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Global Feb 18, 2016

USWNT faces Trinidad & Tobago for 2016 Olympic berth

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2016 CONCACAF WOQ Championship Semifinals
Feb. 19 – BBVA Compass Stadium
4:30 pm CT       Canada vs. Costa Rica
7:30 pm CT       USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago

(Via U.S. Soccer) – After winning Group A at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship with three wins in Frisco, Texas, while scoring 16 goals and allowing zero, the U.S. Women’s National Team traveled to Houston to face Trinidad & Tobago in the all-important semifinal match on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBCSN, NBC Universo and NBC Live Extra), as a win will secure a berth to Rio.

The USA is attempting to win its fourth-consecutive CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship and qualify for its sixth consecutive Olympic Games. All the matches of the tournament are being streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra, with four also airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).


USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago: The series dates all the way back to 1991 when the USA and T&T met in qualifying for the 1991 Women’s World Cup in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The USA is 9-0-0 all-time vs. T&T, but the Soca Princesses played its best game against the USA in qualifying for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, holding the USA to a 1-0 win on goal from Abby Wambach. The most recent meeting came during the post-WWC Victory Tour with the USA winning 6-0 in San Antonio, Texas, including three goals from Christen Press (who scored a true hat trick in 23 minutes to match her former jersey number). T&T advanced to the semifinals by finishing second in Group B behind Canada. T&T headed into its final group game against Guyana needing a win to advance (Guyana had a better goal difference after beating Guatemala 2-1 and losing only 5-0 to Canada while T&T defeated Guatemala 2-1 and lost 6-0 to Canada), but had little trouble scoring, four goals in the first 21 minutes on the way to a 5-1 win.

Trinidad & Tobago On The Rise: Trinidad & Tobago returns to the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship after missing out on the 2012 edition. To make it to Texas, T&T went 4-0-0 to capture the Caribbean qualifying competition, earning a 1-0 win over Puerto Rico in the final. In 2014, the Soca Princesses finished fourth in Women’s World Cup qualifying and were handed the lifeline of an intercontinental playoff against Ecuador for the final berth to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. After a 0-0 draw in the opener of that series, the South Americans prevailed 1-0 on the road in the second leg in front of a Hasely Crawford Stadium crowd of 23,000.

CONCACAF Records: The U.S. WNT remains unbeaten in all-time CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying with a 16-0-1 record and has never lost a match in Olympic qualifying, but it did tie Canada 1-1 in the title game of the 2008 tournament before prevailing in penalty kicks. The WNT has a current streak of eight consecutive games in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying without allowing a goal, dating back to the previously mentioned final of the 2008 Olympic Qualifying tournament. Carli Lloyd has 11 career goals in Olympic Qualifying, just three short of Abby Wambach’s record of 14, followed by Crystal Dunn and Alex Morgan with six apiece.  Morgan’s goal 12 seconds into the match against Costa Rica on Feb. 10 is the earliest in U.S. WNT history (she also has the latest, scoring in the 123rd minute against Canada in the semifinal of the 2012 Olympics), and the quickest in CONCACAF qualifying history, besting Wambach (35 seconds vs. Dominican Republic on Jan. 20, 2012). Lloyd also has the most Olympic qualifying appearances or anyone on the roster, having scored 11 goals in 12 games (2008, 2012 & 2016). Hope Solo has played in 10 Olympic qualifying matches (2008, 2012 & 2016).

Five Goals. One Game: Before the Puerto Rico match on Feb, 15, Crystal Dunn had scored five goals for the U.S. WNT. By the end of the match, she had doubled that total, notching five goals to tie a U.S. record for most goals scored in a match. She became the seventh player to achieve the feat. The other six were: Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux. It was Dunn’s first multi-goal game for the WNT.

Leading the Pack: Six players have scored the USA’s 16 goals in the tourney so far: Dunn (6), Lloyd (3), Morgan (2), Press (2), O’Hara (1) and Mewis (1). The U.S. benefitted from an own goal from Puerto Rico. Solo earned her 93rd shutout against Mexico on Feb. 13. With 188 caps and 142 wins, she is the leader for caps and wins by a goalkeeper in U.S. history. Lloyd has also scored 21 goals in the USA’s last 16 matches starting with the Round of 16 game at the WWC. Morgan has 59 international goals, just one short of tying Shannon MacMillan for eighth on the USA’s all-time scoring list. Five of the 11 goals over the two games in 2016 for the USA have been a direct combination of Lloyd and Morgan with one providing the assist and the other the goal.

A Mix of Youth and Experience: Of the 20 players on the qualifying roster, nine have 24 or less caps and seven have 71 or more caps. Eight of the players named to the roster have nine caps or less, while four players on the roster have played 100 times for more for the USA, led by Carli Lloyd’s 215 caps. Hope Solo has 188 caps followed by Tobin Heath’s 109 and Alex Morgan’s 103. Sauerbrunn could hit 100 during the qualifying tournament as she is currently at 98. Thirteen of the 20 players chosen by head coach Jill Ellis to the USA’s Olympic Qualifying roster were on the USA’s 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team and just seven players were on the USA’s roster for 2012 Olympic qualifying: goalkeeper Hope Solo, defenders Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Ali Krieger, midfielders Lloyd and Tobin Heath and forward Alex Morgan. Solo, Heath and Lloyd are the only players on the roster who also participated in qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.  For the 2012 Olympic qualifying roster, 19 of the 20 players were on the 2011 Women’s World Cup Team.

A New Crop: Morgan Brian, Crystal Dunn, Jaelene Hinkle, Lindsey Horan, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Christen Press, and Mallory Pugh each made their Olympic Qualifying debut against Costa Rica on Feb. 10. Dunn andPress also scored their first Olympic qualifying goals. Pugh is the youngest player ever named to a U.S. Olympic qualifying roster. She also became the youngest player in WNT history to play in an Olympic qualifier match at 17 years, 9 months and 12 days old when she came on for Dunn in the 68th minute against Costa Rica. She played again, earning her third consecutive cap, when she came in as a sub for Krieger in the 75th minute against Mexico. She also played against Puerto Rico in the group stage and recorded her first assist.

Also against Puerto Rico on Feb. 15, Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Hinkle, Stephanie McCaffrey, Samantha Mewis, Pugh and Press, all made their first start in the tournament. It also marked the first appearance in this year’s tournament for Naeher, O’Hara, Sonnett, McCaffrey and Mewis, and Olympic Qualifying debuts for Naeher, Sonnett, McCaffrey and Mewis. O’Hara started three games in the 2012 tournament, and Hinkle, Press and Pugh had already seen action in the two previous group stage matches of the 2016 tournament. Mewis also scored her first international goal, becoming the second player to score her first goal in 2016, notching the 10th and final goal in stoppage time. Her older sister Kristie also has one international goal for the USA.

Seven In; Five To Go: Seven nations have already qualified for the 12-team Olympic Football Tournament: Brazil and Colombia from South America, South Africa and Zimbabwe from Africa, New Zealand from Oceania, and France and Germany from Europe by virtue of their finish at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Two teams will qualify from CONCACAF and Asia and one more will qualify from Europe after a mini-tournament in March featuring Sweden, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. Long-time African power Nigeria, which gave the USA a strong match in the Women’s World Cup, fell in the third round of African qualifying to Equatorial Guinea, which in turn fell to South Africa, which earned its second straight Olympic berth.

BACK TO BBVA: The U.S. WNT has played four matches in Houston at four different venues, but the semifinal on Feb. 19 will be the first venue repeat after the USA defeated China PR 4-0 on Dec. 12, 2012. The USA has also played at Reliant Stadium (5-0 vs. Ireland in 2004 as Abby Wambach scored all five goals), Clyde Abshier Stadium (3-0 win vs. Sweden in 1996), and Robertson Stadium (3-2 win vs. Mexico in 2000).


GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), 20-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), 1-Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7): 19-Jaelene Hinkle (Western NY Flash), 8-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), 6-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 14-Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), 3-Samantha Mewis(Western NY Flash)
FORWARDS (5): 16-Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), 15-Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), 12-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars); 2-Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Shalette Alexander (Wiley College/USA), Saundra Baron (Unattached), Kimika Forbes (Unattached)
DEFENDERS (5): Danielle Blair (GS United/CAN), Jenelle Cunningham (Real Dimension), Liana Hinds (University of Connecticut/USA), Arin King (GS United/CAN), Anastasia Prescott (Unattached)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Maylee Attin-Johnson (Central FC), Kennya Cordner (Unattached), Khadidra Debesette (West Texas A&M University/USA), Karyn Forbes (West Texas A&M University/USA), Janine Francois (Real Dimension), Naomi Guerra (St Augustine Secondary), Ahkeela Mollon (La Brea Angels), Tasha St. Louis (St Ann’s FC), Victoria Swift (Navarro College/USA), Kayla Taylor (Wiley College/USA)
FORWARD (2): Jo Marie Lewis (St Ann’s FC), Mariah Shade (US Rouvroy/FRA)

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