With a 7-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, the U.S. women’s national soccer team completed its demolition of group play at the World Cup qualifying tournament in Cary, N.C., and roared into the knockout stage in suburban Dallas this weekend, one victory from punching a ticket to France next summer.
Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit) scored two goals apiece and Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Crystal Dunn posted one each as the reigning world champions notched their third consecutive triumph in Group A by a combined 18-0.
The Americans, FIFA’s top-ranked team, will face the Group B runner-up (probably Costa Rica or Jamaica) in a semifinal Sunday in Frisco, Tex. Panama (2-1-0) was the surprise second-place finisher in Group A, besting Mexico, 2-0, on Wednesday in Cary.
Group B, headed by fifth-ranked Canada, will conclude Thursday in Edinburg, Tex.
The two semifinal winners and third-place team will earn automatic berths in the 2019 tournament, and the fourth-place finisher will enter a playoff against Argentina next month.
With the breezy victory over T&T (0-3-0), the Americans extended their unbeaten streak to 24 matches (21-0-3), dating from summer 2017. They are 14-0-2 this year.
Reinstalling the lineup that had smashed Mexico 6-0 in the group opener last Thursday, Coach Jill Ellis watched her team score six times in a 17-minute span bridging halftime to turn a 1-0 game into another blowout. Heath finished with two assists.
In Concacaf qualifying history, the United States is 30-1-0 with a 176-5 goal difference.
U.S. lineup: Naeher; O’Hara (Pugh 71st), Sauerbrunn, Dahlkemper, Dunn; Lavelle (Lloyd 46th), Ertz, Horan; Heath, Morgan (Mewis 61st), Rapinoe.
Morgan’s first goal:
Lavelle’s first goal:
Lavelle’s second goal:
Morgan’s second goal: