The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team showed why it's the top-ranked squad in the world. It won the CONCACAF tournament Sunday with a near-perfect 6-0 final game against Costa Rica.
The U.S. has had an easy run during this World Cup qualifying tournament for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Region. The United States had already qualified for next year's World Cup with a victory in the semifinals against Haiti. Sunday's win over Costa Rica further cemented the U.S. dominance.
Consider these statistics:
- The U.S. didn't give up a single goal in the five-game tournament: 21-0
- The U.S. shot the ball 112 times compared with just 11 for their opponents.
- The U.S. had 45 corner kicks and allowed just three for the opposing team.
The accolades don't stop there. Carli Lloyd won the tournament's "Golden Ball" as the competition's best player. Her teammate Abby Wambach scored seven goals in the tournament and four (including three headers) in a brilliant game against Costa Rica in the finals. Wambach now has a world-record 177 goals. Her performance earned her the competition's "Golden Boot."
After Monday's victory against Haiti, Wambach told NPR the U.S. feels like it's ready for anyone: "We kind of keep challenging ourselves no matter who we're playing against because we can face any one of these teams in the World Cup."
The U.S. might face Costa Rica again, or even Mexico. Those teams also advanced to the Women's World Cup. They'll join host country Canada, as well as perennial powers Germany, Brazil, China, Sweden, England and Norway. There will be more international flair in the World Cup when it begins June 6: The tournament has expanded from 16 to 24 teams.
By then, the legal matters surrounding U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo should be settled. She was dominant in this tournament but played under a cloud of domestic violence charges. She goes to court next month.
In the meantime, the next international tournament for the U.S. is in December. The squad travels to Brazil Dec. 10-21 for games against Brazil, Argentina and China.
At this point, the only question for U.S. head coach Jill Ellis is which of her star players will make the starting lineup for the World Cup.