The final test before the Women’s CONCACAF Championship ended in a 4-0 win for the U.S. with goals from Tobin Heath, Mallory Pugh, and two from Carli Lloyd (bringing her international goal tally to 102). If Jill Ellis’ group continue with performances like tonight they’re sure to breeze through qualifying next month and earn a spot in football Valhalla (the World Cup).
Chile has already qualified for next summer’s World Cup in France to make its debut in the tournament, earning a second-place finish in the Copa America to secure a spot.
In the 34′, USA’s Mallory Pugh earned a cleanup goal after Alex Morgan’s penalty try was blocked by Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler. Four minutes later, Tobin Heath grabbed a goal after a sliding toe-poke flew past the keeper.
In the second half, Carli Lloyd came in the match and made an immediate impact in the 47′. Tobin Heath launched a beautiful cross into the box from a set piece. Lloyd, who was in the best position, made the dive of her life to get her head on the ball and got just enough on it to grab Team USA’s third goal. Her second goal in stoppage time was the icing on the cake.
American goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris had a quiet night. La Roja managed just four shots with one on target compared to 24 shots with 12 on target for the U.S. The Chilean defense relies heavily on their six-foot captain Christiane Endler who enjoys her club football with women’s champion Paris Saint-Germain in France. Without her expertise, the U.S. could have very well scored seven goals.
After a year’s worth of quality play, coach Jill Ellis will have a tough time finalizing her roster for next month’s women’s championship. The U.S. Women’s National Team is very fortunate to have so much depth. With Megan Rapinoe out nursing a rib injury, the wings were secured by Tobin Heath and Mallory Pugh. If needed, Pugh could play striker and Christen Press could play on the wing (but even they could swap positions). It’s a gift and a curse to have so much depth.
The red, white, and blue kickoff their World Cup quest October 4 in Cary, NC. They sit atop Group A with from Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, and Panama rounding out the group.
Photo: James Lyons