The USA and Canada are headed to Rio in August as the CONCACAF reps in the 12 team field for the women’s Olympic soccer tournament that starts August 3.
But there was one more piece of business left to figure out at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday in terms of who would get that nice trophy and the first place medals as the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
As usual in these border war soccer matches between the USA and Canada, it was a hard fought affair that went to halftime tied because referee Quetzalli Alvarado (from Mexico BTW) missed Carli Lloyd being dragged down in the penalty area by Melissa Tancredi.
But as they say, if the ref doesn’t call it, it ain’t a penalty.
The USA finally got on the board in the 53rd minute after Becky Sauerbrunn chipped a ball deep into the penalty box that Lindsey Horan beat her defender and Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe to the ball and headed it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.
Eight miners later after a weaving dribble from Mallory Pugh down the sideline, she laid off a pass across the penalty area to Tobin Heath that she buried in the right hand side of the net past Labbe for what turned out to be the final goal of the match.
The 2-0 final held up as Hope Solo recorded her 95th shutout and 144th win, both USA records.
In addition to stretching their record in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying to 18-0-1 (the tie came against Canada) , Team USA swept the tournament individual awards. Hope Solo won Best Goalkeeper. Crystal Dunn won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, and the Houston Dash’s Morgan Brian won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
Team USA also won the Fair Play Award, and had eight players named to the tournament’s Best XI squad.
Well, now that the USA has handled their main business of qualifying for the Olympics, now it’s time for the Red White and Blue (we gotta get a cooler nickname for our men’s and women’s squads) to prepare for the upcoming Olympic tournament and shoot for the Golden fivepeat.