The U.S. women's national team secured their spot at the 2015 Women's World Cup with a decisive 3-0 win over Mexico in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals.
After a slow start to the tournament, the U.S. seem to have hit their stride now after cleaning up against both Guatemala and Haiti. Although Mexico provided more of a test, at the end of the night it was the U.S. who claimed the majority of the possession and chances.
Carli Lloyd again wasted little time in getting the U.S. started. In the 6th minute, build-up down the left flank saw Tobin Heath send a perfect cross into Mexico's box, where three U.S. players were left unmarked and Lloyd snatched the header to make it 1-0.
Mexico were forced to drop deep after that and were unable to create momentum going forward, frequently giving the U.S. too much room to maneuver. Heath drew a penalty in the 29th after possibly getting clipped on the edge of the box, although the call was soft. Lloyd's penalty wasn’t soft, though, and she beat Mexico keeper Pamela Tajonar for 2-0 and a brace.
On the other side of the half, Sydney Leroux managed to hit the crossbar from six yards out, sliding to meet a ball at the far post. It was the first of two near-misses for Leroux on the night, as within 15 minutes she had hit the woodwork again.
Leroux's efforts weren’t all for naught, though. On 56 minutes, her pass found Press, who stayed onside and sidestepped Tajonar to slot the ball home for 3-0. It wasn't the last goal of the night, but it was the last one that counted. Lloyd almost had her hat trick in the 75th, but the goal was called back for offside.
The U.S. had a flurry of chances to close out the match, with Wambach missing from close range and Press hitting the post, but 3-0 was all she wrote—and a satisfying win to clinch a World Cup berth.
The U.S. advances to the final to face Costa Rica this Sunday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Mexico will face Trinidad and Tobago in the third-place game, the winner of which will join the U.S. (and Costa Rica, making their first Women's World Cup appearance) in Canada next year.
One final note on this one: this was Christie Rampone's 300th cap for the U.S.—a stunning achievement. Thank you, Captain America.
Goals: Lloyd (6', 30'), Press (56')
USA lineup: Hope Solo; Ali Krieger, Christie Rampone (capt.), Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg; Carli Lloyd, Lauren Holiday (Heather O'Reilly 75'), Megan Rapinoe (Morgan Brian 67'); Christen Press, Sydney Leroux (Wambach 62'), Tobin Heath
Mexico lineup: Pamela Tajonar (capt.), Arianna Romero, Bianca Sierra, Liliana Mercado, Lydia Nayeli Rangel, Tanya Samarzich, Luz Duarte (Sandra Stephany Mayor 55'), Dinora Garza, Christina Murillo (Monica Alvarado 72'), Kenti Robles (Teresa Noyola 76'), Alina Garciamendez