February 10, 2016
By Michael Lewis
LEAVING NO DOUBT
Morgan strikes twice, including 12 seconds into the match, to lift USWNT to 5-0 win over Costa Rica
FRISCO, Texas -- New generation of players, same old national team.
|The Chicago Red Stars' Christen Press closed the scoring for the U.S. in a 5-0 Olympic qualifying win.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Alex Morgan scored twice, including the fastest goal in CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship (CWOQ) history, to spark the United States to a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica in the opening Group A match for both teams at Toyota Stadium Wednesday night.
Carli Lloyd, Crystal Dunn and Christen Press also tallied for the Americans, who have captured the last three Olympic gold medals.
This was supposed to be a transition year for the USA, with four players retiring, two sidelined by pregnancies and two veterans out with injuries.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo recorded the shutout as the USA extended its Olympic qualifying shutout streak to 543 minutes. The last Olympic qualifying goal the Americans surrendered came against Canada in the 2008 competition. Melissa Tancredi scored with three minutes remaining in extratime before the USA squeaked out a 6-5 shootout victory.
The USA made quick work of the Costa Ricans, striking three times within the opening 15 minutes.
Only 12 seconds after Jamaican referee Cardella Samuels whistled to signify the start of the match, Morgan electrified the crowd.
Dunn took the opening kickoff and tapped the ball to Tobin Heath, who passed the ball back to Morgan Brian. Brian found Lindsey Horan, who sent it forward to Lloyd. The 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the year headed it to an onrushing Morgan, who fired a 12-yard volley into the lower right corner past goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz.
The CONCACAF record was held by Abby Wambach, who tallied 35 seconds into a qualifier against the Dominican Republic on Jan. 20, 2012. It was believed to have been the fastest goal in U.S. women's soccer history.
The Americans forced three corner kicks before Melissa Herrera took down Dunn just inside the penalty area. Lloyd slotted her penalty kick into the lower left corner for her 83rd international goal and ninth Olympic qualifying score for a 2-0 lead in the ninth minute.
Dunn found the back of the net on the quarter hour, putting in a scramble of a rebound of her own shot, tucking the ball into the lower left side past defender Carol Sanchez.
Morgan increased the lead to 4-0, heading home a Lloyd right-wing cross from point-blank range in the 62nd minute for her 59th international score.
Press, a second-half substitute, was on the end of some nifty passing, depositing the ball into the lower left corner in the 83rd minute to close out the scoring.
Costa Rica will meet Puerto Rico here on Saturday, while the USA will face Mexico in the second game of the doubleheader.