SAFC add two from MLS

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United States win Olympic Qualifying Tournament

United States seal passage to Rio

The United States will be in Rio to defend their Gold Medal after a 5-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night sealed their passage to the tournament. Alex Morgan was the star, managing a hat-trick in a clinical performance from the World Champions.

Alex Morgan celebrates wrapping up her hat-trick

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

After it was tight in the early minutes the USA opened the scoring in the 12th minute through Tobin Heath. After a great run in the box, Heath was able to get on the end of a perfect ball from Mallory Pugh, allowing Heath to send it past Kimika Forbes.

That goal led to the match being all USA from that point on as the World Champions controlled proceedings. Wave after wave of US attack came at the Trinidad and Tobago goal, but Kimika Forbes was up to the task.

The second goal finally came after the half hour, as the USA broke through to double their advantage through Morgan. Kelley O’Hara sent in a cross for Lindsey Horan, allowing Horan to head the ball back for Morgan to hit on the run, past Forbes and in to the back of the net.

If those goals didn’t seal things, Carli Lloyd, on her home ground, did so just before the break as she put USA three goals up. Morgan Brian sent in a corner, which found her captain, allowing Lloyd to head through Forbes’ arms, making it 3-0 at the break.

The second half, saw the United States just look to control possession and keep hold of their big lead to qualify for Rio. Trinidad and Tobago never really looked in the match, with the USA holding all of the possession.

USA had their fourth in the 71st minute, putting it away after the ball was bouncing around in the box. Samantha Mewis’ header was blocked by Jenelle Cunningham, falling to Morgan, who returned the header, only for Cunningham to head the ball on to the bar. The rebound fell for Morgan yet again, and this time she buried the chance, tapping it in from close range.

It took just two minutes for the final goal of the match to come as Morgan sealed her hat-trick thanks to a Brian cross. Brian’s ball was perfectly weighted, finding the great run of Morgan, who was able to easily send it in to the back of the net.

Canada qualify for Rio

Late goal sees Reagan stun Lee

Two join SAFC to add strike power

SAFC held their first training session on Thursday morning and following that the club announced two more signings. Shawn Chin and Sebastien Thuriere have joined the club for 2016, bringing more attack to the side.

Chin will be familiar to San Antonio soccer fans as he has been a regular opponent at Toyota Field over recent years. Firstly with Minnesota, but also with theFort Lauderdale side which made the 2014 Soccerbowl, losing to the Scorpions.

A phenomenally experienced striker, Chin comes to San Antonio after an impressive stint in Fort Lauderdale. Chin managed three goals and eight assists through his 53 matches for the NASL club, impressing as he acted more as the second striker, playing team-mates in and drawing the attention of the defense.

Something of a journeyman through his career San Antonio presents Chin with the chance to be part of a something completely new. In addition it gives Chin some stability, which has not always been the case with his prior clubs, with VSI Tampa Bay folding.

Thuriere comes to San Antonio from fellow USL club, Charleston Battery and previously played with Chin at VSI Tampa Bay. 2015 was not as significant to Thuriere as he only made nine starting appearances for Charleston, regularly coming off the bench to make an impact.

With that in mind Thuriere comes to San Antonio hoping to become much more of a key part of a club side, which he has been missing. Thuriere was let go from Charleston in the offseason and spent the early part of 2016 in Norway on trial with SK Brann, which did not eventuate in to a permanent contract, seeing him move to San Antonio.

Despite not seeing much starting time at Charleston, Thuriere has established himself as a key part of the Haitian National Team. That saw Thuriere play in the Gold Cup where Haiti managed an impressive quarter-final performance, before qualifying for the Copa America in 2016 with a win over Trinidad and Tobago which Thuriere came in as a substitute for the win.

That puts Thuriere’s status at San Antonio in some doubt, as he will miss at least some chunk of the season while away at the Copa Centenario. Thuriere will have to establish himself as a regular starter before June, or he could find himself on the outer when he returns.

Canada hit ten Past Guatemala

Canada rounded out the group play in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in emphatic style as they demolished Guatemala. Two hat-tricks, from Rebecca Quinn and Nichelle Prince, were a big part of the result with Canada running out 10-0 winners at BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday night.

Canada players celebrate Rebecca Quinn's hat-trick

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It didn’t take long for Canada to start the scoring, as the opened the scoring in just the fourth minute through legend Melissa Tancredi. The veteran was able to get on the end of a cross from Price from the right, allowing Tancredi to head home from close range.

Guatemala’s defense held firm for 20 minutes, but Canada could have been 2-0 up as they saw an effort come off the post. The wait wasn’t long after that effort as Alicia Navas dropped a cross, thanks to a team-mate getting in her way, allowing Gabrielle Carle to easily bury he chance.

In the 35th minute Canada found their third goal after some nice movement off the ball allowed the chance. Janine Beckie’s movement, allowed Allysha Chapman to send the ball in for a wide open Beckie, who sent the ball past the keeper, off Navas’ hands.

Two minutes before the break Canada was able to make it four after some individual brilliance from Nichelle Prince. Prince stole possession, beat her defender, and left the keeper with no chance on a well taken strike.

Canada weren’t done for the first-half yet and in stoppage time they were able to make it five after Didra Martinez gave away a penalty. The referee called for a handball, which allowed Rebecca Quinn to step up and bury the chance.

It took just four minutes in to the second half for Canada to knock Guatemala for six, when Quinn hit an impressive effort from distance, after Tancredi played her in to the space. Quinn completed her natural hat-trick as she headed home a Tancredi cross from just outside the six yard box, tomake it seven.

With such a huge lead, Canada let off the gas in the second half as they looked to just the pass the ball around. But despite that Canada were able to add three goals to hit ten in the final 10 minutes of the match.

Beckie hit a shot that was too powerful for Navas, as she was able to send a powerful effort that bounced in front of Navas. That saw the ball fall for Prince to score another with what was a very simple tap-in.

In the 86th minute it was a lucky bounce that gave Canada their ninth goal as Navas attempted to clear the ball. Tancredi stuck out her leg, sending the ball off her leg and in to the back of the net, for a goal her performance deserved.

The tenth came up with just over one minute to play, when Carle was able to send a ball in to the box, seemingly for Tancredi. But Tancredi let the ball run between her legs, allowing Prince to seal her hat-trick by sending the ball home.

Trinidad and Tobago Demolish Guyana to Advance to Semis

Former Silverback Lands at SAFC

Another hardworking midfielder has joined San Antonio FC as the club announced the signing of Michael Reed on Thursday afternoon. Reed comes to San Antonio from Atlanta where he played 29 matches for the Silverbacks in 2015.

That stint at the Silverbacks comes after spending three years in Minnesota, including winning the NASL Spring Championship. That saw Reed become familiar with playing at San Antonio, having spent four years as an opponent.

Minnesota was his first professional club, coming to the club from the University of New Mexico where he had a very successful senior season. Reed was named in the NSCAA All-West Region Third Team in his senior season.

After fighting his way in to the Minnesota starting lineup in 2013, he became a regular fixture in that line-up from then on. Despite that Atlanta were allowed to poach the player from the Loons and make him a key part of the Silverbacks squad.

The hard work of Reed means that his impact in a side often gets overlooked as a lot of his work is not tracked by statistics. It is runs off the ball that free up space for others in the danger areas, by drawing defenders to him, while covering well when the team is out of position, often making covering tackles to help his side out.

SAFC Head Coach, Darren Powell, praised Reed’s work rate in the press release announcing the signing “Michael has great endurance and an extremely high work rate in midfield, he will complement the midfielders on the squad really well, and we anticipate him having a good season for us.”

Reed scored one goal in 2015 but it was a phenomenal and memorable goal as he launched a rocket from the top of the box against Jacksonville. With the death of the Atlanta Silverbacks, SAFC were able to pick up Reed, keeping his career moving in the correct direction.

Stunning Goal not Enough as Costa Rica Through to Semis

A stunning goal from Maribel Dominguez was not enough as Mexico have seen their hopes of Rio come to an end. Costa Rica managed a 2-1 win over Mexico to eliminate Las Tri and send themselves through to the semi-final instead.

Mexico needed only a draw to advance to the semi-finals after their impressive performance against the United States saw them lead on goal difference. ButCosta Rica went for the match from the opening whistle, and took charge of the match thanks to an early goal.

It took just nine minutes for Costa Rica to manage the opening goal after Maria Barrantes miskick was recovered by Rodriguez Cedeno. Cedeno was able to control the ball, and then fire a shot, while falling back and beat the keeper to open the scoring.

That saw Costa Rica look to remain in control of the match, and they controlled much of the possession in the first half. That saw Mexico forced to go to the bench, as they looked to try and get control back from Costa Rica.

That seemed to work, to some extent, but they could not really get a major attack in on the Costa Rica goal as the half ended 1-0. Las Ticas came out from the break determined to double their lead going on the attack in the early going.

In the 57th minute Costa Rica doubled their lead as Karla Nieto fouled Cedeno, the second contentious penalty Mexico received in as many matches. Cedeno then dusted herself off, and took the shot, easily converting from the spot.

After looking off the pace for much of the match, Mexico started to look in to it in the final 20 minutes of the match. And in the 79th minute an absolute stunner pulled Mexico back in to the tie when Kati Johnson headed a ball in to the box, before Maribel Dominguez send a stunning bicycle across the face of goal, past Dinnia Diaz and in to the back of the net.

That goal pushed Mexico on to seek a goal and within the final ten minutes of the match had an even better chance. Again it was Dominguez who had the chance, as she was able to get clean through of the Costa Rica defense and shoot across the face but just wide, letting Costa Rica off the hook and sending Las Ticas through to the semi-finals.