US headed to Women's World Cup with 6-0 win over Jamaica

Monday, October 15, 2018

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FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The US women's national team breezed through CONCACAF qualifying to secure a spot in the World Cup next year in France.

The Americans still have to face Canada.

"Just because we qualified for the World Cup doesn't mean we're going to take our foot off the gas," Alex Morgan said. "We want to win this tournament and we always think of playing Canada as an important game for us."

Morgan and Tobin Heath each scored twice in the first half and United States earned a World Cup berth with a 6-0 victory over Jamaica on Sunday night in the semifinals.

Heath's first came in the first two minutes of the match and she added a second in the 29th. Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz and Morgan also had first-half goals as the United States built a 5-0 lead.

Morgan's second goal was a penalty kick in the 84th minute.

Canada, ranked No 5 in the world, also clinched a spot in France with a 7-0 victory over Panama in the earlier semifinal at Toyota Stadium.

The top three finishers in the CONCACAF Women's Championship represent the region in France, so the winners of both semifinals earned a berth before the final.

The title match between the United States and Canada and the third-place game are set for Wednesday in Frisco. The fourth-place finisher will face Argentina in a playoff for a spot in France.

"This is obviously going to be a different change of pace for us in this tournament because we haven't faced a lot of shots from other teams, from opponents. But I think it will be good for us. We want to play the best teams in the world and Canada's continuing to evolve and play well," Morgan said.

The top-ranked United States is the defending champion of the sport's premier event, having won the final in the 2015 World Cup against Japan. It was the team's third World Cup title.

Jamaica, ranked No 64th in the world, is still vying to become the first Caribbean nation to go to a World Cup. The Reggae Girlz upset Costa Rica 1-0 in the group stage before routing Cuba 9-0 to finish second to Canada in Group B.

The island nation re-started its women's national team program in 2014 after a six-year hiatus, boosted by the support of Bob Marley's oldest daughter, Cedella Marley.

Coach Hue Menzies said the match against the United States was a good test.

"We came ready to play five games, and we're playing five games. So it's a big plus for our program. Obviously we're trying to create some history. We're still on track," Menzies said.

The United States has dominated the competition in the tournament. The team averaged six goals a game in its group stage, winning all three matches. They took 114 shots, far more than the second-best team in the field, Canada (77). In their final group-stage match, the U.S. women outshot injury-depleted Trinidad and Tobago 59-0.

The United States outshot Jamaica 26-1.

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