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Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Notebook: Sinclair makes history, Rodriguez shines in group stage
U.S. women's national team finished group play with a perfect record
Lindsey Horan scored her first hat trick on the international stage in Concacaf Olympic Qualifying (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)
Lindsey Horan scored her first hat trick on the international stage in Concacaf Olympic Qualifying (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Following a whirlwind week-long group stage that saw 46 goals scored across 12 matches in Houston and Edinburgh, Texas, four teams have advanced to the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament Semifinals. The teams that win their semifinal matchup punch their ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer. As Canada, Costa Rica, the United States, and Mexico prepare for tomorrow’s do or die matchups, let’s recap all the highlights from the exciting group stage:

Christine Sinclair makes history as Canada executes flawless Group B sweep

Three wins. Twenty-two goals scored. Nine points with zero goals allowed. There’s a whole lot to be excited for Kenneth Heiner-Møller’s side as they look to make their fourth straight Olympic Games and break past their two consecutive bronze-medal finishes. Most notably, however, history was made during Canada’s first game in the group stage and not for the eleven goals scored.

Christine Sinclair netted goals 184 and 185 of her illustrious career that night, moving her into sole ownership of the all-time international soccer scoring record, surpassing Abby Wambach, who retired with 184 goals to her name. Sinclair added goal number 186 in the final group stage game as she aims to move one step closer to 200 goals and 300 career national team appearances as Canada takes on Costa Rica in Friday’s semifinal.

Raquel Rodriguez shines as Costa Rica seeks first Olympic appearance

Every second she was on the field for Las Ticas in the group stages, Portland Thorns FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez made sure the tempo of the match was set to the beat of her drum. Rodriquez already has three goals and one assist to her name, and is looking for more as Costa Rica looks to upset Canada in Friday’s semifinal and earn their first appearance in the Olympics in the program’s history. If Rodriguez keeps threading passes like seen below, Las Ticas may just have a shot.

Hat Trick Horan, litany of goalscorers mark perfect Group A performance for USWNT

The defending world champions have come out firing in their quest to avenge their fifth-place finish in Rio 2016, with seven different goalscorers (five of them two or more goals) helping the United States cruise into Friday night’s semifinal matchup against Mexico. Among the notable performers for the six-time qualifiers and four-time gold medalists were Lindsey Horan, who registered her first career hat trick, and Christen Press, who tallied three goals, marked by this beautiful curling goal that opened the scoring against Costa Rica.

McCoy scores two in Reggae Girlz first-ever Olympic Qualifying victory 

While Jamaica fell short of their ultimate goal of earning a first Olympic Games trip in program history, they did have a historic first – the program’s first-ever victory in Olympic Qualifying. In a 7-0 victory over St. Kitts and Nevis, Houston Dash forward Kayla McCoy scored the sixth and seventh goals just before the full-time whistle. Additionally, for Jamaica, Washington Spirit forward Cheyna Matthews made two appearances, as well as recent Orlando Pride draftee and former national team captain Konya Plummer earning a cap against Canada.

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