February 19, 2016
TICKET TO RIO
U.S. Women qualify for Olympics
HOUSTON, Texas – The U.S. women qualified for their sixth consecutive Olympic soccer tournament Friday night.
Forward Alex Morgan registered her third career hat-trick and Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath tallied once to lift the Americans to a 5-0 semifinal win over Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship at BBVA Compass Stadium and to book a spot to Rio this summer.
The USA will meet Canada, 3-1 winners over Costa Rica in the other semifinal, in Sunday's final. The three-time defending Olympic champions defeated the Canadians in the semis at the 2012 London Summer Games, 4-3.
Rockville Centre native Crystal Dunn, who entered the match with six goals, began as a spectator as 17-year-old Mallory Pugh took her place in the Starting XI. Dunn joined the party in the 66th minute when she replaced Lloyd but did not figure in the scoring.
The hosts solved T&T in the 12th minute as Heath slipped in a Pugh feed from the left flank from the middle of the box.
Morgan, who was stopped by a Forbes kick save earlier in the half, doubled the score in the 30th minute. Kelley O’Hara floated in a long ball from the right side that Lindsey Horan headed to Morgan, who snapped home a side volley from point-blank range. Morgan’s 60th international goal tied her with Long Island native Shannon McMillan for eighth place among all-time USA goal-scorers.
Forbes, who made several saves to keep the game from getting out of hand earlier, gave up a howler as Lloyd headed Morgan Brian’s corner kick through the keeper’s arms and legs for a 3-0 advantage in the 43rd minute.
Morgan added her second of the match during a scramble in the 71st minute before connecting on a six-yard volley in the 73rd minute.