While I have been busy with other events, on opposite ends of 1-45 we have had eight CONCACAF women’s teams battling to get the two spots available from our FIFA region for the upcoming Rio Olympic Games women’s tournament.
The tournament started on February 10 with the Group A teams, the USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Costa Rica playing their games at Toyota Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, TX while the Group B teams Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Guatemala started a day later at BBVA Compass Stadium here in Houston.
Team USA got their Olympic qualifying campaign off to a flying start with a 5-0 win over Costa Rica as Carli Lloyd scored the first of her two goals just one minute into the game to get the USA off to a 3-0 halftime lead in a match they never trailed in as Mexico was thumping Puerto Rico 6-0.
That set up a crucial clash on February 13 in which the USA prevailed 1-0 over Mexico thanks to the game winning goal from Carli Lloyd in the 80th minute on a penalty kick while Costa Rica recovered from their loss to the USA by spanking Puerto Rico 9-0.
The win also gave the USA the top spot in Group A with two wins and a +6 goal differential.
Yesterday Group A play concluded with the USA clinching the group and their trip to the semis here in Houston with a 10-0 win over Puerto Rico in which Crystal Dunn scored five goals.
In the battle between two 2015 World Cup squads to determine the runner up in the group, Costa Rica prevailed 2-1 in which Raquel Rodriquez scored two goals, with the game winner being on a penalty kick in the 57th minute to clinch the runner up spot in Group A and their ticket to Houston for the semifinals.
Group B play started on February 11 at BBVA Compass Stadium, with Trinidad and Tobago shocking Guatemala 2-1 and Canada behind an Ashley Lawrence hat trick spanking Guyana 5-0.
On February 14 Guyana sent Guatemala packing with a 2-1 victory as Canada clinched Group B with a 6-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.
Later today while Canada closes out group play with homeward bound Guatemala, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago will play to see who will be the Group B runner up and get the unenviable task of taking on the world champion USA in a knockout round semifinals on Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Canada will play this final group game knowing that they will face Costa Rica in the knockout round on Friday with an Olympic berth on the line.
The Friday semifinal game winners will get both CONCACAF berths to the Rio Olympic Games women’s soccer tournament, and play each other on Sunday for the tournament title.