USWNT starts fast, finishes strong in 5-0 win over Costa Rica

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

by TOM SLATER

It was literally over for Costa Rica seconds into the match.

Alex Morgan slotted home a goal just seconds into the opening CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match, sending the United States on its way to a 5-0 win in Frisco, Texas.

The victory puts the United States in the expected driver’s seat with a match against Mexico coming up Saturday afternoon. Mexico beat Puerto Rico, 6-0, in the opening match of the doubleheader.

After Morgan’s goal :12 seconds into the match – believed to be a United States record — Costa Rica had no answers, and the deluge was on. The United States scored twice more in the opening quarter hour and added a pair of second-half goals.

Morgan scored the quickest Olympic qualifying goal ever when Lindsey Horan sent in a long ball shortly after the start of Wednesday’s encounter. Carli Lloyd headed the ball down the middle to a streaking Morgan. She made no mistake, slotting it past Dinnia Diaz.

Crystal Dunn helped double the lead in the ninth minute by making a run into the box. She was fouled by Katherine Alvarado and although the replay appeared to show the foul outside the box, a spot kick was awarded. Lloyd made not mistake by lining a shot to the lower left corner.

Dunn added the final goal in the flurry – batting in a rebound of her own shot. Horan again was instrumental, serving a throw-in from Becky Sauerbrunn toward the 6-yard line where Dunn was waiting. Her first shot was blocked but she put away the rebound to make it 3-0.

Morgan added another goal in the second half, again with Lloyd getting the assist. The United States captain was the final pass on a five-player buildup, floating a perfect ball in between two Costa Rican defenders where Morgan flashed home the score in the 63rd minute.

Christen Press, who came on in the second half, finished the scoring 20 minutes later with a beautiful goal. Tobin Heath, who was effective on the flank all night, served a beautiful ball from the right wing. Press deftly brought the ball down with her heel while turning and hit a low shot past a surprised Diaz.

Costa Rica had few chances moving forward. Only two free kicks came remotely close to the United States goal and both shots were easily gathered in by Hope Solo.

While not a work of art, the game was a very steady effort by the Americans who look to dominate CONCACAF qualifying and are a strong favorite to defend their Olympic gold medal