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US Ends T&T Women Olympic Dreams
T&T’s senior women had their Rio Olympic Games aspirations ended on Friday night as Alex Morgan netted a hat-trick to lead the United States to a 5-0 victory in Concacaf Olympic semifinal round qualifying at the BBVA Compass Stadium.
T&T went into the match hopeful of an upset but the hosts were thorough on the night and gave the Women Warriors little opportunity to have much of an impact on the match which was witnessed by 5,561 fans.
On Thursday, US captain and 2015 Fifa World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd said her team would treat the game like a final and they did as they controlled proceedings from the opening whistle.
Lloyd and Tobin Heath added a goal each to help the US to today’s final where they will meet Canada which booked their place in Rio with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica in Friday’s earlier match.
Goalkeeper Kimika Forbes was T&T’s best performer during the 90 minutes but she slipped up on USA’s third goal when Lloyd’s header went right through her in the 42nd minute for her fourth consecutive game scoring play.
Forbes made a third-minute stop to deny Morgan and then came up big in the 22nd minute to block Lloyd’s shot on goal. Forbes also blocked Morgan’s attempt just before the half-hour mark. For their opening goal, 17-year-old Mallory Pugh beat a T&T player on the left before playing one inside for Heath to powerfully hit past Forbes for her first goal since the 2015 World Cup Final win over Japan.
Kelley O’Hara and Lindsey Horan would then combine to set up USA’s second goal as the latter would head a ball into the middle of the box for Morgan to tap past Forbes for her 60th international goal.
After Forbes’ mistake on the third goal, the Americans finished a goalmouth scramble with another Morgan tap in on 71 minutes after defender Jenelle Cunningham tried in vain to clear to safety on the initial attempt.
A minute later Morgan Brian then picked out Morgan and she volleyed past Forbes for a 5-0 scoreline.
There was not much for US goalkeeper Hope Solo to do as she recorded her 94th scoreless sheet. Tasha St Louis started up top for T&T but neither she nor Kennya Cordner and Ahkeela Mollon could do much as the Americans kept them at bay throughout with precise defending and quick closing down throughout the affair.
The US had 15 shots on target to none by T&T. Overall, the US had 27 attempts compared to one from T&T.
“Obviously it was a very difficult game for us playing against the world champions. They are a fantastic team,” T&T head coach Richard Hood said after the loss.
“They are very physical, good movement off the ball and we were not able to cope with it as good as we would have liked.
“It would be my recommendation that we do start a rebuilding process. We should be looking at targeting qualification for the next World Cup. I am optimistic. I think these girls have done us proud. They have worked hard and they showed their capabilities at this level, particularly given the lack of preparation. I am hoping that with this performance, we can get the kind of support and funding to propel women’s football.”
Forbes said she felt her performance was the best of the four games in the tournament which included a 2-1 win over Guatemala, a 6-0 loss to Canada and 5-1 triumph over Guyana.
“This is my best performance for the tournament. I came out mentally ready for it. It was unfortunate with the third goal. The field was wet and my technique was off so the ball passed through my legs,” she said.
“I am impressed with my team, the hard work and effort. We’ve always had that determination to fight but unfortunately it didn’t go in our favour tonight.”
Team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson said it was never going to be easy to contain the World champions.
“It’s never easy playing the number one team in the world. But I am very proud of the girls as we gave it our all. We gave up some soft ones as well as the referee also gave away two offside goals. The US is the number one team in the world for a reason. We have a long way to actually go to be able to compete at this level on a consistent basis,” Attin-Johnson said.
“For us, we went out onto the field with full confidence. We did well for twenty-something minutes but then we allowed a couple easy goals. We stayed compact and organized for the most part but to compete against the US is a tall order. We didn’t get the result we wanted but most importantly, we left everything out there on the field.”
The T&T team was to return home last night.
T&T: 1-Kimika Forbes; 2-Jenelle Cunningham, 4-Danielle Blair, 5-Arin King, 6-Khadidra Debesette, 8-Victoria Swift (11-Janine Francois, 68’), 9-Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain.), 10-Tasha St. Louis (3-Mariah Shade, 72’), 12-Ahkeela Mollon, 14-Karyn Forbes, 19-Kennya Cordner
Subs Not Used: 7-Kayla Taylor, 13-Naomie Guerra, 15-Lian Hinds, 16-Jo Marie Lewis, 17-Anastasia Prescott, 18-Shalette Alexander, 20-Saundra Baron
Head coach: Richard Hood
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 14-Morgan Brian, 9-Lindsey Horan (3-Samantha Mewis, 60’), 17-Tobin Heath, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (16-Crystal Dunn, 66’), 2-Mallory Pugh (12-Christen Press, 59’); 13-Alex Morgan
Subs Not Used: 6-Emily Sonnett, 11-Ali Krieger, 15-Stephanie McCaffrey, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Jaelene Hinkle, 20-Alyssa Naeher
Head coach: Jill Ellis