The U.S. Women’s National Team took first place in Group A of the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament with a dominating 6-0 victory against Costa Rica in front of 7,082 fans at BBVA Stadium. Forward Christen Press scored two spectacular strikes in the first half, Lindsey Horan scored her fifth goal of the tournament, and Samantha Mewis added a pair of goals in the second half while also assisting on Jessica McDonald’s tap-in for the final margin.
The USA and Costa Rica entered the game tied on six points with both having advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament to be held on Feb. 7 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. The U.S. victory means it will face the runner-up from Group B – either Canada or Mexico — on Friday while Costa Rica will face the Group B winner.
Continuing to adroitly manage the physical load of his players with the all-important tournament semifinal four days away, U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski made six changes to the starting lineup from last game. The changes had little effect on the USA’s cohesiveness as the team once again scored within the opening minutes of the match via a world class strike from Press in the third minute.
Horan extended the U.S. lead seven minutes later with a smooth finish off a Carli Lloyd assist as the USA imposed its will on Costa Rica.
Press added her second top shelf strike 10 minutes before the teams headed to the locker rooms to put the USA firmly in the driver’s seat with a 3-0 lead at the break.
The second half saw more of the same from the U.S., which once again dominated the advantage in shots, possession and denied the Ticas a single attempt on goal en route to adding a few more tallies, the first from Samantha Mewis in the 63rd minute.
Shortly after the fourth U.S. goal, Andonovski made a pair of changes with Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath coming on for Lloyd and Julie Ertz. That resulted in a U.S. lineup shift as Horan dropping to defensive midfield, Heath played attacking midfielder and Press moved from the flank to center forward.
The shift help produce in two final U.S. goals. Mewis set up McDonald in the 77th minute before adding the final strike herself with a powerful header in the 82nd minute to send the USA into the tournament semifinal riding high.