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USWNT facing Costa Rica in Concacaf W Championship semifinals

After an unbeaten run through the group stage, the U.S. Women’s National Team will kick off the knockout rounds at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship, taking on Costa Rica in the semifinals on Thursday, July 14.

The USA, winners of Group A, will take on Group B runner-up Costa Rica at 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT (CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ and ViX) at Estadio Universitario with a berth to the championship game on the line.

The USA closed group play in dramatic fashion on July 11, defeating hosts Mexico, 1-0, on a goal in the 89th minute from midfielder Kristie Mewis. With the win, the USA secured its spot atop Group A and extended its shutout streak to 31 consecutive matches in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying. The USWNT scored nine goals in the group stage, with six different players finding the back of the net in the first three games of the competition.

The reigning Concacaf champions will now take on a Costa Rica side that won its first two matches against Panama (3-0 on July 5) and Trinidad & Tobago (4-0 on July 8) before falling to Canada by a score of 2-0 in the final match of group play.

Canada, as winners of Group B, will take on Group A runner-up Jamaica in Thursday’s second semifinal match (10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. local on CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ and ViX), which will also be played at Estadio Universitario.

The Final (10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. local) and Third-Place Match (7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. local) will be played on Monday, July 18 at Estadio BBVA with a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics awaiting the tournament champion.

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR

Following round-robin group play in the Concacaf W Championship, the USA, Jamaica, Canada and Costa Rica advanced to the tournament semifinals and guaranteed their spots in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Concacaf W Championship now serves as the Confederation’s qualifying event for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games, with the winning nation clinching an automatic berth to France. The runner-up and the third-place nations will progress to a Concacaf Olympic play-in to be held in September of 2023.

Third-place group finishers Panama and Haiti have advanced to a 10-team FIFA Women’s World Cup Inter-Confederation Playoffs, which will determine the final three teams in the expanded 32-team field for Australia and New Zealand.

The USA will be making its ninth consecutive World Cup appearance. Canada has qualified for its eighth Women’s World Cup while Costa Rica and Jamaica will both be making their second-ever appearances.

Of the four semifinalists, neither Jamaica nor Costa Rica has ever qualified for the Olympics. Canada won gold at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics while the USA are four-time Olympic champions.

USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 7), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 82)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 12/0), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 16/0), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 4/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 17/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 156/3), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 205/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 68/0) 

MIDFIELDERS (7): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 114/25), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC; 4/1), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 76/21), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 43/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 12/2), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 30/3)

FORWARDS (6): Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 194/117), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 76/23), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 18/4), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 191/62), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 5/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 19/8)

Unlike previous years where the rosters for Concacaf Qualifying have featured 20 players, this year roster sizes were expanded to 23, matching the current World Cup roster size. U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski announced his 23-player roster for the final competition on June 13, bringing in a squad that includes proven veterans on the international stage as along with dynamic, up-and-coming talent.

The USA has made one change to its roster since the start of the tournament with midfielder Sam Coffey replacing forward Ashley Hatch for the knockout rounds. Hatch suffered a muscle strain in her leg during the USA’s July 7 win over Jamaica and was deemed unable to compete the remainder of the tournament. Coffey, who received her first call-up to senior national team this June, joins the team in Monterrey in search of her first cap.

INSIDE THE SERIES: USA VS. COSTA RICA

Thursday’s semifinal matchup will be the 17th meeting all-time between the USA and Costa Rica and the 10th between the countries in World Cup or Olympic Qualifying. The USA has won all 16 previous matchups against Costa Rica.

The most recent meeting between the teams came during Olympic Qualifying in 2020 as the USA downed Costa Rica, 6-0, in the final match of group play in Houston, Texas on February 3, 2020. Samantha Mewis and Christen Press both netted braces in the victory while Lindsey Horan and Jessica McDonald also scored in the win.

The USA and Costa Rica last met in the knockout stages of qualifying in 2014, when the USA downed Costa Rica, 6-0, in the final of the 2014 Concacaf Women’s Championship.

ALL EYES ON AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

With the opening match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup just over a year away, fifteen teams have already qualified for the tournament, which has been expanded to now feature 32 teams, up from 24 in both 2015 and 2019. The nations that have already punched their tickets Down Under are co-hosts Australia and New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, China PR, Philippines and Vietnam from Asia, and Sweden, France, Denmark and Spain from Europe, and now the USA, Costa Rica, Canada and Jamaica from Concacaf. This will be the first Women’s World Cup at any level for both the Philippines and Vietnam, who qualified through the AFC Asian Women’s Cup. Still to be filled are four slots from Africa, the final automatic spot from Concacaf – which will go to either Jamaica or Haiti, three slots from South America, seven remaining slots from Europe and three slots from the 10-team playoff tournament that will feature two teams from Asia (Chinese Taipei and Thailand), two from Africa, two from Concacaf (Haiti and Panama), two from South America, one from Oceania and one from Europe.

The USA has qualified for its ninth consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup, having played in every tournament since the competition’s inception in 1991 and winning a record four titles. Japan and Sweden have also qualified for a ninth Women’s World Cup and Germany, Norway, Brazil and Nigeria can join that group as well if they successfully qualify for Australia/New Zealand. The USA is also looking to qualify for an eighth consecutive Summer Olympics.

USA ROSTER NOTES

  • The USA has an overall combined record of 58-1-1 in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying matches, the lone loss coming in 2010 vs. Mexico in the semifinals of World Cup Qualifying. The USA’s only draw in World Cup or Olympic Qualifying officially came in the final of the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament against Canada, though the USA prevailed on penalty kicks to win the tournament.
  • The USA has won all five Olympic qualifying tournaments in which it has participated and has won eight of the nine World Cup qualifying tournaments in which it competed, the lone blemish coming in the 2010 Concacaf Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, the USA fell to Mexico in the semifinal in Cancun, Mexico and Canada defeated Mexico in the championship game.
  • Eight players on the Concacaf W Championship roster were on the USWNT’s roster for Olympic Qualifying in 2020: Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Emily Sonnett and Andi Sullivan.
  • Nine players on this year’s 23-player CWC roster were a part of the USA’s 2018 World Cup Qualifying roster, with Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh joining Horan, Lavelle, Naeher, O’Hara, Rapinoe, Sauerbrunn and Sonnett.
  • Megan Rapinoe leads the squad with a combined 25 appearances in qualifying events – though she missed the July 7 match against Jamaica as she was in Washington D.C. to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She returned to Monterrey that evening and came on in the second half of the July 11 match against Mexico.
  • Morgan is the next-most experienced player on this roster in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying with 22 qualifying caps, followed by Becky Sauerbrunn (20) and Kelley O’Hara (18).
  • Morgan, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn were on the U.S. team that last played in a World Cup qualifying tournament in Mexico. That was in 2010 when the USA lost its only match to Mexico, which occurred in the semifinal in Cancun. That loss forced the USA to win the Third-Place Match and then the two-leg playoff vs. Italy to qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a tournament in which the USA advanced to the Final before falling in penalty kicks to Japan.
  • The most capped player on the roster is Sauerbrunn at 205, followed by Morgan (194), Rapinoe (191), O’Hara (156) and Lindsey Horan (114) while the least capped players are Trinity Rodman (5), Naomi Girma (4), Taylor Kornieck (4), Aubrey Kingsbury (1) and Coffey (0).
  • Twelve players on the USA roster for the Concacaf W Championship have 20 caps or fewer: Sophia Smith, Sofia Huerta, Midge Purce, Emily Fox, Alana Cook, Ashley Sanchez, Casey Murphy, Rodman, Girma, Kornieck, Kingsbury and Coffey.
  • Becky Sauerbrunn is the oldest player on the roster (37 years old) while Rodman is the youngest (20 years old) and was six years old when Sauerbrunn made her USWNT debut. Rapinoe celebrated her 37th birthday on July 5 but is a month younger than Sauerbrunn.
  • Of the 23 players on this roster, seven are in their 30s while nine players are age 25 or younger.
  • Morgan is the top scorer on the roster with 117 career goals. Rapinoe has 62 and Lindsey Horan has 25. Pugh has 23 goals for the USWNT while Rose Lavelle has 21.
  • Two players – Lindsey Horan and Sophia Smith – have started all three matches for the USA at the Concacaf W Championship while five additional players – Sofia Huerta, Ashley Sanchez, Kristie Mewis, Midge Purce and Rose Lavelle – have also seen action in every game of the tournament.
  • Sanchez leads the USWNT in total minutes played this tournament with 212, followed by Horan (189) and then Alana Cook, Naomi Girma, Casey Murphy, Midge Purce and Becky Sauerbrunn, who all logged 180 minutes during group play
  • The USA scored a total of nine goals during the group stage, tied with Canada for the most by any team through the first three games of the competition.
  • Six different players have scored for the USA at the Concacaf W Championship – Alex Morgan (2), Sophia Smith (2), Kristie Mewis (2), Midge Purce (1), Rose Lavelle (1) and Trinity Rodman (1)
  • Mewis, Morgan and Smith are tied for third in scoring among all players this tournament. Canada’s Julia Grosso and Jamaica’s Khadija “Buuny” Shaw currently lead the Golden Boot race with three goals scored.
  • Five different players have recorded an assist for the USA at the Concacaf W Championship – Mallory Pugh (2), Naomi Girma (1), Sofia Huerta (1), Ashley Sanchez (1) and Kelley O’Hara (1).
  • Pugh’s two assists ranks second among all players so far this tournament, trailing only Canada’s Janine Beckie, who has three assists, all of which came in Canada’s opening win over Trinidad & Tobago. Pugh is the only player in this competition to record an assist in multiple games.
  • Fourteen different players have scored for the USWNT so far in 2022 – Sophia Smith (7), Catarina Macario (5), Mallory Pugh (5), Rose Lavelle (3), Kristie Mewis (3), Alex Morgan (2), Ashley Hatch (2), Ashley Sanchez (2), Trinity Rodman (2), Midge Purce (2), Jaelin Howell (1), Kelley O’Hara (1), Andi Sullivan (1) and Taylor Kornieck (1).
  • The USA’s other five goals this year came via own goals, the most ever in a calendar year in program history with three on Feb. 20 vs. New Zealand, and one each on April 12 vs. Uzbekistan and June 28 vs. Colombia.
  • Twelve different players have registered an assist for the USWNT so far in 2022, led by Pugh with seven assists. Lavelle (5 assists), Sanchez (3), Alana Cook (2), O’Hara (2) and Huerta (2) also have multiple assists on the year while Megan Rapinoe, Purce, Hatch, Macario, Sullivan and Grima have one assist each.
  • In total, 18 different players have been directly involved in goals for the USWNT in 2022, tallying either a goal or an assist.
  • Two players –Ashley Sanchez and Kristie Mewis – have appeared for the USA in all 10 matches in 2022.
  • Defender Alana Cook leads the USA in total minutes played so far in 2022 with 684 minutes of action, followed by Sanchez (630), Sullivan (589) and Fox (576).
  • Head coach Vlatko Andonovski is 37-2-6 in 45 games (two at the end of 2019, nine in 2020, 24 in 2021, and 10 so far in 2022).
  • Through 10 games in 2022, the USWNT has had 23 goals scored by players under the age of 24. Over the course of 2019, 2020 and 2021 — a total of 57 games — the USWNT had a combined total of 10 goals scored by players under the age of 24.

IN FOCUS: COSTA RICA | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
Current FIFA World Ranking: 37
Concacaf Ranking: 4
FIFA Country Code: CRC
World Cup appearances: 1 (2015)
Best World Cup Finish: Group Stage (2015)
Olympic appearances: N/A
Record vs. USA: 0-16-0
Last Meeting vs. USA: Feb. 3, 2020 (6-0 USA win in Concacaf Olympic Qualifying; Houston, Texas)
Coach: Amelia Valverde (CRC)

COSTA RICA WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Noelia Bermudez (Alajuelense), 23-Daniela Solera (C.D. Santa Teresa, ESP), 24- Genesis Perez (Unattached)

DEFENDERS (8): 2-Gabriela Guillen (Alajuelense), 3-Maria Puala Coto (Alajuelense), 4-Mariana Benavides (CS Herediano), 5-Valeria del Campo (CF Monterrey, MEX), 6-Carol Sanchez (Sporting FC), 8-Daniela Cruz (Deportivo Saprissa), 12-Lixy Rodriguez (Alajuelense), 22-Cristel Sandi (Deportivo Saprissa) 

MIDFIELDERS (6): 10-Shirley Cruz (Alajuelense), 11-Raquel Rodriguez (Portland Thorns FC, USA), 13-Emilie Valenciano (Sporting FC), 14-Priscila Chinchilla (Glasgow City FC, SCO), 16-Katherine Alvarado (Deportivo Saprissa), 21-Viviana Chinchilla (Alajuelense)

FORWARDS (6): 7-Melissa Herrera (FC Girdondins de Bordeaux, FRA), 9-Carolina Venegas (Deportivo Saprissa), 15-Cristin Granados (Sporting FC), 17-Michelle Montero (Cruz Azul, MEX), 19-Maria Paula Salas (Unattached), 20-Fabiola Villalobos (Alajuelense) 

COSTA RICA ROSTER NOTES

  • Seventeen of the 23 players called in by Costa Rica head coach Amelia Valverde play their club soccer in Costa Rica’s Women’s First Division, including seven players from reigning champions Alajuelense.
  • Of the six players who play their club soccer abroad, two compete in Mexico, with defender Valeria del Campo for CF Monterrey and forward Michelle Montero playing for Cruz Azul.
  • Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez is the lone player on this roster who currently plays in the United States, where she plays alongside several members of the USWNT with Portland Thorns FC. Rodriguez, who scored Costa Rica’s first-ever goal at the World Cup in the 2015 draw against Spain, won NWSL Rookie of the Year honors in 2016 for Sky Blue FC following a standout collegiate career at Penn State University that also included a MAC Hermann Trophy as college soccer’s best player.
  • The 28-year-old Rodriguez has played parts of seven seasons in the NWSL. She was traded to the Thorns in January of 2020 and helped the club capture both the NWSL Shield and Challenge Cup title in 2021.
  • Like the USA, Costa Rica has had to make an injury replacement during the Concacaf W Championship. Goalkeeper Priscilla Tapia, who had yet to see action this tournament, suffered a hand injury and was replaced on the roster by 17-year-old goalkeeper Genesis Perez.
  • Costa Rica has a similar side to the one that faced the USA in Olympic qualifying in 2010 as there are 12 players on this CWC that were in Houston.
  • Costa Rica’s leader is 36-year-old Shirley Cruz, who is Costa Rica’s all-time greatest player and has appeared more than 100 times for her country. The midfielder played a remarkable 14 years in France with Lyon and then with Paris Saint-Germain before playing a year in China and then returned to Costa Rica for a season with Alajuelense. She played in the NWSL with the OL Reign from 2020-21 and now is back with Alajuelense.
  • At its first World Cup appearance in 2015, Las Ticas distinguished themselves, tying two games in group play (1-1 with Spain and 2-2 with South Korea) while losing one (0-1 to Brazil). Melissa Herrera and Karla Villalobos, as well as Raquel Rodriguez netted once each at the World Cup.

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