Sunday, February 21, 2016

USA downs Canada 2-0 to take CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship

Both teams advance to the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

By Robert H Kelly
Photo by Robert H Kelly-TexSport Publications
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (Sunday, February 21, 2016) The United States capped their fourth consecutive CONCACAFWomen’s Olympic Qualifying Championship at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas with a 2-0 win over Canada in the final match of the tournament. Both the United States and Canada will advance to the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July-August, 2016.

The game started out with both teams trying to find the weakness in each other’s defense. It was a battle, moving from one end of the pitch to the other with neither team able to get an advantage. The game continued as a defensive battle without either team finding the goal in the first half.  The only event in the first half was Canada’s Josee Belanger receiving a yellow card. The starting defender, who plays professionally for the Orlando Pride was cited for aggressive play.

The USA finally found a way round the stubborn Canadian defense in the 53rd minute. Midfielder Lindsay Horan beat goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe to the ball and sent it out to defender Becky Sauerbrunn. She immediately sent the ball back to Horan, who headed the ball pass Labbe for the score. They added an insurance goal in the 61st minute when starting midfielder Tobin Heath connected from 25 yards out on the right side.

Both teams will advance to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The two teams met twice previously in the finals of the Olympic qualifying tournament. In 2008, the United States came out on top, as a result of penalty kicks. With no score after regulation, they played two overtime periods with Carli Lloyd scoring for the USA in the 108th minute and Melissa Tancredi scoring the equalizer in the 116th minute. The game went to penalty kicks after 120 minutes of play with the USA coming out on top 6-5. In 2012, the USA shocked Canada 4-0 with Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach each scoring two goals in the win.

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