Accommodation for the 2023 Women’s World Cup? See.
2024 Olympic venues? See.
A Concacaf W Championship title with a bit of revenge against Canada? See.
The U.S. women’s national team entered the tournament with three clear goals, and at the end of two weeks of questions — and following a devastating 90 minutes Monday night in Mexico — they can say they’ve accomplished it all. The map for the next two years in the US has been set, and its local bragging rights have been extended. Canada may have edged the US on its way to Olympic gold last summer, but when it comes to the Concacaf final against its neighbor to the south, it is still second-best, now 0-9-1 all-time in such games against the US.
Alex Morgan’s penalty in the 78th minute was the difference at the Estadio BBVA, as the US won 1-0 to claim the Concacaf championship and the spoils that came with it. Morgan played a big part in getting the penalty, as it was his pass that set up Rose Lavelle, who was cut down in the box by Allysha Chapman. Morgan then stepped up and beat his clubmate, San Diego Wave goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, in a feat that took a long time to come.
Canada’s Olympic dreams are far from over, and he would love his chance to head to Paris with an eye on securing his spot on the podium. But instead of qualifying now, it will play third-placed Jamaica in September 2023 in Concacaf’s second round of the tournament.
The result was almost a carbon copy of the Olympic semifinal that Canada won last summer, especially in terms of the goal, in which the goal hit the back of the net. It was Jessie Fleming’s 75th minute goal that gave Canada its famous victory in Japan, which started a year of uncertainty and instability for the US team Vlatko Andonovski followed his bronze medal with months of cycling in new and young faces, working. as a group in transition.
Such are the standards of the US, that after a tournament in which it won all five of its matches with a combined victory of 13-0, some of the same questions and uncertainties will continue, and its final performance was without problems. Monday was the most dangerous display in the US in the tournament, although there was only one goal to show for it. There was a desire to go up against the US’ only true ally in the region, and when Mal Pugh bit Sheridan’s hand 44 seconds in, it looked like the US meant business.
More opportunities would immediately follow, with Morgan curling a foot shot in the fourth minute, and Lindsey Horan in golden form blocked a minute later. Horan came close again with a volley in the 14th minute, his shot just getting wider.
Later in the US half they created a 4-v-2 opportunity, with Horan having Lavelle step down on the right and space in front of him. Instead he chose to go to the left of Pugh, who also had space but pushed his chance clear of his target.
It was Sophia Smith, one of the players thrown into the fire, who had the US’s best chance, though. Just before the end of the half, right back Sofia Huerta delivered a perfect cross to Smith in the gap, but the ball bounced off her just a little bit to destroy the shot, Sheridan made an early save and Canadian defender Kadeisha Buchanan helped seal the goal. line on the rebound to secure the win.
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In the second half, the US played better and more accurate in the back, when Becky Sauerbrunn picked out Pugh, who touched Morgan. His well-weighted ball to the back found Smith, who rounded Sheridan and then fired it into an open net.
It was a miss that would have been agonizing, but the US did not give up and got its reward in the form of Morgan’s penalty.
While the US still has some work to do in preparation for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, one thing stands out. Morgan’s success in Mexico, as well as her formidable form in the NWSL, should propel her as a first-team player in the future.
“I’m not surprised, but I’m very happy with the way he’s dealt with the whole thing and the way he’s come back,” Andonovski said of Morgan, who was among the veterans left behind in various camps last year. “Alex is a great player, and that’s what makes him special. He doesn’t want to stop growing. He doesn’t want to stop growing.
“Alex is a great player and great players are born in great moments. That’s what makes him special.”
But while some areas may not be clear, it is important to remember who the US currently does not have or has not invited to this competition. Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn, Catarina Macario, Tierna Davidson, Christen Press, Lynn Williams, Sam Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper and Tobin Heath were all among those who were not in Mexico, either due to pregnancy, childbirth, injury or coach’s choice, and their thoughts. reinstated when they are ready to return—if Andonovski deems it appropriate—will go a long way to building teams that challenge the world’s best in the coming tournaments. If the Women’s European Championship has been any indication, there are emerging challengers to the US throne.
As for Concacaf, however, the US still dominates. They haven’t conceded a goal in a Concacaf World Cup or Olympic qualifying game since 2010 – almost. 12 years-when they lost to Mexico in the World Cup qualifiers. The biggest challenge to the US’s place among the world’s elite will come in the next two years. But the No. 1 Americans made sure to earn a spot in those tournaments, which is what the trip to Mexico was all about.
“Even though it doesn’t look convincing, I thought there were moments in the game where we showed improvement from Game 1 to the end,” Andonovski said. “These are the moments we enjoy … that give us confidence in what we do.”
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