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April 8, 2008
U.S can book Beijing ticket Wednesday

Abby Wambach has scored three goals in two qualifying games.
Abby Wambach has scored three goals in two qualifying games.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The United States women are one win away from earring a berth in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. They will face Costa Rica in the semi-final of the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament on Wednesday at 7pm ET.

The Costa Rican’s are the same team the U.S. faced in the semi-final four years ago. They only gave up three goals in their two group games, but only scored two goals. Costa Rica’s two goals in the tournament came from Amara Wilson and Cristin Granados, the latter with just 15 seconds left to tie the game against Trinidad & Tobago, and effectively put the Ticas into the semis.

“It’s win or go home and I think both teams knows that,” said U.S. striker Abby Wambach, who has three goals in two games of the tournament. “We don’t doubt that Costa Rica will throw everything they’ve got at us, but I know we are going to do everything in our power to get that berth to the Olympics.”

Canada will face host Mexico in the second semi-final game, with a sellout crowd expected as the hosts try to duplicate their feat of four years ago and earn a berth to their second Olympic Games.

The United States, winners of two gold medals (1996 and 2004) and a silver (2000), have never failed to qualify for the Olympics.

“We are pumped to be playing in this game,” said Heather O’Reilly. “We all know it’s a must win and that’s the bottom line.”

The United States defeated the Ticas four years ago in the semi-final of qualifying, booking their berth to Athens.

We haven’t played them since 2004, but it looks like they have improved,’ said veteran defender Kate Markgraf. “They have really technical players and they look more athletic then they have in the past. We will have to see how much they try to attack or if they sit back, but we can adapt and play our style according to the flow of the game.”
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