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U.S. women reignite confidence, comfortably put 6 past Haiti

After lackluster performances against Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala, the U.S. women's national team ran away with a 6-0 win over Haiti to advance to the CONCACAF Women's Championship semifinals.

Patrick McDermott

A 6-0 win over Haiti was more than enough for the U.S. women’s national team to top their group in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, secure their spot in the semifinals, and guarantee at least a playoff berth for the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Coach Jill Ellis continued to rotate her team, making a few changes to the lineup that started against Guatemala. Ashlyn Harris stepped into goal for Hope Solo, while Christie Rampone slotted back into the defense along with Kelley O’Hara, Meghan Klingenberg, and Whitney Engen. Carli Lloyd and Lauren Holiday held the midfield, joined by Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe, and Tobin Heath, while Abby Wambach took her place up top.

The U.S. wasted little time in starting their attack. Within two minutes, Lloyd had found the back of the net, but her goal was pulled back for offside. Lloyd needed only seven more minutes to make a goal count, though. In the 9th minute, Haiti couldn’t properly clear a long cross from Klingenberg, and Lloyd half-volleyed into an open net for 1-0.

After an uninspiring 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, and a better but still not convincing 5-0 win over Guatemala, the U.S. made their intentions clear early on. With Haiti playing eleven behind the ball for much of the game, the U.S. had time and space to build their attacks. They took their time building those attacks, lacking a little in speed and dynamic combinations for most of the first half.

A misstep from Rampone allowed Haiti to get in behind the U.S. defense in the 33rd minute, but the play quickly fizzled out without troubling Harris. The U.S. settled back into their attack, continuing to send cross after cross into Haiti’s box. Haiti struggled to connect passes for the rest of the game, ultimately never giving the U.S. much to worry about.

In the 39th minute, Wambach headed in her 172nd international goal, extending her record after a deflection off a Haitian defender left Wambach with the easy nod home from close range. The U.S. entered halftime with the lead but without a scoreline to reflect their domination.

Heather O’Reilly replaced Rapinoe to start the second half and immediately got involved—a sign of things to come for the U.S., who upped the tempo in the next 45. The relentless attacks yielded a third goal in the 57th minute when Klingenberg, tallying her first goal in a U.S. shirt, took hold of a poor clearance from 30 yards and rocketed it into the net.

Four minutes later, Wambach bagged her brace as she found herself alone in the box and coolly knocked the ball in to make it 4-0. A pair of U.S. substitutions then saw Sydney Leroux replace Wambach and Morgan Brian replace Tobin Heath after the goal.

Press got in on the goal action on 65 minutes, latching onto another poor clearance and smashing it home from inside the 18. As the second half wore on, the U.S. continued to press. Close chance after close chance threatened in Haiti’s half, with goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus called upon seemingly every minute. Saintilus held firm until the 82nd minute, when Brian, seeing her first action of the tournament, one-timed a ball through traffic to finish off the night at 6-0.

The U.S. advances to the semifinals at PPL Park in Philadelphia this Friday, October 24, against either Jamaica or Mexico.

Goals: Lloyd (9'), Wambach (39', 61'), Klingenberg (57'), Press (65'), Brian (82')

U.S. lineup: Ashlyn Harris, Meghan Klingenberg, Christie Rampone (capt.), Whitney Engen, Kelley O’Hara, Carli Lloyd, Lauren Holiday, Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe (Heather O’Reilly 45’), Tobin Heath (Morgan Brian 63’), Abby Wambach (Sydney Leroux 62’)

Haiti lineup: Geralda Saintilus, Kencia Marseille (capt.), Kimberly Boulos (Kensie Bobo 55’), Lindsay Zullo, Woodlyne Robuste (Wisline Dolce 60’), Marie Jean Pierre, Samantha Brand, Shanna Hudson (Schmid Charles 84’), Yvrose Gervil, Roselord Borgella, Clorene Rateau