February 19, 2016
MAKING IT OFFICIAL
USA women do what they have to do, defeat Trinidad to book another trip to the Olympics
By Michael Lewis
HOUSTON, Texas -- Given what the U.S. women's national team brings to the table and to the soccer pitch, qualifying for the Olympics is considered inevitable. That doesn't necessarily meant the team takes its task lightly.
The Americans made it official Friday night with a solid win over an overmatched Trinidad & Tobago side. The 5-0 result did not come anywhere near the domination the USA enjoyed during the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying semifinal match at BBVA Stadium.
Statistics they may say, are for losers. These were for winners. The USA outshot the Soca Princesses, 27-1, placing 15 shots on goal, making a nightmare for goalkeeper Kimika Forbes.
"We are delighted we have booked our ticket," USA coach Jill Ellis said. "I was really pleased on the way we played. ... I thought tonight we took a big step forward in terms of moving the ball."
The USA begin will try to become the first team to win the Women's World Cup and the Olympic gold medal in back-to-back years. Incredible as it may sound, but no team has accomplished that, not the USA, Germany or Norway.
"We actually talked about it in our very first camp in 2016 that no team has done that," Ellis said. "It's certainly the understanding that's the target, thats the goal. Now figuring out on how to get from A to B.
"We set out at the end of the World Cup that today is not going to be good enough win next summer. we better continue to evolve as the game is."
Striker Alex Morgan led the way with her third international hat-trick while Tobin Heath and captain Carli Lloyd added one goal apiece.
"Any time you can get your No. 9 three goals I'm pleased," Ellis said. "Alex wants to push her game. She's hungry to evolve. She's a poacher. She's a goal scorer. I think from coming out of the World Cup and turning the corner, I think the games against Brazil and the Victory Tour I think you're starting to see Alex strong and confident. And tonight it was a little bit of a catalyst for that. She probably will readily admit that she wants to continue to get better."
Morgan said that getting off to a good start was the key
"This entire tournament we wanted to have a good first half," she said. "Historically we have been a really good second half team. We've outworked our opponents in the second half. We wanted to come out strong and show that. I think we took it to Trinidad. They're really a good first half team. As the game wears on they get a little more disorganized."
Over two Olympic qualifying competitions, the Americans have recorded nine consecutive clean sheets, extending their shutout streak to 813 minutes, dating back to the 2004 qualifying tournament.
They also remained unbeaten in qualifying at 17-0-1, outscoring their foes, 96-4.
They will try to make it 19 games in a row undefeated as they take on Canada, 3-1 winners over Costa Rica in the other semifinal, in Sunday’s final.