US, Canada women secure 2020 Olympics berths with wins

USWNT qualify for Olympics easily as ever

USWNT qualify for Olympics easily as ever

Lavelle's goal in the fifth minute gave the United States an early lead before Sam Mewis scored on a set piece in the 14th, blasting the ball past Mexico goalkeeper Emily Alverado. "We have to let go of the World Cup and we have to go into this like this is our big tournament for the next three years. We need to be ready to take care of those small things and continue the path we are on towards the Olympic Games".

The Canadian women did not play in the 1996 or 2000 Olympics, when the USA was the lone CONCACAF representative in a then-eight-team field.

"Overall on the performance here over the three matches, I'm very proud of the team", Heiner-Moller said after the Mexico win. "We didn't get the room we looked for between the two lines", said Heiner-Møller.

Canada especially seemed to be getting frustrated in the first half.

The Americans had no such challenge in their home tilt at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

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As usual in this event, the USWNT will meet one of their oldest and fiercest foes in Sunday's tournament final: Canada, the victor of Friday's other semifinal match, a narrow 1-0 defeat of Costa Rica decided by Jordyn Huitema's quirky finish.

The Canadians continued to press after the break and were finally rewarded in the 72nd minute when Huitema hit the post from close range but then coolly slotted the rebound into the back of the net for her seventh goal of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Both finalists have been utterly dominant in this event; neither has so much as conceded a goal yet.

Rebecca Quinn and the 19-year-old Riviere came into the Canadian starting 11 with Allysha Chapman and Jordyn Huitema moving to the bench. It's the longest such streak for the US since Lloyd scored in seven straight in 2014.

She also racked up the second-most minutes of any player on the team in Thursday's win against Belgium, spending nearly 27 minutes on the court (second only to Kia Nurse, who led the team with 35:15 minutes) and pulling in a team-high three steals. The Canadians loaded up on defence, dropping five into the backline when the Americans had the ball. Press scored the final goal, a well-executed chip shot in the 73rd minute.

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Christine Sinclair's attempt on a breakaway in the 38th minute was stopped by US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. "When we got it in between there, we didn't have space enough to actually turn, or the pass was a little bit too slow so their centre back was stepping on to us".

"Costa Rica made it hard, but we dominated, we finally got one, and we were so solid defensively that we weren't going to give one up after that", said Canadian captain Christine Sinclair. Sinclair, who has been on the national team since 2000, has 186 career goals heading into the semifinals.

Freed up by a fine pass from Sinclair, Huitema beat several defenders in the 58th minute but her shot deflected wide. "And I think before we even talk about the Olympics, we have to talk about our game versus Mexico and qualifying there".

That goal, the game's only goal, is the one that's sending Canada to the Olympics. "But at the end of the day, it's a short (Olympic) tournament this summer and I think when we play anyone in the world we have a chance to win and that's how good the team is".

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