US women beat Canada 3-0 in Olympic qualifying final
CARSON, Calif. — Lynn Williams broke open a scoreless stalemate with a goal in the 61st minute and the United States beat Canada 3-0 on Sunday in the title match of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament.
Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe also scored for the United States, which extended its undefeated streak to 28 games. The United States did not concede a goal in five qualifying matches, and scored 25 times.
The U.S. and Canada had both already secured spots at the Tokyo Games with victories in the semifinals. The region has two Olympic berths.
The United States, ranked No. 1 in the world, beat Mexico 4-0 in one semifinal and eighth-ranked Canada edged Costa Rica in the other game on Friday.
The U.S. has been to every Olympics since women’s soccer was included in 1996, and has won four gold medals. But the Americans were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Sweden four years ago in Brazil, the team’s earliest Olympic exit.
Canada has made the field in the past three Olympics, winning the bronze medal in the last two.
It was the fourth time the teams have met in the final of the qualifying tournament, with the United States winning all four.
U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski started Lynn Williams and Jessica McDonald, giving Tobin Heath the day off. Rapinoe came in as a substitute. Other veterans on the bench included defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O’Hara.
Julir Ertz wore the captain’s armband for her 99th appearance with the team. Christen Press, who had scored in the team’s last six games, also started. Press was the fifth U.S. woman to score in six straight games, joining Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, April Heinrichs and Carli Lloyd. It was the longest such streak for the U.S. since Lloyd scored in seven straight in 2014.
As expected, Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller emphasized defense against his offensively proficient opponent, starting five defenders. The approach worked through the first half.
Jessie Fleming, who was a standout at UCLA, had a chance for Canada that went over the goal and into the netting.
Press’ blast in the 32nd minute hit the crossbar. A few moments later, she caught Canada goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe far out in front of her net, but the attempt from distance sailed over the goal.
Christine Sinclair’s attempt on a breakaway in the 38th minute was stopped by U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
Williams finally broke through Canada’s defense with a blast into the upper corner for a 1-0 lead. Horan doubled it 10 minutes later when she dribbled around two defenders and finished with a perfectly placed shot that Labbe couldn’t reach.
After her late goal, Rapinoe struck her victory pose, made famous last summer when the United States won the World Cup.
Both teams went undefeated in the run-up to the final, with Canada scoring 23 goals and the United States scoring 22.
Sinclair became the all-time leading international goal scorer during the group stage. She has 186 goals; retired U.S. star Abby Wambach had 184.
Canada has won just three times in the 60-match series against their North American rival.
Attendance was announced at 17,489 at Dignity Health Sports Park, home of the LA Galaxy. The United States hasn’t lost on home soil since July 2017.
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