US Women Cruise to win in Houston

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The United States Women’s National Team again made light work of Russia as they completed their two match series in Texas. The USA won 5-1 in a strong performance across the board after a tight start to the match.

“Whenever you lose a game,” said USA head coach Jill Ellis referring to the She Believes Cup, “you want to get back on track, and reality is this team doesn’t lose very often. The results make you feel good but what do you get from that and where are the pieces? Those are the really important questions for me and where we are. I was happy with the players, and it was good to get so many players in these games… then we can decide on the next squad.”

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USA Demolish Russia in First Texan Friendly

Crystal Dunn celebrates a goal (Photo: US Soccer)

The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has started their double header in Texas well as they managed a 4-0 win over Russia at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on Thursday night.

A sell-out crowd of 15,191 attended the match in Frisco with Crystal Dunn and Allie Long both scoring braces in the big win. It was a much needed confidence boost for the USWNT after a disappointing performance in the She Believes Cup.

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USWNT to Return to Texas for Russian Matches in April

The Russian Women’s National Team (Photo: FAU)

Texas will be hosting two international friendlies in April as Russia will take on the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT). The first match will be at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on April 6th while the second will be at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston three days later, April 9th.

The matches take place right before the start of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season begins, allowing hype to build ahead of what will be an historic fifth season for the NWSL and women’s soccer in the United States.

For Russia the matches are vital preparation as they prepare to compete in the 2017 Women’s Euros. The task for Russia in the Netherlands will be difficult as they have to take on Germany, Italy and Sweden in Group B, having played Germany in qualifying behind them as the second place side in Group 5.

While the United States will be using the matches against Russia as preparation for their hosted tournament, the SheBelieves Cup. That tournament will bring strong teams as German, France and England will come to US soil.

As is so often the case with the USWNT they have a strong record against Russia, having won seven matches and one draw against them. The two teams last played in 2014 when the United States won a double header series 7-0 and 8-0.

The UNSWNT has an incredible record in Texas, having won every match they have ever played in the state. At Toyota Stadium they have won all three matches, beating Canada 6-2 and 1-0 in 2007 and 2014 while they beat New Zealand 2-1 in 2012. At BBVA Compass Stadium they have won the only match they played there beating China 4-0 in 2012. The average attendance in matches in Texas is 13,170.

This could well be the last chance fans in Texas will have to see a United States national team play, due to the discriminatory SB6 that will be going before the state legislature. A similar bill in North Carolina cost them all NCAA events, and while US Soccer didn’t take events away from North Carolina, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati suggested that they would not give matches to the state due to the law. “Given the legislation, I’ve asked the people who handle our games to reconsider,” he said in a Washington Post interview. That may be why these matches were announced now, to get the matches scheduled before SB6 passes to have a defense when that measure passes.

Three Houston Dash Players Called in to USWNT Squad

Photo: Houston Dash

Houston Dash has had three players selected by US Women’s National Team (USWNT) coach, Jill Ellis for the January Training Camp. Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai have all been selected in the 29 woman squad named by Jill Ellis on Wednesday.

With no matches scheduled for January the camp will present the primary opportunity for players to impress Ellis without NWSL play. Despite there being no new Collective Bargaining Agreement the players and US Soccer have agreed to continue under the previous agreement, meaning players will be able to attend the camp without fear of being ostracized by senior members of the team.

Lloyd was a certain call up as the captain of the side, having earned 232 caps for the United States. In that time Lloyd has scored 96 international goals, the most among active USWNT players and the sixth most of all time.

Brian has continued to excel for the USWNT in recent years and continues to become a regular selection for the USWNT. Brian has earned 63 caps, excelling in 2016 and has starred for the Dash with 13 appearances.

Ohai’s selection continues her rise in to international soccer, after earning her first cap in October. It was a phenomenal season from Ohai in the NWSL this year as she led the goal scoring race with 11 goals through the season.

After finally getting selected in October Ohai immediately set about proving that selection was long overdue. It took Ohai just 48 seconds to score her first full international goal scoring against Switzerland in Minneapolis starting what is sure to be a long international career.

The training camp gets under way on January 13th and will take place at the US Soccer National Training Center at Carson, CA. That camp will run at the same time as an Under 23 camp and starts just days after a camp for the senior men’s national team, putting three of America’s national teams in one space.

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.

USA Through to Semi-Finals After Mexico win

It may not have been comfortable, and it may have required a questionable penalty decision but the United States have advanced to the semi-finals of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying. The USA beat Mexico 1-0 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday afternoon to seal top spot in Group A.

USA players celebrate their goal

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It was a tight match throughout, with Mexico determined to get a point, or even an unlikely win which would see themselves through to the semi-finals. As it is, the one goal loss puts them in the box seat to advance, although a difficult match-up to Costa Rica awaits on Monday, with the winner through to the semi-finals.

Showing how unusual the tight match was, it was the first time the USA ever won a CONCACAF Olympic Qualifier by a score of just 1-0. The star of the night was undoubtedly Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago who made huge saves all afternoon, including saving a penalty.

The first big chance for the United States came in the 16th minute when a cross allowed Julie Johnson a golden opportunity. Johnson got a header away but it was a stunning save from Santiago to keep the World Champions out.

With Mexico playing in a 5-4-1 life was always going to be difficult for the United States going forward, as the Mexican defense stifled the Americans. That led to few chances, with the USA players struggling to get that final opportunity.

There was one more big chance in the first half as Crystal Dunn was able to get a powerful shot away from the right side of the box. Dunn’s shot went across the face of goal and across Santiago, who dived across well to make a stunning save.

Just seven minutes in to the second half, the United States had a golden opportunity to open the scoring. Christen Press had the chance as she got away an impressive shot that finally beat Santiago but could only find the post.

Again Mexico tightened up defensively and it took until after the hour mark for the World Champions to have their next chance. Two chances came back to back from Alex Morgan, who first sent a shot over the bar and then a header with the same result.

The post was also proving a worthy adversary of the Americans as Lindsay Horan was also denied, in the 76th minute. Horan found the space and got the shot away, beating Santiago, but could only find the woodwork, letting Mexico off.

Four minutes after that chance, the United States finally hit their lead thanks to a fortunate refereeing decision. Karla Nieto was called for what may have been a harsh handball call. That allowed Carli Lloyd to step up but her penalty was well saved by Santiago, only to fall back to Lloyd, who buried it for the opener.

Three minutes from time Mexico could well have got back on level terms, with an impressive strike from Monica Ocampo. Ocampo unleashed a powerful shot, which looked bound for the top right hand corner only for Hope Solo to tap the ball on to the post and out, to give USA the 1-0 win.

US Women road to Rio starts with big Win

Needing plenty of goals to go to the top of the standings, the USA was forced to open up on Costa Rica and the World Champions showed no mercy. USA defeated Costa Rica 5-0 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on Tuesday night to get a perfect start to their Olympic qualifying campaign.

Alex Morgan celebrates one of her goals with Carli Lloyd

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The match started brightly with Alex Morgan setting a record for the fastest goal scored in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying history. From the kickoff, Lindsey Horan sent a long ball down to Carli Lloyd, who flicked it over the defense for Morgan to hold off her defender and shoot powerfully in to the back of the net, for not just the fastest goal in tournament history but also the fastest in USWNT history.

After a decent attempt at a comeback from Costa Rica, lead by Raquel Rodriquez Cedeno, the USA was 2-0 up in the ninth minute. Melissa Herrera fouled Crystal Dunn just inside the box, allowing new captain, Lloyd to bury the penalty.

Quickly it was 3-0 for the United States as a Becky Sauerbrunn long throw unlocked the Costa Rican defense. That allowed Horan to head a ball to Morgan, whose shot was saved by Diannia Diaz, only for Crystal Dunn to run on to the rebound that was well saved again by Diaz but sent back in to the net by Dunn.

After such a frantic start to the match, things calmed down with some better defense by Costa Rica, but with such a deficit it was always going to be difficult. USA was still on top but some impressive goalkeeping from Dinnia Diaz kept the score down to 3-0 at halftime.

It was a tight start to the second half but the United States quickly took charge of the match, but it took until the 62nd minute for a goal to come. Lloyd managed to dribble in to the box and then chipped the ball to Morgan, who easily headed home from close range.

The Americans made substitutions after that goal, trying to give more players game time, and that saw those players look to keep the United States attacking. There were plenty of chances for the USA but wayward shooting and good keeping kept out the World Champions.

The final goal came in the 83rd minute after a cross from Tobin Heath found Christen Press with her back to goal. Press settled the ball and was able to turn her defender and slam home the goal from close range, sealing the big win for the United States.

Press Hat-trick and Horan Performance see USA past Trinidad and Tobago

The World Champions returned to San Antonio as the US Women’s Team took on Trinidad and Tobago at the Alamodome on Thursday night. The USA cruised to the victory as a strong second half saw them overwhelm Trinidad and Tobago 6-0.

In the tenth minute the United States had their first really clear chance of the match when the ball was played through for Alex Morgan. She ran on to the ball and got a shot away but it was well saved by Kimika Forbes.

In the 22nd minute the USA got the lead through a penalty, after a collision between Forbes and Alex Morgan the referee pointed to spot, despite the keeper getting a big piece of the ball. After a lengthy delay to treat the two players, Carli Lloyd stepped up and buried the penalty confidently to give the world champions the lead.

“I still don’t know what that penalty was for,” said Trinidad and Tobago coach Randy Waldrum.”It seemed like two players challenging for the ball to me, but it was given.”

Some scrappy defending from Trinidad and Tobago allowed USA another chance and they thought they’d doubled their lead. Carli Lloyd crossed the ball back for Morgan who headed the ball home but the offside flag was up after Lloyd was offside before she sent in the cross.

Lindsay Horan had a good chance for the World Champions in the 42nd minute as a long ball found her perfectly. Horan controlled well with her chest but was closed down quickly and sent her effort wide of goal which kept it 1-0 at half-time.

Horan was the star of the match, finishing with three assists and a goal, which had Jill Ellis glowing in praise. “I thought she was excellent, we played her slightly lower, it was the first time she’s played in there and her passing was great.”

The second goal finally came in the 52nd minute as Morgan exorcised her Alamodome demons as Lindsey Horan played her through. Morgan skirted the offside trap and ran clean through on goal, allowing her to shoot past Forbes to make it two.

Forbes made her first mistake of the match in the 61st minute and it allowed the USA to make it 3-0. Christen Press was allowed to turn and then kept her run going to create space on the edge of the box, taking a shot that burst through Forbes hands and in to the back of the net.

In the 66th minute Trinidad and Tobago had their best chance of the match after some great work down the line. Tasha St. Louis harried the USA defense, and regained possession for the visitors but they ran out of space, surrendering possession.

Press sealed her brace in the 75th minute as some slick passing work from the United States saw them set up the opportunity. Press got the ball and slid the ball to the net, nutmegging Forbes to make it 4-0.

Press made it a hat-trick in the 83rd minute, after Horan was again able to provide the assist, Horan sent the ball in deep to a wide open Press who buried it for 5-0. The sixth came in stoppage as Horan was able to bury the strike after some nice build up sealing her first international goal.

USWNT v Trinidad and Tobago Preview

US Soccer confirmed on Wednesday that the US Women’s Team friendly against Trinidad and Tobago will go ahead, the Rivard Report reported. The match was under some threat after the same encounter in Hawaii was cancelled due to poor pitch conditions, leaving many in San Antonio, familiar with the poor condition of the Alamodome turf anxious that the same fate would befall the Alamodome match.

The turf has previously had problems with a women’s international friendly, with two injuries coming in the last USWNT match here. Australia’s Kyah Simon tore her ACL, almost ending her international career, while Alex Morgan also suffered an injury in that match.

This match proves a vital part of preparation for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying which will take place in Texas in February. Only two teams will advance to the Olympic Games from that tournament and as such it will be a cut throat tournament, with this match proving vital to Trinidad and Tobago’s preparation especially.

There will be one notable player missing from the USA squad in this match as Megan Rapinoe will be absent. Rapinoe tore her ACL in her right knee in training in Honolulu which was one of the reasons for canceling the match at Aloha Stadium.

Also missing for the world champions will be Christie Rampone, who also has a knee injury and will likely miss all the remaining matches. Rampone could be available for the match in New Orleans, which will prove Abby Wambach’s last match.

After retirements and the two mentioned absences, the US Women’s Team have added eight players to the squad who did not travel to the World Cup. The most notable is Crystal Dunn, who showed why selecting her should have been the decision by winning the NWSL MVP award, being cut from the squad at the last moment.

There are two players who could well make their debuts in the match on Thursday with Danielle Colaprico, NWSL Rookie of the year and Rose Lavelle, a junior at Wisnconsin receiving a call up. Colaprico started every NWSL game in the season, while Lavelle recently played at the CONCACAF Under 20 tournament, winning the MVP award.

On the Trinidad and Tobago side there is a heavy connection with Texas, with the visiting side being coached by Randy Waldrum. Waldrum coaches Houston Dash, meaning he’ll be matching himself against his club player, Carli Lloyd.

There are a few Trinidad and Tobago players with connections in the United States, with Kenya Cordner, and Danielle Blair both having played in the United States. Ahkeela Mollon will be a key player for the United States to watch out for, playing for European side, Kvarnsvedens IK.

Two key players could be missing for Trinidad and Tobago with Mariah Shade and Patrice Superville under an injury cloud. They will need all the players they can as the USA will be quite a match for Trinidad and Tobago but the Socca Warriors will come in with some confidence after only falling 1-0 at the 2014 CONCACAF Championships against a strong USWNT side.

Only penalties stopped Trinidad and Tobago from advancing to the 2014 Championship final and a berth in the World Cup, before an extra-time loss was what kept them out of the World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago are a stronger side than what most USWNT fans believe, and will give the hosts a fight but this should still be a comfortable win for the United States.