Johnston who corralled the kick, shielded and played it back to Morgan. She floated a perfect ball across the penalty kick where Morgan calmly put it home to record the third international hat trick of her career.

The victory kept the United States unbeaten in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying at 17-0-1. They have not allowed a goal in four matches, outscoring the opposition, 21-0.